Wood Floor Finishes
create lasting beauty and requires minimal care with today's modern
technology in wood floor finish products. The right finish protects
wood flooring from wear, dirt and moisture while giving the wood an
attractive color and sheen. Today most wood floors are finished with a
stain and a top coat. Technology has provided a wide selection of wood
flooring finishes, each with its own distinct benefits and
Surface Finishes - Surface finishes are very popular
today because they are durable, water-resistant and require minimal
maintenance. Surface finishes are blends of synthetic resins. These
finishes most often referred to as urethanes or polyurethane's remain
on the surface of the wood and form a protective coating. They are
generally available in high-gloss, semi-gloss, satin and matte.
are basically five (5) main types of surface finishes:
urethane is generally the most common surface finish and is
easy to apply. It is a solvent-base polyurethane that dries in about
eight hours. This type of finish ambers with age.
2.Moisture-cure urethane is a water-base polyurethane
that is more durable and more moisture resistant than other surface
finishes. Moisture-cure urethane comes in non-yellowing and in
ambering types and is generally available in satin or gloss. These
finishes are extremely difficult to apply, have a strong odor and are
best left to the professional.
3.Swedish finish or acid cure urethane is a clear and
fast drying finish. It is durable and non-yellowing. These finishes
have an extremely strong odor and should be applied by the highly
skilled wood flooring professional.
4.Water-based urethane is a waterborne urethane that
dries by water evaporation. These finishes are clear and
non-yellowing. They have a milder odor than oil-modified finishes have
and they dry in about two to three hours. Water-based urethanes are
generally more expensive.
5.Alumiunum Oxide Finishes- The newest in wood floor
finishes offers a long lasting more durable coating than past wood
floor finishes. These finishes carry a limited 25 year wear
warranties, and are available on most major prefinished wood floors.
These finishes are not available to the general public.
Wax- The oldest, and in some ways the best. Wax is
the easiest to apply, least expensive, fastest drying, easiest to
repair, and with proper care will survive forever. Wax over a
penetrating stain, and the system is in the wood so you wear the wood,
not the finish. Proper care involves maintenance with colored waxes.
Water will spot the waxed surface and must be removed (or prevented).
Buffing is required. Periodically, wax must be added, and this
conjures up the memory of Grandma on her knees.
CUSTOM FINISHES "Custom," by definition, means
performed to individual specifications. Custom finishing of wood
floors is performed in the home on the completely installed new floor,
or to refurbish a previously finished floor. Custom finishing permits
the decorator and owner to select from a full range of color and
surface types', from shine to sheen, not being restricted to
What type of finish do you have?
Here are some simple steps to help you determine if the finish is a
wax finish, shellac or varnish finish or a surface finish. If the
floor was installed, or last serviced, before the mid '60s, you should
assume the finish used was varnish or shellac. To determine this,
scratch the surface with a coin or other sharp object in a corner or
other inconspicuous space. If the finish flakes, it is probably
shellac or varnish. Shellac and varnish are rarely used anymore and
require full sanding to remove before application of a surface finish
or wax finish.
Next, check the floor for wax finish. In an inconspicuous area,
corner or behind a door, apply two(2) drops of water. If, within ten
minutes, white spots appear under the drops of water, the floor has a
wax finish. To remove the white spots, gently rub the spots with steel
wool dampened with wax.
If the finish does not flake from scratching with a coin and white
spots do not appear from the drops of water, the floor has a surface
finish and should be maintained accordingly.