There could be different wood structures around your premises. from the cabinets, ceiling panelling, worktops and floors in the indoor space, to the window frames, fence, decking and summer house in the outdoors – they all require routine care and maintenance to preserve their beauty and structural integrity. The first step is ensuring that the installation is done right, and the wood boards have been allowed to acclimate to the end-use environment, after which the appropriate finishing products are applied. Different Osmo oils and waxes can be used depending on the desired beauty and protection attributes. However, over time, the barrage of abuse that the surfaces receive can result in wear and tear. Untreated wood surfaces deteriorate faster, but finishing the surface with protective oils or waxes will see longer intervals in between renovation tasks.
There are multiple threats to the different wood structures. Scratches on floors from all that foot traffic, furniture being dragged across the area, pets clawing at the floors and worktops, spills on the dinner table and out on the deck, the UV radiation hitting the window frames and fences – they all contribute to the deterioration. Protective Osmo oils come in to ward off these effects, with products like the UV Protection Oil EXTRA 420 even going further to prevent the effects of growths like algae, mould and other fungi as a result of the biocides in its formulation. What happens when the treated surface begins to show signs of wear? Let’s look into how you can revitalise your wooden surfaces and preserve that elegant look, as well as the protective attributes.
Dealing With Scratches
While you can ignore one or two scratches, when the floor is covered in them it takes away the appeal of the installation. However, this does not mean you have to do a complete overhaul. One of the benefits of Osmo oils is that you won’t need to sand back down to the bare wood before adding a fresh coat on top.
Take surfaces treated with Osmo Polyx®-Oils for instance. This is a high-solids range of Osmo oils that is used across the board, from residential to commercial setups, by DIYers, professional installers and contractors, and even wood sculptors. They include formulations like the Original, Raw Effect, Gold/Silver Effect, Express, and Anti-Slip, each with its particular target application, and are developed using renewable plant-based ingredients like sunflower oil and soya oil, making them highly sustainable products. The high-performance nature of the Polyx®-Oils is due to combining the effects of natural oils which also include thistle oil, as well candelilla and carnauba waxes. They are also high solid formulations containing at least 65% solid components. When preparing surfaces to be treated with the Osmo oils, only sand to Grade P120. Sanding with too fine a grit rating causes the surfaces to be so smooth that it closes the wood grain, preventing the oil from penetrating properly into the structure to nourish the wood. For most cases, you’ll start with a coarse grit and sand through to the final grade of P120, smoothening the surface enough for it to be even, while still allowing optimal absorption of the finishes into the structure. Grades of P150 can be done when you’re sanding softwoods like Pine or Spruce. Finer grades – P180 and above, are ideal if you’re applying the Osmo oils using a cloth onto furniture surfaces.
When there are small scratches on these surfaces, apply a small amount of the required Polyx®-Oil onto the affected section, then use a cloth or scotch pad to rub it into the wood. Allow it to set for about a minute, then wipe away the excess product using a dry cloth.
Even with the initial treatment on the bare wood surface, you get plenty of coverage with the Polyx®-Oils, ranging up to 30 m²/litre. For that first application, usually two coats of these Osmo oils are needed, but it also depends on the combination you pick with other products such as when you want to have a different aesthetic effect. Future recoatings to refresh the surface only need one layer of the product to be applied.
If you’re dealing with deep scratches that have got through the finish to the bare wood, in such case you’ll need to sand the affected boards. You don’t have to do a complete surface refinishing – simply cordon off the boards in question, then sand down with grit 80 sandpaper, to remove as much of the scratches as you can and even out the surface. Follow the sanding sequence and finish using 120-grit sandpaper, then apply the Polyx®-Oil. In such cases, two coats of the oil being used will be required.
Refresh Heavily Used Floors with Osmo Maintenance Oil
Due to the levels of traffic that are handled in commercial environments and public spaces, it is inevitable that the finish coats on the floor will get worn out over time. Choosing the right Osmo oils for the traffic levels in your space will prolong the duration before this happens, preserving the structural integrity of the underlying surface. The brand has also availed the Osmo Maintenance Oil to come in and refresh the surface, giving it that new look and feel, without compromising on the performance of the treatment itself. Moreover, you can carry out this occasional maintenance without going through the added hustle of sanding and refinishing the surface. You can get this finish in a clear or transparent version, to go in line with the treatment that had initially been applied.
There are four versions of this product:
- 3079 Clear Matt,
- 3081 Clear Satin,
- 3098 Clear Semi-Matt/ Anti-Slip (R9)
- 3440 White
Follow these steps to work with the Osmo Maintenance Oil:
- Clean the surface, to remove any dust or grime that is on it. For instance, you can use the Osmo Intensive Cleaner to give the surface a thorough wash and then rinse it with clear water. Remember to properly wring out the mop that you’ll work with.
