Finding The Right Finish For Your Wood Floors
Another area of consideration when it comes to deciding on your wood floor - after colour, species, style, method of installation etc. - is the finish of the wood.
New wood floors are, typically, pre-finished which helps protect the wood whilst providing additional aesthetic benefits.
They are also used to restore and rejuvenate old wood floors that are in a little need of TLC.
If you need a bit of guidance with choosing the right finish for your wood floors, then here is everything you need to know about the different finishes available so that you can make an informed decision.
Matte Finish For Your Wood Floor
The biggest advantage of having a matte finish on your hardwood floors is the durability and ease of maintenance.
Though the durability of your wood floor will rely heavily on how hard or soft the wood itself is, the finish you choose can heighten the durability.
Scuffs and scratches are not as visible on a matte finish, so if you have pets, children or a lot of traffic in a particular space, and the floor is more likely to endure some damage, then a matte finish will help to hide any flaws until you get a chance to remove them altogether.
It also means that you won’t have to clean the floor as often, nor will it need refinishing as regularly.
The visual appeal of a matte finish is that it’s virtually invisible because it doesn’t reflect much light, so it allows the wood to appear natural and untouched, which is perfect if you are going for a natural, rustic look.
High Gloss Finish For Your Wood Floor
Glossy wood floors aren’t particularly popular amongst homeowners and are more often found in commercial spaces, such as gyms, sports halls, schools and large offices.
This is probably because high gloss finishes come with a lot of maintenance work. They reflect a lot of light which means every little speck of dust or slight imperfection will be extremely visible. Glossy wood floors require regular cleaning, refinishing and sanding if you want to get the full effect of a beautiful wood floor.
However, If you are using high gloss finish on wood floors in a room or space where there is not a lot of traffic, then this may not be a huge concern for you.
The main benefit of a high gloss finish is that, because the light bounces off of it so much, when used in a space that doesn’t have a lot of access to natural light, it can really help to maximise any of the light that it does receive.
This helps create a brighter room and the feeling of more space and light, even in smaller, darker rooms.
Satin Finish For Your Wood Floor
Satin finish is the perfect middle ground between gloss and matte, so if you are torn between the two then this may be ideal for you.
Satin has more shine than matte, but it’s not as intense as gloss, it’s more of a subtle gleam. This allows the wood floor to still look somewhat natural but not too dull, giving the room a classic yet contemporary feel.
It doesn’t require as much maintenance as a gloss finish and tends to look newer for longer, but still has a nice, stylish sheen to it that gently reflects a little light. You truly are getting the best of both worlds which is probably why it’s one of the most popular finishes amongst homeowners.
Semi Gloss Finish For Your Wood Floors
Semi gloss is slap bang in the middle of satin and high gloss in terms of lustre levels. To put it numerically, satin has around 40% lustre, high gloss has 70% and semi gloss has 55%.
It has a little more shine than satin and does require more maintenance, but it’s not as impractical as high gloss is considered to be.
This is ideal if you want to brighten up a room and are not too concerned with your wood floors looking natural, or the extra bit of maintenance required to keep them looking new.
What is Lacquered Wood Flooring?
Lacquer is a clear, or coloured, varnish that is applied to wood flooring and dries to produce a hard, durable finish that sits on the surface of the floorboards. This provides an added layer of protection against every day wear and tear and can actually help the wood become somewhat water resistant making spills a lot easier to clean.
As much protection as lacquer finishes provide, because it sits at the surface of the boards, over time the layer will get worn away which means that the bare wood will become exposed and the floor will require re-sanding and refinishing on a regular basis. This is something to consider before opting for a lacquer finish.
Though lacquer can come in any sheen level from ultra matte to high gloss, it is typically used when trying to produce a nice shine to the floor, so would be advised if you are looking for a semi gloss or high gloss finish.
What is Oiled Wood Flooring?
Alternatively, you could apply an oil finish to your wood flooring which is your modern day equivalent to a floor wax.
Oil finishes provide a surface protection and penetrate deep into the wood, protecting the boards and giving them moisture resistance.
Oil finishes are extremely versatile, much like lacquer, and can come clear, coloured and in any sheen level. However, they are better suited for those who want a matte look as oils are applied with a brush effect that enhances the wood grain leaving a natural-looking finish. Oil finishes also deepen the wood colour over time rather than adding shine.
Wood flooring that has been finished with oil does require periodic oiling to keep the floor looking vibrant and new, so there is more regular maintenance involved with oils than with lacquers.
Reapplying the oil finish will help to remove scuffs and scratches resulting in a perfect surface finish every time.
On the other hand, because oil finishes are more than just a surface protection, even after the top layer of the wood floor has been worn away, there is still a level of protection underneath so it tends to need less major interventions.
If this has given you food for thought and you are still unsure on the right finish for your room, then you don’t have to decide right away.
You can install unfinished wood flooring (a bare, sanded surface) and choose any finish of your liking once the floor is installed; once you can get a clear visual of how it may look in that space.
Though this does mean the installation process will take a little longer, it might put your mind at ease knowing that you can make a decision once you have seen the floor in action.
For expert advice when it comes to picking a finish for your wood floor, or if you require a professional refinish to rejuvenate your current wood floors, then call us today on 0121 684 4772