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Water and Oil: Wood Finishes

Wood Finish

Choosing the right type of wood finish can bring out the best in your new hardwood floor.

Once new hardwood flooring has been laid into place, one of the final steps of installation is applying a coat of wood finish. In some cases, the hardwood panels come prefinished, eliminating this step… but choosing to apply finish yourself gives you the power to pick the best kind of finish for your floor. The two primary types of polyurethane wood finish are water-based and oil-based. The right finish on the right type of wood can enhance or degrade the durability and appearance of your floor, so let’s take a look at the differences between the two types of wood finish.

Water-Based Wood Finish

This type of wood finish can be a little more difficult to work with than the oil-based ones, but the potential benefits may make it worthwhile. A water-based finish brings out more of the natural beauty of the wood – this makes them ideal and recommended for many types of exotic wood. In addition, because they are based on water, they are more friendly to the environment than oil-based finishes. The biggest obstacle is that a water-based finish dries quickly, so the person applying it must work with precision and focus in order to avoid brush marks on the new floor. However, professionals consider water-based wood finishes to be superior to oil-based finishes.

Oil-Based Wood Finish

The oil-based finish is more forgiving when applied unevenly than water-based finishes, but it takes 12-24 hours to dry after application, so careful planning is still needed. Oil-based wood finishes add more color and depth to the wood – it adds a yellow hue to light woods while darkening stained and dark woods. In fact, darker woods benefit more from an oil-based finish, as water-based ones will wash them out. High gloss finishes will show wear more easily, so satin finishes have proven to be a popular choice, as they can provide a natural look while looking fresher longer. The wood manufacturers may have a recommendation on which type of finish to use, but if you are unsure of the type or care instructions, you can contact a flooring expert.

John K. Eareckson & Co.: Baltimore Custom Hardwood Flooring

At John K. Eareckson & Co., we pride ourselves on providing the best quality and craftsmanship in the Baltimore-Washington area, from custom hardwood installation and repairs to refinishing. So if you are interested in a new look to your hardwood flooring, pick up the phone and give us a call today!
If you have any questions about New Hardwood Floors, please contact John K. Eareckson & Co. by calling 410-788-4200 or visit today for a free quote regarding any of your hardwood flooring needs.
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