Floor Finishes Gallery
Surface Finishes - Surface finishes are very popular today because they are durable, water-resistant and require minimal maintenance. Surface finishes are blends of synthetic resins. These finishes most often referred to as urethanes or poly-urethanes remain on the surface of the wood and form a protective coating. They are generally available in high-gloss, semi-gloss, satin and matte. Any one of the surface finishes are appropriate for the kitchen.
Shown below are sample panel photos of many popular species which we
offer in flooring. The top half of the sample panels are water-based, and
the bottom half shows the appearance with an oil based finish.
There are basically five (5) types of surface finishes:
1. Oil-modified urethane is generally the most common surface finish and is easy to apply. It is a solvent-base polyurethane that dries in about eight hours. This type of finish ambers with age. Very often it is the most economical finish.
2. Water-based urethane is a waterborne urethane that dries by water evaporation. These finishes are mostly clear and non-yellowing. 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. Commercial urethane are very good quality nowadays.
3. Swedish finish or acid cure urethane is a clear and fast drying finish. It is durable and non-yellowing. These finishes have an extremely strong odor and should be applied by the highly skilled wood flooring professional. They contain very strong chemicals, formaldehydes and in many states they are forbidden.
4. Moisture-cure urethane is 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.
These finishes are extremely difficult to apply, have a strong odor and
are best left to the professional. They contain very strong chemicals,
formaldehydes and in many states they are forbidden.
5. Aluminum Oxide- The newest and toughest wood floor finish now being used by major manufacturers. This finish in multiple coats (factory finished product only) carry a 25 year limited wear warranty, and promises to out last most finishes now being used on prefinished products.
Penetrating Stain and Wax - This finish soaks into the pores of the wood and hardens to form a protective penetrating seal. The wax gives a low-gloss satin sheen that wears only as the wood wears. It will not chip or scratch and is generally maintained with additional thin applications of wax. Usually, wax finishes are applied more often than surface finishes. Only solvent-based (never water-based) waxes, buffing pastes or cleaning liquids specifically made for wood floors should be used.
Wax - The oldest, and in some ways the best. Wax is 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. Proper care involves maintenance with colored waxes. Water will spot the waxed surface and must be removed (or prevented). Buffing is required. Periodically, wax must be added, and this conjures up the memory of Grandma on her knees.
CUSTOM FINISHES "Custom," by definition, means performed to individual specifications. Custom finishing of wood floors is performed in the home on the completely installed new floor, or to refurbish a previously finished floor. Custom finishing permits the decorator and owner to select from a full range of color and surface types', from shine to sheen, not being restricted to factory-selected.
Things you SHOULD NOT expect from a wood floor finish!
1. A table top finish. Each piece of oak flooring sands differently depending on its grain type (plain or quartered) making it virtually impossible for a completely flat surface.
2. Dust-free finish. Since your floor is being finished in your home it is not possible to achieve a "clean room" environment. Some dust will fall onto the freshly applied top finish.
3. A monochromatic floor. Wood, as a natural product, varies from piece to piece. Remember it is not fabricated -- it is milled from a tree and will have grain and color variations consistent with the grade and species of flooring selected.
4. A floor that will not indent. In spite of the term "hardwood", Oak flooring will indent under high heel traffic (especially heels in disrepair). The finish that is applied will not prevent the dents.
5. A floor without cracks between the boards, or within the parquet pieces. Although your new floor may start tight together, as a natural product it will continue to absorb and release moisture. This natural process will cause the flooring to expand and contract from season to season -- resulting in cracks between some of the pieces in your floor. Some stain colors, such as white, will show this process more than others.
Understand that furniture, cabinetry, doors, etc., are fabricated in a factory under ideal conditions and that they contain 1-10 different pieces of wood. Their floor is fabricated in their own home and is made up of 300 to a thousand individually different pieces. And that their floor is never to be duplicated -- a truly custom floor of their own!
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