The finish of your wood flooring does more than protect your floors — it brings out the incredible depth and rich tones of the wood grain. Whether you prefer a subtle shine or a warm amber glow, there are a few details to consider when determining which wood finish is right for your home and lifestyle.
Oil-based wood finishes are one of the most popular options, preferred for its durability and radiant glow. With an ambering effect over light woods and a darkening effect over stained or dark woods, oil-based finishes add color and depth to most wood species. With oil-based finishes, you can also choose from low sheen to high gloss finishes. The higher the gloss, the faster your flooring will begin to show wear when compared to a more natural matte finish. With a long drying time of 12 to 24 hours, oil-based finishes can take longer to apply, but are durable and known to last for a long time.
For those who prefer to let the natural color of their wood flooring shine through, water-based finishes are the perfect option. Though they appear milky in the can, water-based finishes go on clear to slightly accent the character of the wood without changing the color of your flooring. Because it is water-based, this finish is more environmentally friendly than oil-based finishes, while still providing a similar level of durability. Water-based finishes are also fast drying, so they can be applied a lot quicker than oil-based ones, but require more precision to prevent brush marks.
Wax-based wood finishes offer the most natural wood appearance. With a low, discrete shine and waterproof barrier, wax finishes not only protect your wood floors from scratches and dents well, but they are also easy to buff and refinish. Because wax-based finishes are hand-applied, they are the most expensive and labor-intensive option — and they also need to be reapplied about once a year to maintain their protective waterproof layer. As the most natural, environmentally-friendly wood finish, wax is an excellent choice for those looking for a greener alternative