The bare minimum approach taken to finishes by less fastidious manufacturers of cheaply engineered floors, typically reduces a floors lifespan at best to 6 years or less, they frequently need refinishing within 1 to 2 years. You will never replicate the factory finish, and the brushed surface texture of the wood applied by most factories today, along with the micro-bevels at the sides and ends of each plank or piece of parquet, will be removed when the floor is sanded as part of the refinishing process.
Element7’s Benchmark floors and finishes are initially a significant cost, but completely cost effective given they have the lifespan of at least 3 cheaply engineered variants.
An Element7 Varnish Finish
The varnish finish applied to an Element7 Benchmark floor is an environmentally friendly water-based varnish, cured and abraded between each of its 8-coat application. This varnish has inbuilt elasticity and therefore does not crack.
The majority of our floors are specified with this finish as it is incredibly durable, easy to clean and requires the least maintenance. Cleaning is easy, use a damp cloth to spot clean, or a pH neutral wood floor soap solution and flat mop to damp clean the whole floor. If the floor is subject to heavy commercial traffic, a top-up revival solution can be applied every 8 to 10 years, though in normal residential environments this is not necessary. This world-class 8-coat finish is exclusive to Element7, it lasts for decades, without the need for refinishing.
An Element7 Coloured Floor
Coloured floors are an Element7 speciality. The most commonly used hardwood floor colouring processes use stains. At Element7 we do not use stains because they react with wood. Therefore, as each batch of wood has different tannin and mineral content, so each batch reacts differently to the same stain, producing substantial differences in colour from one batch to another. This is why floor samples so often differ far too much from the floor delivered. Also stains fade, they are not colourfast, and will need refinishing every few years.
Almost all colours, various shades of grey currently being popular, are best achieved using colour enhanced varnishes. Our premium-plus 8 coat varnish finish is applied, as above, but with colour enhanced, not clear varnishes. The technical superiority of this colour finish system remains unparalleled. The colour match between an Element7 sample and the delivered floor is as good as it gets. There is absolutely no doubt that this process, exclusive to Element7, is the best way to apply colour for those seeking a lifetime colour finish.
Companies do try and copy our colours, and there are two things we advise those considering this to do:- first place your copy sample next to our original, the difference in finesse is always plain for all to see, and second, speak to someone who has gone down this route and ask them how their floor looked a year or two later.
An Element7 Oil Finish
The oil finishes applied to Element7 Benchmark floors incorporate 3 coats of Natural vegetable oil (not to be confused with hard-wax oils), once again an environmentally friendly finish. Oil is applied, penetrates the wood surface, and crystallises. This finish is surprisingly resistant – witness linseed oil protecting a cricket bat from the impact of a solid ball, bowled at 75mph or more.
Cleaning and maintenance is easy. As above, use a damp cloth to spot clean, or a pH neutral wood floor soap solution and water to damp clean the whole floor. Once every 3 to 4 years a re-oil is recommended. If properly maintained it will last for decades – the oil keeps nourishing the wood. Again, it will never need refinishing.
We always finish our softwood floors – Douglas Fir and Siberian Larch with natural oil, as well as some of our Oak floors when specified.
An Element7 Wax Finish
Natural Wax finishes hold a sentimental attraction for us all, producing that classic warm Patina that only wax can. Wax is popular with reclaimed floors and floors with colours that benefit from the soft sheen achieved.
Waxed floors when new are prone to scuff marks, but as these scuff marks are buffed away with a domestic buffing machine, and the floor periodically polished, the wax hardens and the scuffing stops. Six months to a year later you are rewarded with an inimitable look that only wax can deliver.
Cleaning is again done using pH neutral wood floor soap and water, with maintenance being the application of more wax every 3 to 4 years. The new application will scuff a little, but the scuffing will reduce as before.
Lifetime finishes are initially expensive, but when compared to the disruption of refinishing and floor replacement costs, they are in fact very cost effective.