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.
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 finishes are clear and will resist turning yellow over time. They are very durable.
Oil-based finishes are amber in color. They are very durable.
Moisture-cured finishes are clear to amber in color. They are extremely durable and are more moisture-resistant than other surface finishes.
Conversion varnish finishes are clear to slightly amber in color. They are very durable.
Wax finishes soak into the wood and harden to form a protective penetrating seal, which will appear low luster and amber in color. They are durable, but can show spots from water and other contaminates.
UV cured finishes are finishes that are instantly cured using ultraviolet light. Multiple sheens are available.
Natural oil finishes can be penetrating oils or hard wax oil finishes. They penetrate into the pores of the wood to achieve a durable, long-lasting finish.
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.
Originally written and published by NWFA.