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Pre-treated and Untreated Engineered Wood Boards – Which finish should I choose?

Engineered oak flooring is available in either pre-treated or untreated boards. In this article, JFJ Wood Flooring looks at the features, benefits and drawbacks for each type, in order to help you decide which type is most suitable for your flooring requirements.

Pre-Treated Engineered Oak Flooring

Pre-treated boards are a practical flooring solution if you’re looking for speed and convenience. This type of finish has had a treatment pre-applied and so reaches you ready for fitting, without the need for finishing on site. Being ready-finished, the pre-treated boards are protected from the minute that they are taken out of the box. This does mean that you do have to be very carful with the floor during fitting and once it's laid. You must make sure that the floor, once fitted, is covered and protected so that you or your workmen do not cause any accidental damage. If you damage or stain a pre-treated board you can't easily put it right. Whereas if it was unfinished you could simply sand away the dirty mark. Pre-treated boards are available in a range of colours and finishes allowing you to choose a range that suits your property. However, do always keep in mind that you will always get a variation from board to board in a natural wooden floor and therefore making a decision solely based on the colour of a small sample is not the safest way of making your decision. You also must question the type of treatment that has been applied to the board in the first place. How hard wearing is this treatment? How do you maintain the flooring when it starts to show signs of damage? How stain and water resistant is the finish?

Untreated Engineered Oak Flooring

From our experience, despite the practicality of pre-treated boards, there is no type of factory applied finish that matches the superior levels of quality and protection that can be achieved by applying high quality treatments on-site. By applying oils and colour tones to untreated boards after fitting, you have much more control over the final finish than with a pre-treated board. You have more flexibility in terms of colour and also more of a choice of the type of finish you wish to go for, having learnt the pros and cons of the different treatments that are available. To help to protect your flooring as well as to enhance its natural beauty, we recommend using Treatex Hardwax Oil - This hardwearing finish will help to prevent your real wood boards from becoming scratched or stained, whilst also highlighting the natural grain and features of the wood. Treatex products are specifically designed to be easy to apply and maintain and we trust them to to deliver high levels of protection.

Optional Additional Treatments

One of the long term benefits of buying your engineered oak flooring from JFJ is that we only ever use oils which allow for additional treatments to be applied on site if you so wish. This is advantageous over boards that have been pre-treated with finishes that can often prevent additional treatments from being absorbed. Depending on what type of treatment has been factory applied to a pre-treated board, you may still be able to apply additional coats of oil on site. However, it is worth noting that you will not be able to change the colour of the board because the factory applied oils will prevent any colour tones from penetrating the timber.

Free Samples and ‘Try one Box’ from JFJ

So that you can gain a better idea of the appearance of different finishes, we provide free samples of our boards. However we like to remind customers that due to natural variation in colour, tone and grain, the small samples of board cannot 100% accurately represent the overall look of the floor – no two real wood boards are the same!

We understand that choosing a flooring range is a huge commitment, and that it can be difficult to envisage exactly what your flooring will look like from photographs and small samples.  To help to remedy this problem, we offer our customers the options to ‘Try one box first’ – a unique system that allows you to order just the one box of flooring, so that you can be 100% sure that the range you’ve chosen suits your property for making the big commitment of a full order. We offer free postage within the UK mainland, however this box is non-returnable. We also offer free samples of Treatex hardwax for you to try, ensuring that you get the finish that you’ve always wanted. For more information on any of the above or if you wish to take advantage of these offers contact us today by calling 01598 740197 or email


More Information on Board Finishes

Read some more of our helpful articles on choosing the best finishes for your board from avoiding the orange effect to choosing a colour and finish for your wood flooring;


About the author

Tom Fanthorpe. Director, JFJ Wood Flooring Ltd

Tom is one half of the father & son team behind JFJ Wood Flooring. An experienced wood flooring specialist with over 7 years in the industry, Tom is following in his father John's footsteps as a true expert in his chosen field. Having absorbed much of John's 35+ years of experience in the joinery and timber trade, Tom now leads the wood flooring department and holds ultimate responsibility for everything from customer service to sales, logistics to quality control.

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