Hardwood Floor Finishes

By December 23, 2015 Info Articles No Comments

Top 7 Most Popular Types Of Hardwood Floor Finishes

Wood floor finishes can make or break a floor as far as aesthetics are concerned. But like any hardwood flooring Newmarket contractor will tell you, there is much more to hardwood floor finishes than just aesthetics. A good finishing can protect your floor from dirt and make it easy for you to wash it. It can also prevent slips and make it safer for both children and the elderly. To that extent, it goes almost without saying that one cannot disregard how important it is to ensure a hardwood floor gets a good finishing. But before then, one must consider different types of hardwood floor finishes available. The most common ones include:

Oil Modified Urethane

Refinishing of Stairs GTAIt is the most popular hardwood finish in the market. It is also the easiest one to apply. The finish is a petroleum base with hints of synthetic resins plasticizers and a number of other film forming compounds that can produce durable surfaces. Oil modified urethane can work on just about any type of wood.  Unlike other finishes, it takes only 8 hours to dry.  Its only downside is the fact that it ambers with age.

Moisture Cured Urethane

Compared to oil modified urethane, moisture cured urethane is more durable. It is also more moisture resistant. Strangely though, oil modified urethane is more popular mainly because it comes with a more affordable price tag.  With a moisture cured urethane finish, you can be sure of a finish that does not amber. You can also be sure of two choices – glass or satin. Unfortunately, moisture cured urethane finishes are hard to apply and often release a strong odor during installation. Working with the finish should therefore be left to professionals.

Water Based Urethane

Install cap system stairs, staining, and finishWater based urethanes feature different blends of resins as well as plasticizers. They also feature different sheen levels. They have a milder odor compared to both moisture cured urethane and oil modified urethane.  The finish is highly recommended for its aesthetics as well as durable properties which explain why it is expensive.

Penetrating Sealers

They are solvent based sealers, usually spread on both soft and hardwood floors and allowed to penetrate. They are used to hold wooden floor tiles or tongues and grooves together. Excess sealer on the floor is often removed with steel wool pads or rags. There are different types of sealers. The best ones in the market feature additives as well as linseed oil and lung extracts designed to improve wood hardness and dryness.

Paste Wax

Paste wax is common in both hardwood floor installation and repair. It is easy to apply, affordable and of course, fast drying. It also stands out as the oldest hardwood floor finish and to some extent, the best.  It spread in thin coats to achieve a neat, glossy look.  Be sure to invest in the best wax brand available.


Varnish was popular before urethane finished hit the market. They are still in demand today especially for sizeable projects in rural areas.  Unlike all the aforementioned finishes, varnish is extremely affordable. It is also very easy to work with, pretty much like wax.


It is one of the oldest hardwood floor finishes in the market. It resembles varnish and even stands out as a better, more appealing alternative to it. Unfortunately, lacquer is extremely dangerous to both pets and humans.  Prolonged exposure to lacquer can cause breathing complications, abdominal pains, migraines and vision loss. De-waxed shellac stands out as a good alternative to lacquer. It is harmless, affordable and long lasting. Swedish finishes are also ideal. Unfortunately, Swedish finishes are a little bit costly and hard to use for DIY projects.