Different Types of Oak Flooring Finishes

Oak flooring can enhance the look of any room while adding a touch of sophistication and elegance. With fast and easy installation as well as the technology incorporated in today’s finishes, oak flooring can create lasting beauty while requiring minimal maintenance.

When contemplating the addition of oak flooring to your home, an important preliminary step is to learn about the various types of oak finishes available. If you wish to maintain the natural look of the oak flooring without adding color, then a simple sealer is recommended. By soaking into the wood’s pores, the sealer hardens to seal the floor against chipping and scratching. Sealed oak floors require little up-keep and can be maintained by applying thin layers of wax.

Should you choose to finish your oak floor beyond a sealer, there are many options to select from. Most finishes are easy to apply and are typically available in high-gloss, semi-gloss, satin, and matte. An Oil Modified Polyurethane is the most common choice. This finish is extremely durable and is an excellent choice for kitchens and other areas where the flooring is likely to be exposed to water and other spills. This easy to apply finish will tend to amber as it ages.

It is also common to finish an oak floor with a water based finish. These finishes consist of Urethane and/or Acrylic combinations. Water based finishes are clear, non-yellowing, and durable. They are also non-flammable at the time of application. They tend to feature the same advantages as Oil Modified Polyurethane finishes, however, they do not have the odor of mineral spirits. Additionally, in comparison with Oil Modified Polyurethane finishes, water based finishes dry much more quickly.

A third finish option is Moisture Cure urethane. This finish is harder and more water resistant than either of the finishes discussed above, and is typically only available in a gloss. These finishes cure by absorbing minuscule amounts of moisture from the air. This moisture causes the finish to dry and harden. As moisture is required for this type of finish, the atmosphere must be relatively humid. Moisture Cure urethane finishes are very difficult to apply and are recommended only for professionals.

An additional option is the “Swedish Finish” also known as Acid Cure Urethanes. These resilient finishes are typically harder than polyurethanes. “Swedish Finishes” are clear, fast-drying, and resistant to yellowing. These finishes are difficult to apply however, as undercoat type, number of coats, and working time are all critical factors.

Regardless of the type of finish selected, it is crucial to read and follow all instructions as outlined by the manufacturer.

Related Information

Where to Buy Oak Floors

The Benefits of Oak Flooring

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