Surface Treatments and Maintenance of Solid Wood
There are various finishing methods to protect the surfaces of solid wood and at the same time make them even more attractive. Each one has its own special characteristics. To make it easier for you to choose the right surface finish, we have put together a brief overview:
Oiled surfaces give solid wood one of its best properties: it can continue to breathe. The oil penetrates deep into the pores, but does not close them. In addition to the positive effect on the room climate, the appearance also benefits: the oil acts on the wood’s own color pigments. The natural color tone becomes more intense, the wood structure and grain emerge even more clearly. Oiled surfaces have a matt shimmer that looks very high quality and classy.
Waxed surfaces have a pleasantly high level of abrasion protection. The wax does not penetrate as deeply into the pores as oil, but has a stronger moisture-repellent effect and protects the surface very well against dirt. In addition, the treatment with wax gives the wood a very attractive and lasting shine. Incidentally, small scratches or dents can also be easily concealed with wax.
Those who paint solid wood surfaces permanently seal the pores. As a result, the wood loses its breathability, but at the same time becomes very resistant to dirt and moisture. Lacquered surfaces are extremely easy to care for. Which gloss level you choose is certainly a matter of taste. Please note, however, that matt lacquer looks slightly dull, while every small fingerprint is immediately visible on high-gloss lacquered surfaces. If you want to avoid both, it is best to opt for the semi-gloss varnish variant.
A glazed surface preserves the breathability of the wood because the more fluid glaze penetrates deeper into the pores without completely closing them. However, the protection against environmental influences is low. A glaze preserves the natural wood grain. Transparent glazes are very suitable for influencing the color of the wood.
A stained wooden surface takes on the desired color without losing the natural structure of the wood. On the contrary, the stain emphasizes the contrast of the grain. Stained surfaces are not protected against dirt and other environmental influences without additional treatment. It is therefore advisable to protect the wood with a further surface finish after staining.
Leaving solid wood completely natural is always a risk. A completely untreated surface absorbs dirt and moisture very quickly. It can therefore easily happen that the wood warps. Mold can also quickly penetrate untreated wood. If you want to enjoy your solid wood furniture for a long time, you should opt for one of the surface treatments.
Caring for solid wood furniture properly
The following applies to solid wood furniture: Too much care only harms. There is no need to treat your furniture with expensive polishes. It is better to use a soft, dry cloth that should not fluff when wiping. The cloth may also be slightly damp for small amounts of dirt, but be careful: wet wiping is only
permitted on painted surfaces ! Grease-dissolving household cleaners are completely unsuitable for solid wooden furniture: They quickly attack the wood structure and thus destroy the elegant appearance of the surface.
Both waxed and oiled surfaces need a little refreshment once or twice a year. So when the surface looks dull and small scratches show up, it’s time for some maintenance that brings back the old shine. Get a natural oil or furniture wax for this. Before treatment, lightly roughen the surface and use the care product sparingly. After drying, simply polish with a soft woolen cloth.
In the case of oiled or waxed surfaces, you can remove heavy soiling or scratches with fine emery paper or sandpaper. Work over a large area so that there are no color differences. Also make sure that you completely remove all sanding residues before you treat the area with oil or wax. Incidentally, stains caused by moisture can only be removed after they have completely dried out.
An unsightly dent in your waxed or oiled solid wood furniture? Don’t worry – we have helpful tips for this case too. First you should sand the area with emery paper, then place a damp cloth on it. The dent in the wood is then carefully steamed with an iron. Make sure that the iron never comes into contact with the wood itself, otherwise ugly stains can occur. Only when the area is completely dry can it be treated with oil or wax.
A little tip at the end: Note that solar radiation changes the color of the wood over time. Therefore, solid wood furniture should be protected as completely as possible from strong and direct radiation. If direct sunlight cannot be avoided, make sure that the entire piece of furniture is exposed to UV radiation so that the wood can age evenly.