Wood Floor Finishes
When choosing the finish for wood floors, consider your lifestyle and maintenance preferences.
All wood floors will require routine maintenance, such as sweeping or dust mopping, to keep
them looking beautiful and new, but the finish will have a big impact on how the floor is
maintained long-term, as well as how it will look in the years to come.
Each finish option comes in a variety of sheens. Each sheen has a different level of shine,
which will impact the appearance of the floor.
Gloss sheens offer the most shine and reflect the most light.
Semi-gloss sheens offer less shine than gloss and will reflect less light than gloss, but more light than satin.
Satin sheens offer less shine than semi-gloss and will reflect less light than semi-gloss, but more light than matte.
Matte sheens offer the least shine and will reflect the least light. This finish also is sometimes referred to as flat.
Surface finishes are durable, water-resistant, and require minimal maintenance.
They remain on the surface of the wood to form a protective coating and are considered to be film-forming.
There are several types of surface finishes available:
Water-based finish is clear and will resist turning yellow over time. They are very durable.
The oil-based finish is amber in color. They are very durable.
WOOD FLOOR FINISHES
All wood floors require a finish, which protects against everyday wear and tear. It is important to consider
what type of wear your floors will experience based on your lifestyle. A wood flooring specialist can
help guide you in determining which finish will work best.
SURFACE FINISHES OR PENETRATING FINISHES
Surface finishes are film-forming finishes that remain on the surface of the wood to form a protective coating.
There are several types of surface finishes available.
- Water-based finishes are normally clear, very durable, and dry quickly.
- Oil-based finishes are amber in color and are very durable.
- Moisture-cured finishes clear to amber in color, extremely durable and are more moisture-resistant than
- other surface finishes.
- Conversion varnish finishes are clear to slightly amber in color and are extremely durable.
- Wood floor wax hardens on the wood to form a penetrating protective seal, which will appear low luster
- and amber in color.
- They are durable but require a more-frequent maintenance schedule.
- UV-cured finishes are normally water-based finishes that are cured instantly using ultraviolet light.
- These finishes may be site-applied or applied during the manufacturing process.
- Aluminum oxide finishes are applied during the manufacturing process. These finishes are extremely durable.
Penetrating finishes include natural oil finishes, which can be penetrating oils or hard wax oil finishes. They penetrate the pores of the wood, hardening to achieve a durable, long-lasting finish.
FACTORY-FINISHED OR SITE-FINISHED
With factory-finished wood floors, the finish and color are applied at the factory, long before it reaches your home.
You will be able to walk on the floors immediately after installation.
A site finish is applied at the job site, in the room where the flooring is being installed.
This offers the most customization,
with an unlimited palette of color and finish options, but also requires drying time during which
you will not be able to walk on the floor.
The sheen of your wood floor finish is a matter of personal preference and lifestyle.
Gloss finishes offer the most shine and reflect the most light. Semi-gloss finishes offer
some shine and reflect some light. Satin finishes offer less light reflection.
Matte finishes offer the least shine and reflect the least light.
The less sheen, the less you will notice small scratches and other normal wear.
The natural colors of wood are often highlighted within each wood floor.
These natural colors may be toned up or down to create darker or lighter versions of the wood itself.
With the help of stains and a variety of color recipes, the color options for your floors are endless.