Different Types of Finishes for Hardwood Floors

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    Oil-modified Urethane

    • 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

    • 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

    • 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

    • Swedish finish is a fast drying clear finish with a very strong odor. It is recommended that a professional apply this finish.

    Penetrating Stain

    • 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.

    Factory Finished

    • 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.

    Uncommon Finishes

    • Varnish, lacquer, and shellac are older finishes that have been superseded by the new floor finish technologies.

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