- Allow the surface to dry before proceeding.
- Spread a thin and even coat of the Osmo Maintenance Oil onto the surface. Tools like the Osmo Double Blade Scraper or the Osmo Microfibre Roller are particularly effective for this. One litre of product can cover 40-60 m².
For smaller surfaces, you can use a lint-free cloth.
- Rub the oil into the wood surface using a white pad. However, skip this step for the 3098 Clear Semi-Matt/ Anti-Slip unit.
- Remove the excess product.
- Allow the surface to dry. This is one of the fast-drying Osmo oils, taking only 3-4 hours before the surface is ready for use.
When the Osmo Maintenance Oil is applied at the right time, you get to avoid the costly renovation works that would have been required.
Extra tip: You can also use this formulation to change the gloss levels of surfaces that have been treated with the Polyx® range of Osmo oils.
Getting Rid Of Water Marks
Water is one of the main threats to wood structures, causing issues ranging from cupping and cracking, to warping and rotting of the installation. The degree of the water damage depends on how much has been absorbed. A notorious problem that is common is water marks, which is the ‘staining’ effect created by spills on the wood surface.
Treating your installations with Osmo oils like TopOil and the products from the Polyx® line is also key in preventing this from happening. These are hardwax oils that bond with the wood structure and give it enhanced water resistance from spills like tea, coffee, wine, fruit juices and everyday water. Whenever there is a spill, the liquids form tight beads on the surface, which can be quickly wiped off without leaving behind any marks. Remember that applying a finish agent on the surface does not mean that you should neglect spills. While the treatment buys you time to clear the contents, you should not ignore them in entirety. This is why, even when a protective treatment is applied and you allow the liquid to remain on the surface for long – typically more than 15 hours, there is a risk of water marks developing. These are removed by partially sanding the area and reapplying the finish.
Example: Bringing A New Look To Your Worktop With Osmo TopOil
Wooden worktops bring a stylish look to the space, and are especially popular in kitchens. However, that warmth and elegance is put at risk due to all the wear that it gets. The busier the kitchen, the more the scratches, staining and water damage there is to deal with. The sink area is obviously one of the sections that will be most affected. However, you can still get to retain the elegance of the wood structure and continue the kitchen activities seamlessly using the TopOil formulation. This is one of the Osmo oils that is very water repellent, allowing you to protect wood surfaces like the kitchen worktops where this is a huge risk. It comes in different colour options:
- 3058 Clear, Matt
- 3028 Clear, Satin
- 3068 Natural
- 3061 Acacia, Matt
- 3037 White, Satin
- 3038 Terra, Satin
- 3039 Graphite, Satin
Using the Osmo TopOil will preserve the structural integrity of the worktop and prolong its life. Remember to shake it well before use, in order to mix the ingredients well.
For the new application:
- First sand the worktop to the bare wood. The final sanding pass in this case should not exceed a grit grade of P150.
- For the initial coat, spread a thin layer of the product onto the surface with a microfibre roller, Oil Finish Applicator Fleece, or a Flat Brush, following the direction of the wood grain.
- Give this coat 8-10 hours to dry, ensuring that the area has been well-ventilated.
- Apply the second coat. This time use a lint-free cloth or just the Oil Finish Applicator Fleece.
- Allow to dry and cure. During the curing period, the surface should not be covered.
When you’re restoring sections of the worktops that have water marks, sand the surface (with the same grit grade that was used when the initial finish was being applied), then apply the oil on these affected spots. Allow the spot to dry, then add some extra oil to top up the protection. You can use equipment like an Osmo applicator fleece for this, or a lint-free cloth.
Tip: For particularly absorbent wood species such as Pine or Spruce, you can increase the water-resistance properties of the Top Oil by first applying the Osmo Wood Protector 4006.
Also note that, for the TopOil 3068 Natural, there will be a slight white tint. As such, this particular product is better suited for the lighter coloured wood species such as Oak, Birch or Beech. When applied on the dark or reddish wood species, it will set a slightly white chalky result. This can also happen when it is used on other species if the product is applied in excess. Removing the visible white pigments before the treatment dries will mitigate the effect.
Peeling, Flaking & Water Damage (e.g., Cracking)
Issues like peeling, flaking and blistering are usually caused by mistakes made during different stages of the wood treatment process. Most common cases include failing to properly sand the surface such that old layers of the previous treatment remain, then the new coats are applied on them; not cleaning the surface thoroughly after the sanding process, such that there will be sanding dust that remains, which gets trapped under the fresh new treatments that are applied.
