A hardwood floor finish is a protective coating that is applied to the surface of a wooden floor. It serves several purposes, including protecting the wood from damage, providing a smooth and attractive appearance, and preventing dust and dirt from accumulating.
The most common types of finishes for flooring installation in Ottawa are oil-based polyurethane and water-based urethane. Other finishes include waxes, shellacs, stains, lacquers, varnishes, and sealants.
Ultimately, the best finishing option for hardwood floors depends on personal preference and lifestyle needs.
Can I Finish (or Refinish) a Floor Myself?
Floor maintenance has never been an easy task. Finishing a hardwood floor yourself can be an appealing option for someone looking to save money, but it is important to note that there are several caveats. The most important one is the dust created during sanding.
Renting a floor sander may seem like an easy solution, but most people opt to hire professionals who have experience containing the dust and other debris created during the process. It is also important to remember that this isn’t a job you will want to do twice; it requires significant effort and time.
If you decide to take on this project yourself, make sure you have adequate supplies and knowledge of the process before starting in order to ensure the best results.
Popular Finishes for Hardwood Floors
Hardwood floors can be a beautiful addition to any home, but one important step in the process is selecting the right finishing option. Popular finishes today include urethane, oil-based polyurethane, water-based polyurethane, varnish and wax.
Waxing your hardwood floors is a traditional option but requires frequent reapplication to maintain protection from scratches or spills. With so many choices available today, it’s important to research each option before deciding which best fits your needs.
Oil-Based Polyurethane Finishes
Oil-based polyurethane finishes are another popular choice for hardwood flooring. Unlike water-based options, oil-based polyurethane provides a durable and lasting finish that is more resistant to scratches and wear.
These finishes can be applied in multiple coats to achieve a glossy, high-shine look that further highlights the natural finishing. However, oil-based polyurethane takes longer to dry, has a strong odour, and requires better ventilation when applied.
This type of finish also requires more maintenance over time than water-based options, so it’s best suited for floors with minimal traffic.
Despite its drawbacks, oil-based polyurethane provides an excellent protective shield against everyday wear and tear while still allowing the beauty of the wood’s natural grain to show through.
Water-Based Polyurethane Finishes
Water-based polyurethane is a popular choice for hardwood floor finishes due to its quick drying time and low odour. It offers a clear finish that magnifies the natural grain of the wood while providing protection from everyday wear and tear.
Water-based polyurethane is easy to apply without creating strong odours or fumes, making it ideal for use in homes with young children or pets. Despite its advantages, water-based polyurethane may not be as durable as oil-based options and may require periodic reapplication to maintain a protective shield against spills and scratches.
However, overall this type of finish can be an excellent choice for homeowners looking for an easy-to-use finishing option with minimal maintenance needs.
Wax finishes are another popular option for hardwood floors. Waxes provide a warm, natural look that is easy to maintain and repair.
Waxes are applied in thin layers, giving the floor a soft sheen while still allowing the wood’s natural grain and color to show through. This type of finish is also easily buffed and polished, so it can be used to bring back lustre over time with minimal effort. Waxes do not provide as much protection against everyday wear and tear as oil-based polyurethane or water-based finishes, so they may need more frequent maintenance if the floor has high traffic.
However, the wax provides an attractive and timeless look that will last for many years with proper care.
Acid-Cured Finishes are a great option for hardwood floors that need extra protection against scratches, scuffs, and everyday wear and tear. This type of finish is applied in thin layers, allowing the natural grain and colour of the wood to remain visible.
Acid-cured finishes also create a warm, satin-like sheen that can be buffed or polished over time. However, these finishes take longer to dry compared to water-based or wax options. Additionally, they require more frequent maintenance if the floor has high traffic.
Despite this, acid-cured finishes offer an attractive look while providing superior durability when properly cared for. With proper care and maintenance, acid-cured finishes will last for many years and provide an attractive finish for hardwood floors.
