What is Oil Finished Hardwood Flooring?

We always receive a ton of questions about our hardwood flooring. In our previous house, we had Padua by ADM Flooring. And in this new house, we went with ADM Flooring again, but chose Sea Smoke. It’s pretty evident we were happy with the products they offer.

Padua has a Lacquer finish, while Sea Smoke has an oil finish, a UV oil finish to be specific. Even though oil finished floors have become more popular recently, there’s still a lot of people wanting to know more about them. Which has led to more questions for us.

We really like both finishes.

So why did we choose an oil finished hardwood?

It was really a style preference regarding our choice. When we chose from the samples that ADM had sent us, it was easy to see which ones were oil finish and which ones were lacquer.

The oil finished samples had more texture, a more natural wood look, and more of a matte finish. This was the look we were wanting for this new build. Not to say the lacquer finish wasn’t beautiful, but the oil finished seemed to get closer to what we were searching for.

So, if you’re wanting to know what makes an oil finish different, here is some more info:

What is an Oil Finish?

When an oil finish is applied to wood flooring, the oil penetrates the surface of the wood. Whereas a lacquer or polyurethane finish sits on top of the wood. This is why you will see and feel more texture on oil finished hardwood floor. This is also why oil finished flooring has more of a matte appearance, which allows for the natural wood attributes to show through.

UV oil, which is what Sea Smoke is finished with, is primarily made up of cold-pressed vegetable oils and aromatic hardening oils. Both of these are environmentally friendly.


A good polyurethane finish on hardwood flooring can be very durable, but oil finishes also offer great durability, but in a different way. As I mentioned above, the oil penetrates the hardwood, but it also bonds with the wood on a molecular level making it stronger.


There is a little more maintenance when it comes to oil finished floors. This had us a little concerned but realized quickly that it wasn’t a very big deal. To increase the longevity of your flooring, it’s recommended to apply a coat of oil every year.

Once the construction was finished at the new house, Henry cleaned the floors with WOCA Natural Soap which is also recommended and applied a fresh coat of oil for good measure. According to him, it was super easy.

Is an Oil Finish the Right Choice for You?

Obviously, the main reason we chose an oil finish for our engineered hardwood was all about aesthetics. To me, they have more of an old look which adds character.

With so many modern features in this home, adding in a little rustic was very important. I love the contrast!

Not only is the look of an oil finished floor stunning, but it helps to know that scuffs and scratches are very easy to repair and this is so important when having dogs or younger children. Or even teenage kids like we do.

They recommend just buffing out the scratch then applying another coat of oil, no sanding required. Simple enough for me!

The UV oil finish is a safe, and eco-friendly way to have beautiful flooring that has a high-end look. The clean, natural wood finish is also a very popular look among top designers that we are loving!

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  • Reply Dianne

    Your floors are beautiful. I too have oil finished floors. I hope yours work our for you. My 4 years having them has been disappointing. Furniture cannot be moved or even scooted as it scratches the floor, even dining chairs. Pads are required on all furniture. All spills in the kitchen are difficult to clean and sometimes require buffing or sanding. I have to keep a large rug in front of the sink. Good luck, I’m sure yours are higher quality!!!

    February 25, 2020 at 4:21 pm
    • Reply Susan

      Dianne, Thank you for sharing your experience after living with oiled floors for a while. The majority of what I read regarding “reviews” are typically regarding newly installed floors and aesthetics so very little info as to the durability and how people actually feel about them after living with them and really using them for a while. I appreciate your honesty as most of us pay for home improvements in full and live in non-showcased homes. We see on a daily basis the ways in which light, dirt, dog hair, kids, walking around, etc. show the imperfections and it’s helpful to hear feelings with daily life and appearance. Thank you again.

      February 25, 2020 at 6:32 pm
    • Reply Brooke

      Thank you! I’m so sorry to hear that about your floors. It could be a quality issue. I can say that we have already spilled and dropped things on our floor especially in the kitchen. My husband dropped an egg on it last night. Lol! It cleaned up just fine with no staining.

      February 25, 2020 at 6:42 pm
    • Reply Kelly

      We have oil finished floors In our home that is 3 years old with young children and I agree with Diane. The floors are gorgeous but we’ve experienced a lot of staining if the kids accidentally drop food and I don’t get it picked up right away. If water sits on them for any amount of time it will stain as well and unfortunately in a busy household with 3 kids this has happened to us. I’m also noticing fading where we have rugs already. We use Rubio floor cleaner and that has helped. In all of my research I don’t recall the recommendation to apply a coat of oil each year. This is helpful! It’s taken me awhile to get used to the floors, I do love them but wouldn’t recommend them in a house with small children.