When it comes to cracking, crowning or cupping, these are usually because of an imbalance in the moisture levels of the wood compared to the surrounding environment. Wood, being hygroscopic, gains or loses moisture depending on the moisture gradient with its surrounding. Here you can see another reason why Osmo pols are popular – because they preserve the “breathability” of the wood. By penetrating into the structure of the wood and bonding with it, instead of forming a coat on the surface., the treatments allow any absorbed moisture to escape back into the surroundings as usual – unlike the case of conventional varnishes. Moreover, the action of the Osmo oils enhances the natural elasticity of the wood structure, minimising the effects of swelling or shrinkage as the wood reacts to the seasonal climate changes.
When your wood surfaces peel, blister, start flaking or show signs of water damage like cupping, they will need to be sanded and fresh new treatments applied. Note that the sanding should be done after the wood boards stabilise. For instance, if you sand a cupped or crowned floor prematurely to create a uniform surface, then the wood continues to lose moisture, it will end up being more distorted.
Protecting Your Application Tools
After treating the different surfaces with the Osmo oils or waxes, a clean-up will be required. Leaving residue on the brushes and rollers will impede their functionality in future. The Osmo Brush Cleaner is used for this, getting rid of the content on the fibres and bristles, after which you give them a thorough rinse.
The Osmo Brush Cleaner is a clear solution, made of white spirit and doesn’t have aromatic compounds. It will get rid of the residue left on the tools after applying the Osmo oils and similar finishes on the different surfaces, and comes in a 1L can. It can be used as a thinning agent for solvent-based oil paints, making it a versatile formulation.
In case you want to reuse the same brush soon – such as when you’re just pausing for the night and will continue the job the following day, you can get away with skipping the cleaning – but only if you place the brush or roller in an airtight plastic bag and seal it using masking tape around its handle to keep out the air. This keeps the fibres or bristles and the contents on them supple through the night, and you can resume using it the next day. However, after you’re done with the application, ensure that you wash the tools with the Osmo Brush Cleaner. Remember to store the brushes when they are flat, not standing on their ends as this would end up bending the bristles and damaging them. Rollers on the other hand are stored when they are hanging up, that way the fibres won’t be crushed.
After dealing with the Osmo oils, there’ll likely be some residue on your hands. That’s almost always the case for any finishing or renovation project unless of course you’re wearing gloves. Some of it may also get to you when cleaning the tools after the job is complete. Fortunately, the cleaning of the hands themselves can be done with just soap and warm water. Vegetable oil can also be used to get rid of the oil on the skin. In case you just need quick cleaning wipes, then the Osmo ‘Easy Clean’ can come in handy – pardon the pun.
Osmo ‘Easy Clean’ handwipes are effective against oil, wax, tar, ink, bitumen and similar substances, allowing you to quickly get rid of the residue that is on your hands. Each pack comes with 15 hand wipes, and they are particularly beneficial when you don’t have any soap or water around to clean up. The wipes are gentle on the skin as well, and leave you fresh.
Routine Cleaning and And Maintenance
When dealing with everyday dirt and grime, it’s important to be keen on the kinds of cleaning measures that are put in place. For starters, a surprisingly common mistake that is made is wet mopping floors, yet the one thing that companies dealing with wood structures, installers, and even cleaning blogs keep reminding people is that water is a threat to wood. Allowing the moisture to sit on the wood surface for long is detrimental to the structure, which is why mops should be properly wrung out. Hot water is even worse, since it will penetrate the wood much faster than cold water.
The pH of the cleaning agent is also a key consideration, since you don’t want it to weaken the Osmo oil treatments that have been applied, or corrode the underlying wood. Citrus-based cleaners, the likes of vinegar and ammonia that are used for other cleaning tasks around the household – steer clear of them when it comes to cleaning the wood surfaces. Steel wool is also a no-go zone, since it will just end up scratching the surface.
On the other end of the spectrum are formulations that have been purposely developed for cleaning wooden structures. With these, you can rest assured that the wood’s elements – from the tissue and lignin, to the aesthetics, will be safe. You also want to go the next step of ensuring that the selected products will be compatible with the Osmo oils that have been applied – that way you can get rid of the dirt and grime without compromising on the integrity of the protective treatments that have been used. Popular products under the brand that are used for routine cleaning include:
- Osmo Liquid Wax Cleaner
This formulation gives you the double benefit of cleaning and regenerating the treated surface, and is popular for DIYers and domestic use. You can use it to get rid of those tough stains that are on the surface including the troublesome grease residue. It will maintain the surface without risking the performance of the Osmo oils that have been applied, and is also easy to use. The brand has also availed high-performance equipment that can be used for the application of this cleaner: Osmo Active-Fibre Mop – specially designed for such cleaning situations (manual application), or FloorXcenter which is a machine is a favourite of the professionals working on large areas. The two versions of the product are: 3029 Clear and the 3087 White Transparent. The latter is specifically used for white-coloured surfaces.
