The first thing you need to know is that a finishing treatment is not the same as a stain. People tend to use those two terms interchangeably and, while the difference is subtle, it is important to know. If you ever need to add a treatment to protect your floors or want to change their color, you’re going to add confusion, end up with the wrong thing, and possibly cause damage.
Jacksonville’s About Floors ‘n More wants you to know the difference.
When hardwood flooring is sold unfinished, it needs a coating to protect it from stains, discolorations and water penetration. It can also add a little shine to the wood flooring. Finishing treatments also help to prevent panelization, which is the separation of groups of boards from others, or from the rest of the floor.
Finishing treatments are typically water or oil-based surface treatments and are often polyurethane, but can also come in the form of a wax. It’s important to know that some, especially engineered hardwood, can come already finished.
Staining is the process of changing the color, often used to make a floor darker. If a stain is used, it’s typically applied over the finishing treatment, but it can sometimes be used in place of the initial seal coat; you must, however, check with the manufacturer first, because some woods don’t respond well to staining.
Now you have to decide if you want a water or oil-based finish for your wood flooring installation. Water is all-natural, and that makes it eco-friendly. It’s also fast-drying and, since the wood’s natural color comes through well with a water-based finish, it’s typically recommended for the exotic species, but they can sometimes wash out a dark wood tone.
Oil-based finishes, however, add a certain depth to wood. They add more color and do make the floors darker. They also take longer to dry; figure at least 12-24 hours.
As for high or low gloss, it’s your choice. Know, however, that low-gloss shows less wear than a high one.
Come into the About Floors ‘n More showroom in Jacksonville, FL, and let our experts show you how to have show-stopping floors!