Wood Floor Finishes
If you're planning to choose a floor finish to be applied by the flooring manufacturer or to apply a new finish to your current floors, you have several options and a wealth of manufacturers and brands to choose from. Certainly, buying pre-finished flooring saves time and messes to clean up. Having a professional contractor do the work frees you of the cost of do it yourself errors and breathing in potentially toxic chemicals.
Here are some basics on wood floor finishes:
A wood floor finish is a coat of urethane or wax which allows the floor to withstand user wear and tear and keep it looking good. There are surface finishes which don't seep into the wood, and impregnated or penetrating finishes.
Wood floor finishes, whether for new or existing floor surfaces, come in 3 main types: urethane, penetrating stains and waxes, and aluminum oxide finishes.
Aluminum Oxide is noted for the added durability it gives hardwood flooring. Flooring that has this finish may come with up to 20 year warranties. A number of urethane finishes that use oils, polyurethane and water. Water based urethane finishes are faster drying and more expensive than oil based urethane finishes. They don't yellow with age the way oil based urethane finishes do.
Wood floor manufacturers use impregnated acrylic, acrylic urethane, of aluminum oxide finishes. These finishes are long lasting, durable, scratch resistant, and keep the floors looking good. Prefinished flooring is somewhat more expensive than untreated flooring.
Custom hardwood flooring jobs provide a selection of colors and finishes for the homeowner. High gloss finishes are applied to surface finished wood floors. These finish products use varnishes, or oil and water based urethane. Do it yourselfers should use adequate ventilation when applying it.
Hardwood Laminate Flooring
If this is all too much and too expensive for your preference, consider hardwood laminate flooring. This type of engineered flooring uses a fiber board material. This layer is sandwiched between a melamine backing with a photographic paper that looks like real wood (or a thin slice of real wood veneer) and a bottom sheet of melamine.