Keeping your floors beautiful longer has never been easier. These days wood floor finishes have become very popular. Using the right finish ensures that your floors are protected from dirt, moisture and wear. Finishes also come in a number of attractive colors and sheens. Most floors today are finished with a top coat and stain. With new technology there are a number of options each with their own benefits.
Common finish types include:
Oil-Modified Urethane: Most common surface finish. It is a petroleum base with a blend of synthetic resins, plasticizers and other film forming ingredients that produces a durable surface that is moisture-resistant. It is a solvent-base polyurethane that dries in about eight hours. This type of finish ambers with age. and comes in different sheen levels.
Moisture-cured Urethane: A solvent-base polyurethane that is more durable and more moisture resistant than other surface finishes. Moisture-cure urethane comes in non-yellowing and in ambering types and is generally available in satin or gloss. Curing of this type of finish is by absorbing minute quantities of moisture vapor from the air, which causes them to dry and harden. The curing process is very dependent on relative humidity.
Water-based Urethane is a water-borne urethane with a blend of synthetic resins, plasticizers and other film forming ingredients that produces a durable surface that is moisture-resistant. These finishes are clear and non-yellowing and are different sheen levels. They have a milder odor than oil-modified finishes have and they dry in about two to three hours. Water-based urethanes are generally more expensive.
Conversion-Varnish Sealers (Swedish Finishes): A two-component acid-curing, alcohol-based sealers. Because of their origin (country), conversion varnish sealers are often referred to as Swedish finishes.
Penetrating Sealers: These sealers are spread on the floor and allowed to penetrate and are solvent based. The excess sealer is removed with rags or buffed in with synthetic or steel wool pads. This type of finish often has a color and can be used to stain and seal the wood floor. Penetrating Oil Sealers are made from tung or linseed oil, with additives improve drying and hardness.
Paste Wax: The easiest to apply, least expensive, fastest drying, easiest to repair, and with proper care will survive forever. Wax over a penetrating stain, and the system is in the wood so you wear the wood, not the finish. Wax is spread in thin coats for a surface protection after the stain and/or sealer is applied, then buffed to the desired sheen.
Varnish: Vinyl-alkyd varnishes have superseded natural varnish made from vegetable oils. This product was commonly used before urethane finishes where introduced.