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Wood Floor Finishes

When choosing the finish for wood floors, consider your lifestyle and maintenance preferences. All wood floors will require routine maintenance, such as sweeping or dust mopping, to keep them looking beautiful and new, but the finish will have a big impact on how the floor is maintained long-term, as well as how it will look in the years to come.

Surface finishes are durable, water-resistant, and require minimal maintenance.They  remain on the surface of the wood to form a protective coating. There are several types of surface finishes available: 

  • Water-based finishes are clear and will resist turning yellow over time. They are very durable.

  • Oil-based finishes are amber in color. They are very durable.

  • Acid-cured finishes are clear to slightly amber. They are extremely durable.

  • Moisture-cured finishes are clear to amber. They are extremely durable and are more moisture-resistant than other surface finishes.

Wax finishes soak into the wood and harden to form a protective penetrating seal, which will appear low luster and amber in color. They are durable, but can show spots from water and other contaminates.

Acrylic impregnated finishes are injected into the wood to create an 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.

UV cured finishes are finishes that are instantly cured using ultraviolet light.  Multiple sheens are available.

Penetrating and hardening oils are made of tung oils, linseed oils, or other natural oils, along with additional additives that increase hardness.

Talk to your retailed or installer about which finish best suits your needs and style.


Looking for a quick and easy guide to wood floor selection? We've got everything you need in one easy guide. View it here.


The Hardwood Floors Resource Book has all your wood flooring needs.

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