What is the best finish to use on wood flooring?
How to choose the right wood finish for you!
After having to pick the type of flooring, pick the supplier and then pick the flooring installer/floor finisher, sometimes these final decisions like the right finish can seem overwhelming! There are a lot of choices out there when it comes to a wood finishes. Lets review the options.
|Easy to apply||Not as durable as polyurethane finishes|
|Low Luster/Matte||Stains more easily|
|Penetrates into wood||Needs regular upkeep (refinishing)|
|Mild odor||Must be completely removed before applying a polyurethane finish|
Wax finishes have been around for a long time. It was the main finish choice through the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s until polyurethane became available in the 1970’s. It can be applied as a DIY job but it is labor intensive. If you are specifically looking for a matte look to your floors, then it is a good choice. However, beware that it does take more upkeep and doesn’t seal the wood as well as other finishes.
|Less expensive than water-based polyurethane||Long drying time (8 to 10 hours between coats)|
|Extremely tough||High odor during application; high VOCs|
|Easy to apply||Gets yellow with age (benefit to some)|
Oil based polyurethane finishes have been used in the wood floor finishing industry since they came on the scene in the 1970’s. The sheen is based on personal preference, from high gloss to satin. Chances are a professional flooring finisher will recommend this type of finish because of its low cost. If the project is being finished before moving in, then it could be a good choice. However, we feel like its negatives outweigh the pros especially if it is a remodel job while living in the residence. The long drying time and high odor levels makes home flooring refinishing a long, smelly procedure.
|Fast drying time (2 to 4 hours between coats)||More expensive than oil polyurethane|
|Low odor; low VOCs (eco-friendly)||Slightly less tough than oil polyurethane|
|Doesn’t yellow like oil based polyurethane|
|Easy to apply; good for DIYers|
Water-Based Polyurethane is the winner in our books. It is tough and dries quickly which means you can re-finish and not necessarily have to move out of the property (depending on individual sensitivity). It will not yellow over time, ensuring it is a long term investment that will pay off. On top of all that, the low VOC means you are making a healthier choice for your family and the environment. Similar to oil based polyurethane, the sheen is based on personal preference. Professionals Tip: For high traffic areas, pick satin or a low gloss option to help keep floors looking new.