Finishes

There are a lot of different hardwood finishes on the market and they fall into a few categories. All the wood flooring finishes have different drawbacks and benefits. The finish you choose will affect the way the floor looks. We use only professional lines of hardwood flooring finishes and use the best finishes in each category. If you need your hardwood refinished, installation, or maintenance coat you may be wondering what hardwood flooring finish you should use.

Oil-based Polyurethane

Oil based finishes are commonly used and have been used for years. Oil-based polyurethane combines oil and solid properties. The oil is the traveler for this finish and as it soaks and dries into the wood it leaves the solids behind to be walked on. Oil-based polyurethane is a budget friendly option because of the solids used and the older technology.

Oil based finishes are known to yellow or amber over time. The ambering can add to the depth of the wood but many people do not like it. The UV rays that come in through your windows and changes the color of your finish. The only way to get rid of the yellowing is to refinish the floors.

The V.O.C.s associated with oil-based finishes are very high. These can leave a gross smell and be bad for your health. The oil-based finishes take 14-30 days to complete the gassing off process and you may not be able to be in the house during this time. The gassing off with oil based products takes the most time compared to water based or UV products.

The dry time of oil based products varies but generally it takes about 24 hours for the floor to be walkable and 30 day times to be completely cured. Furniture cannot be put back on the floor for 5-7 days and you can wear your floor prematurely within the first 30 days. This time period is when the floor is most likely to be scratched and scuffed.

Dry Time
Durability
Leveling
Odor/VOC's (lower is better)

Pros

  • cheap
  • easy to apply
  • durable
  • gives depth
Dry Time
Durability
Leveling
Odor/VOC's (lower is better)

Pros

  • lower V.O.C.’s
  • dries fast
  • durable
  • easy to work with
  • doesn’t yellow

Water-based

Water based floor finishes are the newest to the market but have been around for about 30 years. The water based finishes are considered to be green friendly finishes and are more environmentally friendly than oil based products. Water based products tend to be favored by many homeowners because they are able to get back into their homes the same day. The home does not need to be vacated for 2-3 days like some oil finishes.

Water based finishes do not yellow over time like the oil based finishes. The non-yellowing agents work well and keep the finish clear for years to come.

Water based finishes have become more of the norm because of air quality laws. The finishes leave behind V.O.C.s and water based products tend to have half the V.O.C.s that oil based products have. The water based products are better for your health and you can be in the house white these products are curing. These finishes use a traveling agent which dries in hours rather than days.

Water based products are 50% cured in just 12 hours and 90% cured in 24 hours. You are able to walk on the floor in socks in the first week and then use uses after that. It is advised you give the floor 3-5 days before you add your furniture back. The first 24-72 hours are delicate for water based finish and you will need to be careful to not scratch the floor.

Sheens

Matte

Matte gives the appearance of an unfinished floor. There is nearly no sheen and leave the wood looking natural. Matte is a very popular sheen choice and is seen all over the country. Apple stores use the matte finish on the flooring.

Pros:

  • Hides hair
  • Scratches
  • Easy to clean

Satin

Satin is the most popular finish choice in the country. It gives a warm finish with minimal shine but a small amount of reflective sheen. It is not overpowering but the sheen does help to make the room feel larger.

Pros:

  • Nice warm sheen
  • Hides scratches relatively well
  • Easy to clean

Semi Gloss

Semi floss is commonly seen in older homes and victorian style houses. This was the sheen of choice 20 years ago before satin was introduced. The semi-gloss finish gives the floor a more mirror sheen and gives the finish a deeper or thicker look.

Pros:

  • Great reflections
  • Pairs well with specific homes