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Solid Wood Flooring Finishes: The Ultimate Guide


The allure of solid wood flooring lies not only in its natural grain and timeless charm but also in the finishes that enhance its beauty, protect its surface, and extend its lifespan. The finish of your flooring can dictate the ambiance of your space, the ease of maintenance, and even the floor's durability over time. Let us walk you through the world of solid wood flooring finishes, offering insights to make your decision-making seamless.

The Role of Finishes:

The finish acts as a protective layer, shielding the wood from daily wear and tear, moisture, and other potential damage. Beyond protection, finishes determine the aesthetic of the floor – from shiny and polished to matte and rustic.

Exploring the Finish Options:

  1. Polyurethane (Oil-Based): Renowned for its glossy sheen, oil-based polyurethane provides a thick protective layer. It's durable and is often used in high-traffic areas.

  2. Polyurethane (Water-Based): With faster drying times and a clearer finish, water-based polyurethane is less odorous and offers a natural look, preserving the wood's inherent beauty.

  3. Wax: An age-old finish, wax imparts a soft, low-sheen appearance. While it's less durable than polyurethane, it offers easy touch-up capabilities.

  4. Oil Finish: Penetrating deep into the wood, oil finishes (like linseed or tung oil) enhance the grain and offer a natural matte look. They require more frequent maintenance but give a unique warmth to the flooring.

  5. Shellac or Lacquer: Less commonly used, these finishes offer a glossy appearance but aren't as durable as polyurethanes.

  6. Hard wax Oil: A blend of natural oils and waxes, hard wax oil provides a durable surface with a natural look and feel.

Factors to Consider:

  1. Room Usage: High-traffic areas, like hallways and kitchens, require more durable finishes like polyurethanes, while bedrooms might do well with oils or wax.

  2. Aesthetics: Your desired look – be it glossy, satin, or matte – will guide your final choice.

  3. Maintenance: While all finishes require care, some demand more frequent touch-ups or specific cleaning methods.

  4. Environmental Concerns: If you're environmentally conscious, look for finishes with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or natural-based finishes.

The Impact of Finish on Color:

Finishes can influence the color and tone of the wood. While water-based polyurethanes generally retain the wood's natural color, oil-based options may add an amber hue. Natural oils can deepen the wood's color over time, imparting an aged look.

Application Techniques:

The method of application can vary based on the finish:

  • Brush or Roller: Ideal for polyurethane finishes.

  • Cloth or Buffer: Typically used for oils and waxes.

A professional touch ensures even application and a perfect finish.

Caring for Your Finished Wood Floor:

  • Regular Cleaning: Use a soft broom or vacuum for daily cleaning. Avoid wet mops.

  • Specific Cleaners: Use cleaners suited for your specific finish. Avoid generic or harsh detergents.

  • Recoating: Over time, considering recoating or refinishing to maintain the floor's splendor.

Pros & Cons:

  • Polyurethane: Durable and shiny, but might mask the wood's natural grain.

  • Wax: Natural and easy to touch-up, but less resistant to spills and stains.

  • Oil: Enhances the wood’s texture but requires more maintenance.

The Evolution of Finishes:

With advances in technology and a growing focus on sustainability, the world of finishes has seen a surge in eco-friendly options and finishes that mimic natural looks while offering robust protection.


A finish is not just a protective layer; it’s the lens through which you view your beautiful solid wood floor. Whether you're after the raw and rustic charm of oiled floors or the polished elegance of polyurethane, understanding the nuances of each finish ensures your floor remains a testament to your style and sensibilities.

For further information or to delve deeper into our range of finishes, don’t hesitate to contact us. We're here to guide and assist, ensuring your solid wood flooring stands the test of time, both in durability and style.