Usual finish for a parquet floor?

Q: I am sanding down a 30 year old parquet floor. What should I put on it once I have sanded it down? Do I seal it with a matte varnish, or should I oil it? What is the usual finish?

A: That depends what you will expect from the finish you apply. There are a number of different types of finishes on the market.

A typical solvent based finish (what is called oil based) is easiest to work with and there are some excellent finishes of this type on the market, mostly used by professionals such as Poloplaz Primero. Easy to work with. Very durable. I would always apply gloss first followed by the sheen of choice.

There are water borne finishes. These are more difficult to apply since they set up very quickly. Don’t let the name mislead you. There are certain solvents in these finishes that you do not want to inhale or get on your skin.

If you were going to use an oil type finish, the hands down best I’ve ever used is Waterlox. Excellent penetration. No adhesion issues. Fairly easy to apply. A bit slow drying however. I have used it on several jobs and actually got to see one this week after almost 1 year has past. A lot of construction work has gone on in this home since, and while they were somewhat dirty, they have stood up quite well. Touch up is simply to clean the floors well and apply another coat.