All types of hardwood flooring require a protective top coat but choosing one can be intimidating. Hardwood floor finishes offer different levels of durability, glossiness, and maintenance. To make things easier for you, we’ll discuss the pros and downsides of the most popular hardwood floor finishes today.
Oil-based polyurethane is a moisture-resistant and hard-wearing finish with a yellowish or light amber tint. It’s easy to maintain, so it’s ideal for high-traffic rooms. You only need a vacuum and broom to keep it clean or a damp sponge to get rid of tough messes. However, oil-based polyurethane contains dangerous volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and gives off strong odors since it’s made from synthetic resins, linseed oil, and plasticizers. It requires 2-3 applications, each requiring around 10 hours to dry completely. You also have to wait 4 days before putting your furniture back.
Water-based polyurethane provides a clear, smooth, highly durable, and shiny surface. Although it contains synthetic resins and plasticizers, it has fewer VOCs and odors than its oil-based counterpart. Besides, it dries fast and only requires 3-4 coats. On the downside, water-based polyurethane can magnify scrapes, scratches, and other imperfections. To avoid that problem, you can go for semi-gloss or satin options.
The acid-cured finish creates a glossy surface that is resistant to scuffs, scratches, and chemical damage. Thus, it’s ideal for exotic wood flooring or those with elaborate patterns because it is extremely durable and highlights the wood’s natural color and grain. Strong odors and dangerous VOC levels persist during the curing process, so it’s necessary to wear full-face respirators and ensure proper ventilation at all times. Due to its complexity, this finish is usually applied professionally.
This type of finish is suitable for homes with pets, kids, and high-traffic areas due to its extreme durability, sheen, and resistance to general wear, such as scratches, moisture, and stains. It dries fast, but the complexity of the curing and drying process requires a professional application.
Wax gives the floor a low, amber sheen. It has low VOC levels and can be mixed with wood stain to achieve a colored finish. However, it’s susceptible to water damage so it’s not ideal for kitchens or bathrooms.
Aluminum oxide can protect your floor from water damage, scratches, and scuffs for 25+ years without altering the wood’s color. Since it’s available in different levels of luster, it can be as shiny or as matte as you want. However, it’s difficult to touch up or apply. If you want to replace or touch up your flooring, you’ll have to call in a professional. Still, it’s the longest-lasting and most durable hardwood flooring finish available today.
Flooring Waco TX: Overhaul or Touch-up?
For general wear and tear or surface scratches, you can touch up the floor by lightly sanding the finish and applying a new coat of the same finish product. If your floor’s damaged, you need to completely sand or remove the existing finish. After that, you’re free to apply any finish you want.
Ultimately, the decision is yours to make. Whether you’re switching to a new finish or simply fixing some light scuffs and marks, make sure you won’t end up causing more damage to your flooring. If it’s time to replace your floors, call Darden Building Materials. We offer an extensive selection of Waco flooring options, including wood, vinyl, and tile. Contact us for a free quote today.