How to Oil a Wooden Floor In 7 Easy Steps

Wood oil is the first choice if you want to protect your wooden floors in a natural way and enjoy its many advantages for a lifetime. In this article we will explain how to oil a wooden floor.

How to Oil a Wooden Floor

Precautions before oiling your floor

  • Do not apply oil to wooden floor with humidity greater than 10%.
  • Your room temperature should be between 12 and 25 ° C.
  • Work in well-ventilated rooms (without drafts).

Step 1. Prepare the old wooden floor

Before starting to oil your wooden floor make sure you give it a general clean, in order to remove any stains and traces of dust.

At the beginning, clean the wooden floor very well dry and remove dust and coarse dirt with a broom and vacuum cleaner.

This is when all repairs should be made, before sanding the entire surface . Thus, if you have holes or impacts to fill, you can do it with wood filler, the residue of which will disappear when sanding .

Indeed, the knots of a wooden floor purchased raw are not always filled in the factory  and you will therefore have to putty on site before sanding.

Before a floor can be oiled, it must be dusted. The dedusting is particularly important, even the finest traces of sanding dust visibly impair the result. Any repair work can be carried out with joint putty, which should then be lightly sanded off by hand. 

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Please note: if you buy a new rough floor to be oiled on site, you are in no way exempt from this step !

If you need to oil an already oiled wooden floor , you must vacuum it thoroughly. Repeat the operation several times (regardless of the floor ) and this in the direction of the boards (in the case of solid hardwood ).

Wash the wooden floor with cleaning solution.

Then the floor is freed from deep-seated dirt (and parts of the old oil) with an intensive cleaner . Depending on the degree of soiling, dilute the intensive cleaner with water, for light soiling dilute 1:10, for very heavy soiling mix 1 liter of cleaner and 1 liter of water.

Then rub the floor with a brush or with the help of a polishing machine and a medium-sized pad and let the floor dry (preferably overnight).

Step 2. Sand the old wooden floor

Once all the repairs have been made, sanding the wooden floor is mandatory before applying any finish . This sanding will not only remove the excess wood pulp but also make the wooden floor completely flat.

With a vibrating sander, fitted with 220 grit sanding paper, sand the entire floor surface evenly .

Use a 280 grit to properly remove any previous finish , either an oil or a varnish. Make sure that no trace of this finish remains.

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Important advice: sand in the direction of the wood grain to avoid a disaster!

Step 3. Stir the oil thoroughly before applying it

Even in a hard wax oil that appears to be very homogeneous, there are different components. This means that if the can stands for a long time, the contents separate and the heavier components settle on the bottom of the can.

In order to achieve an optimal and even result when applying, you must therefore always stir the oil thoroughly before starting work . If the area to be oiled is large, you should do this every now and then before filling the paint tray.

Step 4. Apply the oil to the wooden floor

Apply the oil to the wooden floor

For oil application you should have:

  • a squeegee and a small brush
  • some lint-free cloths
  • gloves and rubber overshoes

It is best to always pour a small amount of oil on the wooden floor and then use the squeegee to distribute it. This should be done as evenly as possible, no puddles of oil should remain, but the application should still be full. 

The best way to get around the corners of the floor is with a brush. Rapid work at a constant speed is a required here. Since wooden floor oil generally takes around a quarter of an hour to soak in, you cannot work on large areas in one go.

After a quarter of an hour, the excess oil on the wooden floor should be picked up with a rag. This process is then repeated two or three times.

Depending on the type of oil, it can usually be walked on after 48 hours, only with carpets you should wait around a week. 

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Safety note: Wood oil can under certain circumstances be spontaneously flammable in its liquid state – therefore, after use (not during use), always keep used rags in a bucket under water.

Apply Oil by Hand

When applying by hand, apply the coating very thinly with a cloth, sponge or long-bristled, soft brush in the direction of the grain and distribute it well immediately.

We recommend painting the oil lengthways, board by board, and buffing off the oil immediately if it protrudes. If possible, do not paint over the edge of the boards, as this would result in double painting and more shiny areas could result.

No oil may remain on the surface! This must be worked into the wood immediately and evenly – wipe off any protrusions immediately with a lint-free cloth!

Apply Oil with Machine

This can be done with the use of a polishing machine for larger areas. Here, some oil is brought onto the floor, distributed and polished into the floor. The use of a polishing machine is recommended when oiling large wooden floor areas.

Step 5. Put the right quantity of oil

The secret of a successful oil application is that the amount applied is just enough to just wet the wood surface. 

Too much oil forms a slightly sticky film when it dries because not everything can penetrate the wood. To limit the amount applied, you should dip the roller once into the oil and then carefully roll it off on the corrugated surface .

 In this way, the roller is evenly wetted with oil and thanks to the correct pile height, you always have the right amount of oil on the roller.

Step 6. How to apply the oil on the wooden floor

Tip:  You will get the best results by applying the oil in two thin layers and letting the oil dry overnight between layers.

