How to: sealing hardwood floors

Parquet lacquer effectively equips the parquet for the daily influences. The parquet surface is sealed by the applied lacquer layer and receives the necessary protection. What is important when lacquering parquet, what types and manufacturers of parquet lacquer there are and what needs to be taken into account when sealing parquet can be found in the following guide.

Recommended parquet sealants from this article:

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What is painted parquet?

In order for parquet to receive the necessary protection against external influences, a corresponding surface finish is required.

It makes the wooden floor more resistant and robust, protects it from dirt, moisture or wear and tear and also gives the parquet the final touch to its appearance.

Parquet can either be finished with oil, wax or lacquer – which method is best depends on the degree of wear and tear and the personal demands on the parquet.

Pros and cons of lacquered parquet

In contrast to the refinement with oil or wax, which merely impregnates the parquet surface, the wood is fully sealed with parquet lacquer full surface .

The applied lacquer forms an additional protective layer on the parquet floor, which effectively protects the floor from dirt, abrasion and moisture.

Accordingly, painted parquet is considered to be more robust than oiled parquet.

Also with regard to parquet cleaning and parquet care, sealed parquet scores higher than impregnated parquet.

The painted surface is generally easier to clean and requires less post-treatment.

However, damage to the parquet varnish due to the full-surface sealing is not so easy to repair.

In contrast to oiled parquet, it is more often necessary to sand down the parquet and re-varnish it.

In addition, some of the naturalness of the floor is lost due to the parquet lacquer: the painted protective layer closes the pores of the wood and – unlike with oiled parquet – can no longer “breathe”.

In terms of the indoor climate, an oiled floor sometimes proves to be more advantageous, but the pleasant living atmosphere is maintained even with painted parquet.

What types of parquet lacquer are there?

Whereas parquet varnish used to have the reputation of being highly solvent-containing and therefore harmful to health and the environment, this is no longer the case today with parquet sealants not anymore.

Most modern parquet lacquers are water-based with a very low solvent content of up to 15%.

The term water-based paint refers to the high water content of around 55 to 70 % in which the paint components are dissolved.

Water-based parquet varnish means, however, that the varnish is water-soluble or that the parquet sealant reacts more sensitively to water.

Water varnishes are also particularly recommended because they are easy to process and apply and also have a very high resistance to abrasion and chemicals.

According to the composition and protection intensity, the water-based parquet lacquers as follows:

1-component parquet lacquer

Conventional 1-component parquet lacquer usually consists of plastic (acrylate) or synthetic resin dispersion. The 1K parquet sealant offers the floor a solid basic protection. However, acrylates can become brittle and, especially in places exposed to strong light or permanent water exposure, they can flake off or crack after a few years.

2-component parquet lacquer

Parquet varnish of the 2-component sealing is additionally enriched with a so-called hardening component before application, which reacts chemically with the varnish. By curing the two components, the parquet sealant becomes considerably more resistant and more robust against abrasion or scratches. However, 2K lacquer not only offers higher quality protection, but also hardens more quickly, which means that the parquet can be walked on earlier.

3-component parquet lacquer

In addition to parquet varnish and hardness components, a 3-component parquet sealant also contains additional UV protection, which protects the parquet from UVA radiation – similar to the principle of a sun cream. This prevents the parquet from yellowing or darkening excessively, which is why 3K Parquet Varnish is particularly recommended for light floors.

Alternative parquet seals

Also as 1K and 2K parquet lacquers, lacquers are polyurethane base. These are also referred to as pur or DD coatings However, seals are highly solvent-containing and lose less harmful water-based parquet lacquers. The previously widely used oil-resin parquet sealing: these too oil-based method was characterized by the high proportion of solvents have now been completely replaced by water paints.

How does parquet sealing work?

No matter which parquet lacquer is used – the sealing works for all by evaporation of the ingredients in different order.

In the case of water varnishes, first the water and then the binder evaporates, creating the paint layer. In polyurethane parquet coatings, the protective layer is formed by evaporation of the solvents and chemical reaction of the residual synthetic resins, which is sometimes associated with a biting smell that evaporates only slowly.

Shiny or matte?

Compared to oil, varnish offers a slightly different design leeway in terms of the appearance of the parquet.

Because parquet lacquer is hardly coloured, only occasionally manufacturers offer parquet lacquer in white.

However, you can vary how shiny the parquet should be: Most parquet lacquers are available in matt, silk matt or high gloss. However, if the floor is to be changed in colour, e.g. to refresh old parquet that has yellowed , the parquet must first be stained with stain or oil coloured . Only then can it be sealed with parquet lacquer.

Best parquet lacquer: This is what matters

The differences between the individual products lie in their exact composition, the intensity of protection and of course the price. Accordingly, the area of application also plays a role when it comes to buying the suitable parquet lacquer.

