Hardwood Floor Finish for Visual Appeal and Protection

Owning your own home can come with many challenges.  One of these challenges is keeping a beautiful hardwood floor protected and shiny to last and add value to the home as it stands the test of time.  Surface hardwood floor finishes make it possible to secure the protection and quality of your hardwood flooring.

There are about nine different types of finish available for most hardwood floors.  It is important to protect your floors now, especially if you have children or pets, as it will ensure that the beauty and value will be retained for many years to come.

Oil modified urethanes are the most common petroleum based and resin blend floor finishes that produce a durable surface which is also moisture resistant.  These types of finish become amber in color with age and can come in various levels of sheen for your flooring.  Other types of urethane finishes are moisture cured urethane and water based urethane. 

Moisture based urethane cures with a special chemical process that occurs with humidity and provides a very durable finish.  Water based urethanes are usually more expensive but provide equal or greater quality finishes to those of oil modified and moisture cured urethanes while providing a faster drying period milder odor.

Varnish type finishes and sealers use vegetable oils and curing processes that cause chemical reactions that protect wood.  These will not protect the floor very well, but do help to reduce moisture absorption and other types of wood damage that occurs naturally.  Varnishes were in use before urethanes were introduced into the hardwood floor finishing market.

Penetrating sealers use oils that seep deep into the wood and provide extra protection from moisture and damage.  They contain additives that improve the quality of the finish and ensure that the wood does not dry out and does not become damaged from the deep penetrating oils.  Wax can be used to coat these types of floor finishes to get a better shine and better protect the floors from damages. 

Lacquer and shellac can also be used to help protect floors that use penetrating sealers.  The problem with lacquer are that it is highly flammable making it a fire risk, and it may crack with high stress or high impact damage.  Shellac made with natural wax is not being used as much in hardwood flooring anymore and de-waxed shellac is being used more as a sealer type finish than a shine boosting finish and protectant.

Copyright © 2009 Frank Sulliman, all rights reserved.

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