October 4, 2022

A Primer on Choosing the Best Finish for Your Hardwood Floors - Part 2

The finish on your hardwood floor is an important decision to make, regardless of whether it’s a new installation or a refinish you want to undertake. Factors such as durability, ease of application, appearance and ability to repair complicate this decision even further–what’s a hardwood floor owner (or owner to be) to do?

Wax Hardwood Finishes

Prior to polyurethane finishing options, wax finishes were quite common for hardwood floors. This is why many older homes with hardwood flooring have wax finishes today. In essence, create a hazy, low-sheen appearance that’s often seen in more historic hardwood floors. But it does protect the underlying hardwood and can be easily repaired. On the down side, wax finishes are labor intensive in their application and relatively low durability. They also tend to darken over time. On a positive note, however, many opt to place an additional wax finish over polyurethane or penetrating oil finishes. This naturally adds to your floor’s durability and protection over the years. Therefore, wax finishes may be the best finish for your hardwood floors if boosting another finish’s qualities. The same may be true if trying to create a classic old hardwood flooring look. Wood floor refinishing austin tx rocks!

Varnish/Shellac Hardwood Finishes

While perhaps not considered the best finish for your hardwood floors in many cases, it remains preferred by some. They tend to migrate to this hardwood finish because of its high-gloss shine that it provides. In addition, these floor finishes are natural and sustaining, plus they dry fast and allow easy repairability. Many choose against shellac or varnish because they can be challenging to apply and require mixing immediately before applications. They are also prone to water spots and stains, and they are not necessarily the most durable. Regardless, shellac and varnish finishes may be the best finish for your hardwood floors for aesthetic or eco-friendly reasons. While other finishes are more popular, these are certainly not uncommon today.

Other Hardwood Finishes to Consider

There are a few other hardwood flooring options that are worth your consideration in specific instances. If you have a polyurethane hardwood finish already, you might not have to perform a traditional sanding and refinishing. In many instances, homeowners can perform a process called screening that removes the polyurethane only so it can be reapplied. Screening is much simpler, easier, and less messy that a full hardwood refinishing as well. Other finishes that might be considered include aluminum oxide, which is an option for prefinished hardwood floors. This additional finishing is the most durable finishing choice, lasting up to 25 years. Not only is it highly protective and easy to apply, but it comes in a variety of glosses.

As you can see, there are some great choices when it comes to finding the best finish for your hardwood floors. The information provided should help you narrow down which ones are most feasible. Combined with insights from a trained hardwood flooring specialist, you will be much more likely to make the right decision.