Hardwood flooring is popular because of its classic good looks, solid underfoot feel and reliable durability.  A quality hardwood floor can last a lifetime if properly maintained. Part of this maintenance is the application of stains, finishes and other treatments.  Choosing the right one for your hardwood floor greatly depends on your personal preference. To help you decide what would work best for you, we present four popular hardwood flooring stains and treatments.

Prefinished Hardwood

A very popular and uncomplicated hardwood floor treatment is to buy it prefinished.  The planks are treated during the manufacturing process and arrive on site ready to be installed and immediately used.  Manufacturer treated floorboards typically have an extremely resilient finish that’s virtually wearproof and will last for years before they need to be resurfaced.  Because of this, refinished wood floors often come with long lasting warranties.

Natural Oil Finish

Using natural oils as a hardwood floor finish eliminates the need for treatments that off gas potentially harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs.)  Using vegetable based oils and waxes, these finishes penetrate deep into the wood to create a protective barrier while allowing the grain to remain visible.  If there’s a downside to natural oil finishes it’s that they need to be reapplied more often than most other finish types.


Stains are great for changing the colour of the plank and enhancing depth and tone without obscuring the grain.  Stains are a combination of pigments, solvents and binders that are absorbed into the wood. Once applied, the solvent evaporates leaving the bound colour behind.  Although stains have long been considered environmentally questionable, new production methods have begun producing non-toxic stains. If VOCs and chemical odours are a concern, look into non-toxic stains as an alternative.


Marquetry is a high end decorative craft which involves applying a thin, decorative veneer on parts of the hardwood floor.  These veneers can be extremely detailed designs, shapes, pictures or simple contrasting sheets. Marquetry is different from inlays in that rather than having sections of the floorboard removed to allow the insertion of decorative pieces, the veneer is placed overtop of the floorboard and affixed with an adhesive.