The Floor Beneath You

Hardwood Flooring Installation: How To Select A Finish For New Unfinished Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floor finishes protect wood flooring from wear and tear, enhance its appearance, and make it easy to maintain. There are various types of finishes used on unfinished hardwood floors, such as oil-based, water-based, and wax sealants. Choosing the right finishing products can determine the appearance and longevity of your new wood floor. Therefore, consider the factors below when selecting the best finish for your hardwood flooring. 

Foot Traffic in the Home

Flooring finishes installed in areas with heavy foot traffic usually wear out faster than finishes in low-traffic areas. Some finishing products are suited to heavy-traffic areas and can resist scratches from pet claws, high heels, and furniture legs. Oil-based finishes are incredibly hard-wearing and durable. They are highly resistant to scratches, which makes them suitable for high-traffic areas with pets and children.

Wax and water-based sealants are suitable for low-traffic areas of the home because they scratch and stain easily. These products require regular maintenance, including buffing and reapplication, and they aren't as durable as oil-based ones. They are suitable for homes without pets or kids. If you opt for wax or water-based finishes, avoid dragging furniture across the floor or walking around in sharp heels to prevent the finish from wearing out.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors, such as solar exposure and humidity, can affect the longevity of hardwood floor finishes. Ultraviolet rays can wear out the sealant, causing the floors to fade and lose their visual appeal. If you are installing hardwood floors in rooms exposed to direct sunlight, apply a specially formulated UV coating to the floors. The UV coating is cured using an ultraviolet machine to protect the wood from solar damage.

Like solar rays, moisture and humidity can deteriorate the surface finishes, exposing the wood to damage. Once moisture infiltrates the wood, it causes it to rot, warp, or swell. Therefore, if you want to install hardwood floors in the kitchen, bathroom, or other high-humidity areas, opt for water-resistant sealants. Consider using oil-based polyurethane finishes, as they have excellent moisture-resistance properties.

Desired Appearance

Would you like to enhance the color of your floors using surface finishes? If so, opt for oil-based or wax finishes. Oil-based and wax finishes add a natural, warm tone to the wood, which can enhance its appearance. Oil-based sealants are stronger and more durable than wax finishes. Therefore, if you want a sealer that enhances the wood's natural beauty while protecting your floors from damage, opt for an oil-based finish. However, if you are looking for a clear finish that won't alter the color of the wood, opt for a water-based sealant.

Most hardwood floor finishes require multiple coats to provide maximum protection to the wood. You must apply the products properly to increase the durability of the floors. 

Contact a local hardwood flooring installation service to learn more.