The cheapest variant is 1K parquet lacquer. They are easy to apply and provide adequate protection for low-stress parquet against damage. However, they are limited in their service life and are therefore not particularly suitable for rooms with high stress, exposure to water or solar radiation.

Due to the faster hardening and higher resistance to scratches, 2K parquet lacquers are optimally suited for hardwood flooring subject to average wear and tear, such as in living rooms.

The higher costs are compensated for by the longer service life and better protection.

For rooms with high solar radiation and heavy use as well as for stairs, high-quality stair and parquet lacquer on a 3-component basis should be used. Although this is relatively expensive, it not only protects the parquet from yellowing or darkening, but also constantly withstands the constant loads, e.g. from climbing stairs.

Buy parquet lacquer – Manufacturer at a glance

Well-known manufacturers of parquet lacquers, which are also used in various tests with a good price-performance ratio, are Such as:

  • Bona
  • Highlight
  • Remmers
  • Wilckens
  • Renovo
  • Loba
  • Pallmann
  • Baufix
  • Zweihorn
  • Brillux
  • u. from above

How much parquet varnish is required for the sealing depends on the parquet or wood species in question.

More varnish must be applied for parquet made of raw wood than on a floor with a primer.

Even hard wood types require less parquet lacquer than soft wood, as it sucks more strongly.

In principle, a guideline value of approx. 1.2 litres of parquet lacquer for 10 m2 parquet per lacquer layer applies. However, in order to ensure optimum protection, the parquet varnish should not only be applied once, but ideally three times.

It should be noted that the parquet lacquer represents only a small part of the total cost of the parquet sealing.

The major part of the price for parquet sealing – provided it is carried out by a specialist – is accounted for by the working time which is incurred due to the necessary sanding of the parquet.

Saving on parquet varnish therefore makes relatively little sense – above all, because products of lower quality increase the risk that the protective layer will wear out or be worn out more quickly, making it necessary to apply a new parquet sealant earlier.

Parquet painting: step by step

In the course of a renovation, a new layer of parquet varnish will bring out the full splendour of the wooden floor. It may also be necessary to apply parquet varnish when laying a new floor. It is essential to ensure that the parquet adhesive is fully cured beforehand.

Varnishing hardwood flooring is certainly a demanding task, but with a little practice and skill it can also be carried out by do-it-yourselfers themselves.

For an optimal result of the parquet sealing, following instructions should be followed.

Preparation: Grinding and cleaning the parquet

Before the parquet can be repainted, it must be completely sanded.

Prior to this, furniture and skirting boards must be removed from the room so that the entire surface can be worked on unhindered.

When sanding the parquet, care must be taken to ensure a uniform and careful procedure – the surface should be sanded down to the raw wood. Smaller dents can be repaired with parquet joint filler or with a parquet repair kit.

Then the fine dust that has accumulated must be thoroughly removed from all surfaces – preferably with a vacuum cleaner or broom.

The parquet must be completely free of dust particles.

The sanding dust can, however, be used to repair scratches or joints in the hardwood flooring: To do this, simply mix the dust with joint cement to a mushy mass, fill in any damage, allow to dry and then treat with a sanding machine or sandpaper until no more joint cement is visible.

2. Apply the primer

A parquet primer must first be applied to the sanded raw wood.

For this purpose, the parquet lacquer is carefully stirred and applied uniformly and systematically with a roll on the parquet.

When applying the parquet lacquer, direct sunlight should generally be avoided and the room temperature should be between 18 and 25 degrees.

In order not to obstruct the work process, it is best to start in the rear part of the room opposite the exit and work in even sections of about 2 m to the door.

In order to create a smooth and even coating layer, the primer is distributed once against the laying direction on the parquet and the same section without additional absorption of parquet varnish is coated again in the direction of the boards (so-called “finishing”) .

The individual sections should overlap slightly. Beware of lug marks when starting and stopping the roll!

If the entire floor surface is painted, the primer must first dry for about 2 to 3 hours. Now you can start applying the paint layers.

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3. Apply parquet varnish in several layers

The procedure is the same as the one used in the primer. When applying the paint, it should be done quickly so that the paint cannot dry too quickly.

Two coats of lacquer are sufficient for hardwood flooring subjected to average wear and tear, while for more heavily used areas three coats of parquet lacquer should be applied to provide additional protection. The parquet should also be sanded before each subsequent coat of lacquer if it has been dried for more than 24 hours. On this point, however, the manufacturer’s instructions must be observed and are binding for every seal.

When can the furniture be repositioned after painting the parquet?

After a drying phase of the parquet varnish of approx. 8 hours, the floor can be walked on again, furniture can be set up after 24 hours. The parquet lacquer is completely hardened after approx. one week – solid furniture or carpets should therefore be waited until then. You should wait up to 14 days before applying carpets or office chair pads.

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