ICS Magazine

Choosing the Right Finish for Hardwood Floors

February 17, 2005
ST. LOUIS, Feb. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Did you know that selecting the finish for a wood floor is as important as the flooring itself? Different wood flooring finishes will have a big impact on how you care for the floor, as well as how the floor will look in the years to come.

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 are referred to as urethanes or polyurethanes, and remain on the surface of the wood to form a protective coating. They generally are available in high-gloss, semi-gloss, satin and matte finishes.

Wax finishes soak into the pores of the wood and harden to form a protective penetrating seal. The wax gives a low-gloss satin sheen. It generally is maintained with additional thin applications of wax. Only solvent-based waxes, buffing pastes or cleaning liquids made specifically for wax-finished wood floors should be used.

Acrylic impregnated finishes are injected into the wood to create a super- hard, extremely durable floor. Acrylic impregnated finishes rarely are used in residential applications. They most often are used in very high traffic areas in commercial settings such as malls and restaurants.

Each of these types of finishes will help protect the flooring from normal wear and tear. Deciding which finish to use will depend greatly on the customer's needs and expectations.

To learn more about finishes available for wood floors, visit Wood Floor Finishes under the Why Wood Floors section of the NWFA's consumer web site, http://www.woodfloors.org/ .

The National Wood Flooring Association is a non-profit trade organization of more than 3,200 wood flooring professionals working worldwide to educate consumers, architects, designers, and builders in the uses and benefits of wood flooring.