Lacquer is a bit like a modern-day varnish, it sits on the top of the wood and "seals", unlike oil which tends to soak the wood fibers. The protection offered by a lacquered wood finish is arguably the toughest of all and is really intended for areas where you expect moderate to heavy foot traffic. With that said, because lacquer sits on top of the wood, when lacquered areas are beginning to wear away, the bare wood is left exposed and susceptible to damage. Although, one of the best things about lacquer finished wood flooring is that spills, if wiped up reasonably quickly, shouldn’t seep into the body of your floor. The arguable downside when you choose a lacquer finished floor is that the scuffs and scratches are slightly more noticeable than an oiled finish, so it’s doubly important to invest in really great doormats and sweep or vacuum regularly.
This finish tends to be considered more resilient for customers who want to worry less about maintenance (but at a slightly lesser natural look of wood) and more about the pace of daily life. Refinishing should be done every 5-10 years depending on wear assessment.
Oil is the modern-day equivalent to the old fashioned wax option, providing both surface protection as well as deep penetrating protection. Although oiled wood floors may require slightly more maintenance and finish specific products to do so on an ongoing basis when compared to lacquered wood floors, it tends to need fewer major interventions because the protection goes deeper than just the surface (if properly maintained). Unlike the lacquered finish, when the top layer of oil finish gets worn away, there is still a level of protection underneath. Of course, if you protect it with good doormats, and sweep or vacuum it regularly while occasionally lightly mopping, it’ll stand the test of time nicely. Reconditioning should be done every 3-6 months depending on foot traffic.
This finish tends to be considered more attractive for customers who want to show the natural beauty of wood, but at a slightly more need for maintenance. Refreshing of the current oil finish or re-oiling should be done every 3-8 months depending on wear assessment.