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Whether you’re installing new hardwood flooring or thinking about refinishing existing ones, choosing a finish is important. Different hardwood floor finishes offer different degrees of durability and protection. But at the same time, they also vary in terms of their ease of application, appearance, and ease of repairs. Understanding this, there are a number of factors to be considered when choosing the best finish for your hardwood floors. Each has pros and cons that can be weighed to help you make the decision. With this in mind, the following offers some important insights about the most common types of hardwood floor finishes.
By far, polyurethane hardwood flooring finishes are the most popular today. These synthetic protective finishes come in water and oil-based varieties, but each are highly durable, tough, and resistant to damage. Because of this, they are a good choice for higher traffic area floors. In choosing the best finish for your hardwood floors, water-based polyurethane finishes dry fast within hours and provide a clear coat finish. This is ideal for some hardwoods where clarity is desired. But water-based polyurethane can be challenging to apply because of its fast-drying nature. It also tends to show blemishes to a greater degree. In contrast, oil-based polyurethane finishes dry more slowly, which can make it easier to eliminate application mistakes. It is also slightly less in price and a bit more durable. In terms of downsides, however, oil-based options tend to turn an amber color over time and can produce toxic fumes during application. Both water and oil-based polyurethane finishes are good choices. But their individual features need consideration when picking the best finish for your hardwood floors. Isn’t hardwood flooring installation austin tx awesome?
If you’re looking to enhance the natural beauty and grains of your hardwood floors, penetrating oil finishes are great. These finishes have been used for many years, especially in historic homes looking to create a traditional, classic look. It should be noted that penetrating oils take days to dry after application. Common penetrating oils used include those like tung oil and linseed oil. These are easy to apply and are less likely to create the appearance of uneven application. In addition, a wax finish can be applied over them for added protection and durability. If waxing is not performed, you can expect to re-oil the floors every 3-5 years, and special cleaners will be required to avoid damage. However, finishing repairs are rather simple, requiring some additional applications of penetrating oil over any spots. Given this, it might be the best finish for your hardwood floors in the right context.
Stay tuned for part two of “A Primer on Choosing the Best Finish for Your Hardwood Floors,” which will examine the thrilling world of wax, varnish and shellac!