The first coat of oil

The application of the oil on the wooden floor itself should be very structured. That means you start in a corner of the room and put lane next to lane .You always work in the grain direction of the wood and not in two directions, as with wall paints. 

As soon as all of the wood that has been rolled over is no longer moistened, refuel with oil. Ideally, this creates an even, slightly shiny oil film on the wood. If there are any approaches, smooth them down in the grain direction within 30 minutes.

 After 8-10 hours of drying time , apply the second layer in the same way.

The second coat of oil

Once the first coat is dry (generally it will take an hour, but this varies depending on the type of wood and the quality of oil) you can apply the second coat. The process is the same: you apply a thin layer, without too much load, and doing so, in the direction of the wooden floor grain.

In addition, for a beautiful finish, do not hesitate to grind with a fine sandpaper, the first layer before applying the second.

Do you find it difficult to remove linseed oil from wood? I’ve got for you the most complete guide how you can remove linseed oil from wood in 5 easy steps!

Step 7. Dry the wooden floor

Allow 48 hours for your floor to be completely dry and know that the final hardness of the wood will only be obtained after 7 to 10 days. Be careful not to damage the wooden floor during the following days.

To do this, do not have rugs on the wood, place felt pads under the feet of the furniture, prohibit dragging your furniture and be careful not to spill liquid on the wood.  

Finally, regarding the maintenance of your wood floor , you will need to apply a layer of oil at least once a year.

Wait about a week before you mop your freshly oiled floor for the first time. Only clean the wooden surface with a damp cloth or with electrostatic dust pads. 

Use a soft broom suitable for wooden floors. Unwaxed, oiled floors are best treated regularly with a freshening oil. 

In this way, the protective effect of the parquet oil is retained and it is not necessary to sand down again in the long term.

Want to remove oil based stain from wooden floors? This is an complete tutorial how to remove oil based stain from wood!

How long does oil takes to dry on floors?

The time it takes for the oil to dry completely depends on the type of wooden floor and the oil used. As a rule, complete drying takes place in a short period of time from 4 to 10 hours, sometimes up to 12 hours.

But after that, the floors must be used carefully for at least a day. Normal operation of wooden floors is possible only after a week, or even better 2.

Any wood (one more, the other less) contains a little residual resin, so the penetration of oil into varieties in which there are more resins (spruce, pine, fir) is difficult. Based on this, the oil dries for a longer period of time, and it can even stand out from the wood for some time (usually up to 48 hours).

If you have oiled the floor using the hot application method, the drying time is 5-7 days less.

Why is it better to cover floors with oil rather than varnish?

  1. The oiled wood floor is antistatic.
  2. It feels warm to the touch and is not as slippery as a varnished floor.
  3. The oil, due to its penetration into the depth of the wood structure, has higher protective properties of the entire solid wood (from the inside).
  4. Among other things, on the floor covered with oil, any damage, chips, scratches, scuffs, etc. are either not visible at all, or much less noticeable.
  5. Another plus of the oil is that it has excellent waterproof properties, at the same time leaving the pores of the tree open, which is why the tree retains its naturalness and, simply speaking, “breathes”, and this maintains a constant and favorable level in the apartment or room humidity.

Want to know what wood varnish is? How you can choose the best varnish?

How much oil to apply on wooden floors?

The volumes of oil depend on the type of wooden floor, the method of application and, of course, on the composition itself. As noted above, oily wood species (including conifers and “exotic”) absorb it less.

So for 40 squares of wooden floor during the first oil treatment, about 1 liter of oil should be used. The second layer will take much less. Hot oil treatment will require more solution consumption. Natural oils are consumed in a smaller volume than their counterparts containing solvents.

How often should I oil my wood floors?

For households, we recommend oiling wooden floors every 2 years, you may want to do this earlier depending on how much your floor is used.

If you buy oiled flooring, we recommend re-oiling the floor after installation. This is because your floor can last for several months and may be slightly dry. By reoiling the new floor covering, the required amount of moisture is obtained.


This article gives you an overview of the options for oiling your wooden floor and we try to present you the best methods how to oil wooden floors.

Will oil change the color of your floor?

It depends on which oil you choose. Some oils change the overall color or shade of your floor, while other oils simply add a protective layer to the surface. 
If you’re looking for a different shade of oil, our range of tinted oils offers a wide range of options.

What oil do you use on wood floors?

Several choices are available to you: ecological, tinted oils or wax oils, you are spoiled for choice.
Regarding tinted oils, they particularly agree if you have a parquet stick broken or bare wooden floors . 
Regarding the choice between tinted oil and waxed oil, it is a matter of taste. 
We invite you to look for the final rendering in store or on photos to find out if you prefer to opt for a “traditional” (waxed) or more modern (oiled) parquet .

Adrian Tapu

Adrian is a seasoned woodworking with over 15 years of experience. He helps both beginners and professionals expand their skills in areas like furniture making, cabinetry, wood joints, tools and techniques. Through his popular blog, Adrian shares woodworking tips, tutorials and plans related to topics such as wood identification, hand tools, power tools and finishing.

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