Hardwood flooring finishes are very important because they protect the actual hardwood from natural wear and tear. If hardwood flooring is protected with a finish, the floor will maintain its beauty, and increase its durability.Hardwood flooring topped with the right finish will have a barrier to protect it from dirt and other substances that can make it look dull.
Polyurethane is one of the most popular and widely-used finishes in most homes today. It requires minimal maintenance, and is resistant to water. Also, surface finishes come in a variety of different shines: high-gloss, semi-gloss, matte and satin. Other types of hardwood flooring surface finishes include: oil-modified urethane, moisture-cured urethane, water-based urethane, conversion-varnish sealers, penetrating sealers, paste wax, varnish, lacquer and shellac.
Penetrating finishes use wax or oil, which penetrates the hardwood flooring, enabling the absorption process to take place. The oils and waxes give the hardwood flooring a satiny or matte appearance, depending on the degree. Since the finish is penetrated and absorbed into the hardwood flooring, the texture of the hardwood flooring remains the same, generally grainy and coarse. One advantage of this finish is that protection comes from within the hardwood flooring, making the hardwood very durable.
Pre-finished hardwood flooring is when the factory applies the finish to the hardwood flooring before installation. Common applications used to cure the hardwood flooring are acrylic impregnated, acrylic urethane, aluminum oxide, ceramic, polyurethane, UV cured, oil, and wax.