There are several factors that go into picking the right floor for your homes. Hardwood floors are timeless and can be made new for decades to come making them a popular choice for homeowners. But even when you know you want wood, there are more things to be considered. One of those being the type of finish you would like. There are four types of polyurethane finishes: matte, satin, semi-gross, and high gloss.

What Determines the Luster of Flooring?

Using a gross meter to measure how the floor reflects light at a certain angle is how the luster or sheen-level is determined. The scale ranges from the least reflective, matte, to the most reflective, high gloss.

Will the Finish You Use Change the Color of Your Hardwood Floors?

This is based on whether or not the polyurethane finish is oil or water based and has nothing to do with the luster of the floor. Oil based, over the course of several years, can cause your floors to have an amber or yellowish tint. However, should you use a darker wood you probably will not notice much change in comparison to if you chose a lighter colored wood flooring. Oil based polyurethane finishes are not suggested for maple, white, or gray stained floors as these will see the most change in color and can make great floors look terrible. Water based polyurethane has little to no effect on the coloring of hardwood.

What Are the Differences in the Types of Finishes?

While no one finish is more durable than the other, the finish you choose will determine how much wear and tear you see. A matte finish will not make scratches, scuffs, and dirt as visible because it does not reflect as much light as a high gloss finish.

  • Matte – Matte, having the lowest luster, is well liked but because it lacks shine some customers shy away from it.
  • Satin – Satin is the chosen more often than the other finishes because it has just the right amount of luster without being too shiny and exposing wear and tear. You are still able to see the beauty in the wood grain without seeing every scuff and scratch.
  • Semi-Gloss – Semi-gloss also lies in the middle but with more shine than satin. This is typically as shiny as most customers are willing to go. The shine of the gloss brings out the beauty of the floors but it also requires more maintenance to keep your floors looking good.
  • High Gloss – High-gloss has the most luster and it rarely used on floor that are the most frequented. Generally this finish is only used on exotic and specialty floor that have minimal traffic as they show everything.

Is Durability Related to the Finish You Choose?

The durability of your hardwoods is in no way related to the luster of the finish you choose. Instead the durability is based upon whether you used an oil or water based polyurethane as oil based lasts longer.

Water Based Versus Oil Based Finishes

Water finishes are usually one sheen level behind oil based polyurethane finishes. Water based finishes do not last as long as oil based because oil based finishes cure better in the wood making them more resistant. Oil based finishes have a higher VOC level which is a concern for customers who have concerns about their health and the environment because of this, companies are working to produce products that have decreased VOC levels.

Are Finishes Permanent or Can They Be Changed?

Good news, finishes can be changed! This requires a simple buff and coat- sanding the floors with a screen then reapplying the finish of your choice. So if the floor is too dull or too shiny or if the finish is beginning to wear off, you can change and reapply to get the floors you envisioned or bring them back to life when they have become too dull. One thing to note is that this can only be done if using the same base- water to water, oil to oil, unless it has been six months since the finish was applied then you can switch the base if desired.

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Style Flooring, Cabinets, and Countertops offers a level of attention and knowledge to our customers that big box stores just can’t! Our focus is to provide every client with outstanding service, high quality products, and competitive prices. We ask questions to get an accurate understanding of our clients wants and needs. Our extensive knowledge and product offerings allows us to help our clients find the best possible option for their lifestyle, look, and budget.
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