Aluminum Oxide Finish
Aluminum Oxide Finish is a durable coating that is ideal for hardwood floors. It provides superior protection against scratches, scuffs and everyday wear and tear.
This finish produces a high-lustre and glossy finish that highlights the natural colours of the wood, giving it an attractive look. Aluminum Oxide Finish is applied in thin layers with a brush or roller, allowing the floor to dry quickly without leaving any residue behind.
Unlike acid-cured finishes, this type of finish does not require frequent maintenance or buffing, making it ideal for busy households. With proper care and maintenance, this finish can last for many years and provide an elegant and durable finish to hardwood floors.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Finish for Your Hardwood Flooring
When choosing a finish for your hardwood floors, there are several factors to consider. Aluminum Oxide Finish is an excellent option as it provides superior protection against everyday wear and tear, producing a high-luster and glossy finish that highlights the natural colours of the wood.
This type of finish does not require frequent maintenance or buffing and can last for many years with proper care. Other popular choices include oil-based polyurethane, water-based polyurethane, and wax finishes.
Oil-based polyurethane adds warmth and depth to the wood while water-based polyurethane has less odour and dries quickly. Wax finishes provide a classic appearance but may need to be reapplied more often than other types of finishes.
Regardless of which finish you choose, make sure it offers the right level of protection for your hardwood flooring so it can look its best for years to come.
Type of Wood and Color of Existing Flooring
The type of wood and colour of existing flooring can play an important role in deciding the best finish for hardwood floors. Hardwoods such as oak, hickory, cherry, and maple are generally more durable than softer woods like pine or fir.
Darker woods tend to show scratches more easily than lighter-coloured woods so a robust finish such as aluminum oxide may be a better choice. On the other hand, if you have lighter-coloured wood, oil-based polyurethane will give the floors a warm and inviting look while water-based polyurethane offers less odor and faster drying time.
Wax finishes may work better on darker woods but may require more frequent reapplication. No matter which finishes you choose, make sure that it provides the right level of protection for your floors so they will look beautiful for years to come.
Traffic Levels in the Space
Traffic levels in the space can have a huge impact on the type of finish chosen for hardwood floors. For example, high-traffic areas like entryways or hallways may require a more durable finish such as aluminum oxide to withstand wear and tear.
On the other hand, if the space is rarely used then an oil-based polyurethane or wax finish might be best. The colour of existing flooring should also be considered when selecting a finish and darker woods tend to show scratches easier than lighter woods.
No matter what finish you choose, make sure it provides the necessary protection and durability for your floors so they will look beautiful for years to come.
Desired Look and Feel of the Finished Floor
The look and feel of a finished hardwood floor can be just as important as the type of finish chosen. For a modern, sleek look, consider a polyurethane or aluminum oxide finish that will give the floor an extra shine and protect it from daily wear and tear.
For more of a rustic look, an oil-based polyurethane or wax finish is a great option as these finishes tend to bring out the grain in the wood. If you want a soft sheen on your floors, an acrylic finish is perfect for creating a matte look that won’t show scratches easily.
No matter what type of finish you choose, always make sure it provides enough protection while still allowing you to enjoy the beauty of your floors.
Refinishing your floor( like changing tiles and installing new hardwood flooring) has several benefits. The most important is protection from damage and wear and tear, as the finish creates a barrier between the floor and elements that could cause harm.
Finishes also offer an attractive appearance, with options ranging from glossy to matte finishes. Additionally, finishes can help prevent dust and dirt buildup, making it easier to keep your floors clean. With so many different types of finishes available, you can find the perfect option for your home.
Finally to give an extra appealing finishing to your hardwood floor, you can also use fabulous.
Oil-based polyurethane provides a durable, glossy finish while water-based urethane offers ease of application with little odour.
Other options include waxes, shellacs, stains, lacquers, varnishes, and sealants. With the right finishing option for your hardwood floors, you can enjoy lasting beauty and protection in your home.