Wood Finishing Questions & Answers

Mark Finney solves popular customer questions

If you have a wood finishing question, please contact us and we'll be happy to help.

Q: How to finish an Ash floor?

Customer: We have just laid an Ash floor. Bought the cut tree from a sawmill then we planed it and made the floorboards, so it's untreated, bare, and solid. We now need to finish it and can't work out the best option to use. I came across your products/website and figured you may be the people to help. The wood is on every floor in the house (2 bed semi). I have three dogs and need it to be as slip-free as possible, as well as hard wearing and resistant to water/mud that the dogs may inevitably bring in, no matter how hard I try to wipe them down. I want it to be easy to clean. Which of your products would you recommend?

Mark Finney: Assuming the Ash is properly dried (as otherwise it will dimensionally move and affect bonding) the easiest to use & best finish to use is either our Trade Acrylic or our Extra Tough Varnish. Both are available in matt or satin and cover 10 sqm per litre per coat (usually 3 coats are applied)

View products: Trade Acrylic Extra Tough Varnish

The first one keeps more of the natural tone (dry colour), the latter will enhance the grain slightly. The Extra Tough is marginally the toughest of the two and is as tough as a single part product can be. It is also as tough as most 2 part water based finishes but is much easier to use.

With regards to slip, dogs don't like wooden floors and if you use a product with grit added to reduce slip the wood surface will feel rough and also wear quite quickly. The two products mentioned above don't create any extra slip over and above that of bare wood and can be cleaned using a PH adjusted non abrasive cleaner which we can supply.

More of a problem however is that Ash is a ring porous timber, and the open summer wood visible in the grain pattern (you can see the large pores with the naked eye) cannot be properly/fully sealed and so will collect dust and grime over time. This has nothing to do with the protection level of a finish or cleaning as it is determined by the wood itself, so ideally you will need to put barrier matting to doorways.

Hope this helps you. We offer sample sizes of the products mentioned:
Trade Acrylic Varnish Sample Extra Tough Floor Varnish Sample

Customer: Will the extra tough alter the colour in any way, or simply enhance the grain? We want to keep the colour as natural as possible.

Mark Finney: The Extra Tough will enhance the grain but this involves a small amount of darkening as these two things are related. The Trade Acrylic is the lowest colour change of any tough finish and on Ash usually doesn't darken much at all.

Customer: OK, great. I think I will go for the Acrylic then. Thanks