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When it comes to hardwood floors there is an extensive array of products you can choose to finish your floor with. Many of our customers in London come to us when they’re lucky enough to have just moved into a property with hardwood floors and the most common question we’re asked is always ‘what is the best product I can use to protect and finish my floorboards?’ We wish we could give you a straight forward answer but it really does vary from floor to floor depending on the wood’s current condition and what you want to achieve as an end result! Luckily, our blog is here to inform you of what products are out there and what they do! We’ve comprised this handy guide to explain the differences between varnishes and lacquers.

Varnishes and lacquers are so often thought of as being the same; a popular opinion that isn’t entirely misled. There is lots of contradicting information out there about the different functions of lacquers and varnishes, but what is actually true?

Lacquers are softer. This is a generalisation and obviously it depends on what product you buy. Nowadays for instance there’s so much on the market that there’s no longer a considerable difference between the softness of lacquers and varnishes. The reason softness is an important property in floor finishes is because if you use a hard varnish on your hardwood floors, varnish is prone to cracking with age or under force. Cracks allow moisture into the wood that can then lift up the varnish and you’ll have to refinish your floor. The softness of lacquers on the other hand means they last longer.

Additionally, the dye in varnishes fade at a faster rate than those in a lacquer. This is down to sunlight exposure; varnishes damage with UV light quicker. With a lacquer on the other hand, UV light is more likely to damage the colour of the wood itself before it affects the surface finish. Lacquer are relatively new on the on the floor restoration scene compared to their older brother, varnish. They’re manufactured using the very latest techniques that are ever changing and developing. As a result, there is an ever increasing selection of lacquers available from your local! London-based hard-wear store, all varying in quality and strength. If the selection is too vast for you to get your head around, our team at GJP are always on hand to advise! We’ll assess your floors and recommend a plan of action to help you get them looking their best.

So it doesn’t really come as a surprise to hear that more hardwood floor owners these days are opting for a lacquer over a varnish. Long lasting, versatile, capable of withstanding UV rays and an endless variety to choose from. Don’t underestimate the power of varnish though, as with most (if not all) DIY products, it’s all about quality. Investing in a good quality lacquer or varnish will ensure that your hardwood floors get the protection they require!