      April 29, 2020 at 11:17 am
  • Reply MC Brown

    It looks beautiful! How do you think this flooring would hold up with little kids? Do you think it would stain easily?

    February 25, 2020 at 6:14 pm
    • Reply Brooke

      Thanks! I think so. There was a lot of construction that went on in the house after the flooring was installed, and there are no scratches or stains that we’ve seen.

      February 25, 2020 at 6:54 pm
  • Reply Kim

    Thank you. Valuable information.

    February 26, 2020 at 4:45 am
    • Reply Brooke

      You’re welcome. Glad you you found it helpful!

      February 26, 2020 at 12:44 pm
  • Reply Jody

    Thank you for the information. We have Hallmark oil finished hardwoods in our home that we built five years ago. We didn’t even realize that we were supposed to be applying oil each year. What brand of oil to you use?

    March 14, 2020 at 2:49 am
    • Reply Brooke

      You’re welcome. We use Woca.

      April 2, 2020 at 11:41 pm
    • Reply Kathleen

      When you say “buff”, what are u using?

      April 28, 2020 at 7:02 pm
    • Reply Olesya

      Which hallmark oil finished floors do you have? Organics? Since you haven’t reapplied anything for five years, how are the floors looking? Thanks

      May 6, 2020 at 5:37 pm
  • Reply Allie

    Hi, do you have a tutorial or a link on how to apply the oil for the floors? Also, how do you maintain them (cleaning)? We bought a home and we think the floors have an oil finish on them as well but need to be redone!
    Thank you!

    April 7, 2020 at 2:59 am
  • Reply Allie

    I looked on the site you provided and found it!

    April 7, 2020 at 3:06 am
  • Reply Derek Sherman

    Love your design style. How many square feet of Sea Smoke did your new build include? Are you sponsored by ADM? I found your website while perusing any pictures of ADM’s Sea Smoke, as I’ve chosen 2,200 sq.ft. Sea Smoke for my new build. Install is glue down on slab. Any advice or things you would do differently regarding ADM flooring and specifically Sea Smoke? Thanks in advance.

    May 17, 2020 at 4:02 pm
    • Reply JW

      Hi Derek! How did your floors turn out? I think we are doing the same thing as you.

      July 25, 2020 at 2:31 am
      • Reply thushara

        I am considering Sea smoke too. Any word of caution ?

        November 2, 2020 at 4:58 pm
    • Reply SID

      Hi Derek, we’re all awaiting your “second opinion” I love this look but have two messy little boys (and I’m a pretty messy cook myself). I don’t know how I could re oil every year if that means moving all the furniture…

      April 2, 2021 at 4:34 pm
  • Reply Zana

    If someone would choose to not do an oil finish would ADM do this flooring in a different finish I wonder or which adm flooring is closest??

    October 10, 2020 at 1:26 am
  • Reply Allison Baker Sallas

    Really lovely home and we are enjoying your blog so much! Do you have any advice on choosing plank width? I see these are a little over 10″ wide. We have tall ceilings but not huge rooms and am wondering if I need to stay at 7 1/2″ or if I can go larger…

    January 20, 2021 at 5:54 am
  • Reply Jordan

    Hey! We have the same flooring, and I am curious what you use to buff out scratches as we just got out first one in ours. Thanks!

    February 27, 2021 at 3:37 am
  • Reply Sherrell

    Do you have a coupon code for ADM?

    April 2, 2021 at 8:37 pm
  • Reply Kristin Clippert

    Ive been shopping engineered hardwood that comes in a herringbone or chevron pattern and the best Ive found (samples and price wise) is ADM. I was reading this blog for other purposes and pleasantly surprised to hear that you’ve used them. Have you used any of their chevron or herringbone pre-cut patterned flooring products? I would like to know any feedback people have on them.

    September 22, 2021 at 9:24 pm
  • Reply Brittney

    Hi Brooke and Henry! I’ve been following your account since day 1 of our customs build project and have been in love with your Sea Smoke floors. I’m about to order Sea Smoke or Sunset. One concern is the coloring. On ADM”s website there is a lot of variation in the sea smoke planks and the floors look a lot darker than your photos. You do a beautiful job with your photos but I just want to make sure the coloring is accurate. Are you tailoring them to make them look like what they do in real life? I know cameras play a bit of a trick. Thank you SO MUCH in advance!

    May 4, 2022 at 12:20 pm
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