The formulation has a huge application range, where just 2 teaspoons of the cleaner will be enough for every square metre of surface (80-100 m²/L). it also dries fast, in just 30-40 minutes under normal conditions. In case you’re dealing with a stain, apply the cleaner directly onto the area, then use a scotch pad or cloth to remove the spot.
Extra tip: The Osmo Liquid Wax Cleaner also comes in handy when you want to change the gloss level of surfaces treated with Osmo oils. For instance, you can polish surfaces that have been finished with a satin coat to make them more glossy.
- Osmo Spray Cleaner
This is a ready-to-use formulation that is used for daily cleaning, and its soaps are also based on natural oils. It delivers its cleaning action without removing the protective attributes delivered by the Osmo oils and waxes, and you also won’t have to worry about the wood drying out. For the user, you will notice that the solution is mild on the skin, and won’t have fragrances affecting the indoor air quality. It is available in a 0.5L spray bottle, and here the coverage will depend on how heavily the area being worked on is soiled. Simply open the nozzle by turning it, and spray the cleaner onto the surface – then use a cotton cloth to rub the area.
The frequency of cleaning here will vary from one kind of establishment to the next. For instance, if you’re working on worktops and tables at home, then using the Osmo Spray Cleaner on them once a week will be enough. However, for the dining area and kitchens in restaurants, then they should be cleaned daily.
- Osmo Tannin Spot Remover
Like you can tell from the name, it has been specially formulated for removing those back spots on the wood surfaces that contain tannic acid. Start by removing the dirt and debris that can simply be wiped off using conventional methods, then apply the Tannin Spot Remover onto the target area. This product comes ready to use. Spread it onto the target spot until it is fully covered, then let it dwell on the area for 30-45 minutes. This formulation will do the heavy lifting for you, chemically breaking down the stain, after which you can quickly away the contents using a lint-free cloth. If there is any residue that remains, simply repeat the process. Once the area dries, apply the suitable maintenance formulation from the Range of Osmo oils, to ensure that the underlying wood surface remains fully protected. Note that surrounding metal surfaces, like sections of the furniture’s hardware, should be protected from contact with this formulation when you’re cleaning the area.
A Brand You Can Trust
The wooden structures were costly to install, and you want to ensure that you’re using the right product on them that will give you the desired results. The brand you pick for the finishing products plays a key role in this. Here, you want to go with one that has a proven track record, and where the popularity of its products is undeniable. The more usage that a brand has, the more reviews you can go over to see what other contractors, DIYErs and hobbyists who used their products have to say about their experience. The surface care industry is very competitive, and for a brand to retain a stronghold of its market share – and even grow it into new regions, goes to show the amount of value that users place in the company’s products.
With Osmo, you’re dealing with a brand that has over 100 years of experience in dealing with wood. Being a pioneer in the niche, the company developed the first of the now popular natural oil and wax-based finishes over 4 decades ago, which have become a staple in the industry, with more refinements over the years to add to their performance while retaining their original goal. This track record, and the wide market reach of the brand is testament of the quality and reliability of the products that it provides. The brand is specifically focused on providing natural and environmentally friendly solutions to wood care, such as with the Osmo oils that are based on vegetable oils which are rapidly renewable, penetrating deep into the wood and ensuring that the wood retains its natural elasticity so it can expand or contract with the seasonal changes in temperature and humidity without cracking. This also prevents the finished wood from drying up and getting brittle. Even the inorganic pigments that are infused into the Osmo wood finishes have been developed from natural ores.
Using Osmo’s natural finishes also gives you plenty of flexibility when it comes to the aesthetics of the different interior and exterior surfaces. You have multiple combinations to work with to set a natural shade, dark or light, to give you the decor element that you desire. Maintaining the natural raw look of the wood, enhancing the wood grain, switching the colour tone to better match your ambience – you get to ensure that the surface meets the goals of your residential or commercial space. Moreover, the durability from the Osmo oils ensures that the surface adapts to the demands of day-to-day life.
The track record of the company is also given more credence by the certification and awards it has received. For starters, the dry finishes of the Osmo oils meet the European Standard DIN EN 71.3, making them suitable for children’s toys, and the DIN 53160 standards, where DIN 53160-1 looks at resistance to saliva and DIN 53160-2 focuses on resistance to Oso perspiration. This is to ensure that once the wood finishes dry, they will be safe for animals, plants and humans. The company itself operates in accordance to DIN EN ISO 9001:2000 standards (for quality management systems) and 14001 standards (for environmental management systems). It has been certified to be in line with these regulations. It has also attained the “Ethical Company Award” from The Good Shopping Guide, who champion businesses playing their role in advocating for ethical change and excellence through their operations. It actually achieved an ethical score of 100 in the Ethical Paint Ratings Table.