- Wood floors can have several types of finishes.wood image by Zbigniew Nowak from Fotolia.com
If you are refinishing or installing hardwood floors it is important to know the pros and cons of each finish to ensure you choose the perfect fit for your home. Finishing your wood floors helps protect them from dirt, wear and moisture. Typically wood floors are stained before adding finish.
- Oil-modified urethane is one of the most common surface finishes. Favored for its ease of application, it is petroleum based with blends of synthetic resin, plasticizers, and other filling ingredients. This moisture resistant and durable surface dries in about eight hours.
- Moisture-cured urethane is a solvent-based finish that is the most durable and moisture resistant. Due to the difficulty in applying this finish, it is recommended for professional use.
- Water-based urethane dries through water evaporation. These stains have a mild odor and should dry in two to three hours. Water-based urethane is one of the more expensive options.
- Swedish finish is a fast drying clear finish with a very strong odor. It is recommended that a professional apply this finish.
- Penetrating stain actually penetrates the hardwood floors forming a protective hard seal.
- Wax is buffed into your floors, wearing as the wood wears. Wax needs to be applied more often than the other finishes.
- Aluminum oxide is a new finish being applied by manufacturers and typically comes with a 25-year warranty. Acrylic impregnated wood has acrylic injected into the wood to give it strength. Ceramic is another finishing method to increase durability. Polyurethane and acrylic polyurethane are durable and can be reapplied as needed. UV cured wood uses polyurethane that is then cured under UV lights for added strength.
- Varnish, lacquer, and shellac are older finishes that have been superseded by the new floor finish technologies.