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Essential Factors for Choosing the Ideal Wood Floor Finish: A Comprehensive Guide

Posted on April 22, 2023


11 Essential Factors for Choosing the Ideal Wood Floor Finish: A Comprehensive Guide

A beautiful wood floor can dramatically transform any living space, but choosing the right wood floor finish is crucial for both appearance and durability. With countless options available, selecting the perfect finish can be a daunting task. In this blog post, we will discuss the top methods and expert tips to help you make the best decision when it comes to choosing a wood floor finish that will meet your aesthetic, functional, and budgetary needs.

selecting wood floor finishes

1. Determine your desired look and feel:

The first step in choosing the right wood floor finish is determining the look and feel you want for your space. Consider factors like the type of wood, colour, and sheen level. Do you prefer a natural, matte finish or a glossy, polished look? The desired appearance will help guide your choice of finish.

2. Evaluate your lifestyle and usage.

Another crucial factor to consider is your lifestyle and how the floor will be used. If you have a busy household with kids, pets, or heavy foot traffic, you’ll want to choose a durable finish that can withstand wear and tear. For areas with less traffic, you may opt for a more delicate finish that prioritises aesthetics.

Evaluate lifestyle and usage

3. Understand the types of wood floor finishes:

There are several types of wood floor finishes available, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Some of the most popular finishes include:

  • Polyurethane: This is a common choice for its durability and resistance to wear. Available in water-based and oil-based varieties, polyurethane finishes provide a protective layer on the wood surface.
  • Hardwax Oil: Hardwax oil finishes penetrate the wood to provide a natural, low-sheen appearance. They offer excellent durability, are easy to maintain, and are eco-friendly.
  • Lacquer: Lacquers create a hard, protective surface on the wood, offering excellent durability and scratch resistance. They are available in various sheens, from matte to high-gloss.
  • Oil: Oil finishes penetrate the wood to enhance its natural beauty and provide a soft, matte finish. While not as durable as other finishes, they are easy to maintain and can be recoated as needed.

4. Consider maintenance and repair:

Different finishes require different levels of maintenance and repair. For instance, polyurethane finishes are low-maintenance but can be challenging to repair if damaged. On the other hand, oil finishes are easier to repair but require more frequent maintenance. Consider your willingness to invest time and effort into maintaining your wood floor when choosing a finish.

5. Consult a professional.

If you’re unsure about which finish to choose, consult a professional flooring expert. They can provide guidance based on your specific needs, preferences, and budget. They can also advise you on the proper application techniques and care instructions for your chosen finish.

6. Test the finish:

Before committing to a finish, it’s a good idea to test it on a small, inconspicuous area of your floor or on a sample piece of wood. This will give you an accurate representation of how the finish will look and feel once applied to your entire floor.

7. Factor in the room’s humidity and temperature:

The wood floor finish you choose should be suitable for the specific conditions of the room where it will be installed. Some finishes perform better in areas with high humidity or temperature fluctuations, while others may not be as resilient. Research how different finishes react to such conditions and select one that is appropriate for your space.

room humidity and temperature

8. Evaluate environmental impact and safety:

When choosing a wood floor finish, it’s essential to consider its environmental impact and safety. Some finishes, like water-based polyurethane and hardwax oil, have lower VOC (volatile organic compound) levels and are eco-friendlier than their oil-based counterparts. Low-VOC finishes also have fewer fumes, which can be beneficial for individuals with allergies or sensitivities to strong odours.

9. Budget and Cost Considerations:

Different wood floor finishes come at varying price points. Establish your budget beforehand and evaluate which items align with your spending limit. While it’s important to prioritise the quality of the finish, also consider factors like the lifespan, maintenance costs, and potential need for professional application, which can impact the total cost.

compare prices

10. Assess compatibility with your wood type:

Not all finishes are compatible with every type of wood. Some finishes may not adhere properly or could even cause damage to certain wood species. For instance, certain oil-based finishes may not be suitable for oily or resinous woods like teak or rosewood. Consult with a flooring expert or the wood manufacturer to ensure that your chosen finish is compatible with your specific wood type.

11. Consider the ageing process of the finish:

Wood floor finishes can change in appearance over time due to factors like UV exposure, foot traffic, and general wear. Some finishes may develop a rich patina, while others might become dull or discoloured. Research how your chosen finish is likely to age and ensure that it aligns with your long-term expectations for your wood floor’s appearance.

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Choosing the right wood floor finish is essential for achieving the desired look and ensuring your floor’s longevity. By considering your aesthetic preferences and lifestyle and understanding the various finish options, you can make an informed decision that will keep your wood floor looking beautiful for years to come. Don’t hesitate to consult with a professional if you need additional guidance, and always test your chosen finish before applying it to your entire floor.


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This organic finish not only adds beauty to your home but also has exceptional water-repellent characteristics, making it easier to clean and maintain.

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