What type of finish should I use for my hardwood floors?
One of our most common questions! Do you have a preference, if so we can accommodate you! Over the past 20 years, we have used them all.
Oil Based Finishes: They are traditional, durable and have a thicker film build. They have been around for 80+ years for wood floors. The downsides are they have a very high, VOC content (Volatile Organic Compounds) in them, and they have a strong mineral spirits odor that can linger and off gas for up to 3 months. This, along with long dry times (up to 24 hours), are some reasons our clients don’t prefer this finish any more.
Water-based finish: This is the go-to in our industry. We have tried almost every finish on the market and this one has proven to serve our clients the best. These products have evolved tremendously over the past 25 years. Quite often used in combination with a catalyst or hardener (which defines it as a commercial-grade finish) for more durability, scratch and chemical resistance. These finishes come in every sheen level (from high gloss to ultra matte), dry in about 2-3 hours, are low VOC/low odor and extremely durable. This is a great finish to use if you have a family, with lots of traffic. This finish can be walked on 2.5 hours after application! Within 24 hours after the application, the finish is 90% cured, which means you can move your furniture back. This finish is fully cured in 3 days (oil based finish can take up to 2 months) This is the finish we use in our own homes and the most popular floor finish in the US.
Waxes: Used mostly in the 60’s and 70’s and rarely used any more. The newer finishes are much more durable/scratch and water resistant. This finish is also difficult to remove, once used. If your floor is waxed, the only options are to re-wax or sand it off completely. It is also a very slippery finish once applied. One positive is that the touch ups are easier than most other finishes and has a very low odor.
Hard wax oil: This product has had a surge in the past 10 years (Rubio Monocoat and Bona Hardwax Oil are the most popular). This is a 1 coat application that is not film building (hence the very low, modern look, matte sheen) and protects the wood from within, sealing the top layer of the wood and penetrating into the wood. Some benefits are the touch ups are easier than other finishes and it has almost no odor or dangerous chemicals to breathe in, along with an unlimited color options. This is a great choice for clients who are desiring a lower chemical/odor finish and prefer a very low sheen.
Note: All these finished can be damaged, scratched and dented. We strongly recommend taking shoes off at the door, using walk-off mats/entry rugs and keeping all pets nails trimmed.