Finishes are an integral part of flooring.
They help to enhance the grain while offering protection against sunlight, wear-and-tear, and other elements that could degrade the quality of your floor. There are several different types of finishes available that offer varying levels of visual appeal and protection. Understanding the differences between these finishes will let you make the best choice for your Toronto hardwood flooring.
Emphasizing the Wood’s Natural Grain
Oil-based sealers penetrate throughout the wood and emphasizes the wood’s natural grain and colour. Since oil sealers are low-gloss, they are ideal for anyone who wants to keep the focus on their wood’s inherent beauty or promote an antique look. Oil sealers are straightforward to apply, making them extremely DIY-friendly, and need reapplication every five years or so. Keep in mind that oil finishes take 24-48 hours to dry per coat and a proper finish can require several applications.
Acid cured finishes are one of the most durable types of finishes available and are an excellent choice for soft, smooth, or exotic woods that need better-than-average protection. The catch is that acid finishes need more time to cure and set than other varieties. The curing process can take anywhere from several days to an entire month depending on humidity levels and the room will have a noxious odor during this period. Acid cured finishes are highly effective but also difficult to use and will require a professional to apply.
Water-based polyurethane is the most popular finish for Toronto’s hardwood flooring. It provides a clear, glossy coat that produces the signature shine these floors are known for. The finished wood is easy to clean thanks to its high sheen, but the trade-off is that scratches and imperfections can be easier to see, like how they are more noticeable against lighter surfaces. Incidentally, most prefinished floors use a water-based polyurethane finish, which is worth keeping in mind if you choose prefinished over site-finished.
The Most Popular Finish
Offering Solid Levels of Protection
Oil-based polyurethane is another popular choice and is commonly seen when browsing hardwood flooring in Toronto. It is more affordable than its water-based cousin and is easy to apply while still offering solid levels of protection. One thing to keep in mind when using oil-based polyurethane finishes is that they tend to take on a honey-like tint as they age. This can be a pro or a con depending on personal taste and preferences.
Wax is one of the oldest types of finishes still in use today and it offers a low-sheen look that penetrates throughout the wood. Wax is easy to apply by hand but is also more labor-intensive than some other DIY options. On the plus side, retouching a wax finish is straightforward and simple. Wax finishes tend to darken the wood they are used on, which can be advantageous for some designs, but others may wish to avoid this by first applying a layer of shellac or sanding sealer. Wax finishes need to be reapplied about every three years.