Finishes

There are many different hardwood finishes, however they all fall under 4-5 different categories. Each wood flooring finishes have their pros and cons. Whatever finish you end up choosing your floor will come out looking amazing. All flooring finishes AMAX uses are of professional lines that are the best of their respective finish category. If you are getting a hardwood refinish, installation of new wood floors or getting a maintenance coat applied – below are the most common hardwood floor finishes A-MAX applies.

Oil-based Polyurethane

Oil-Based finishes are very popular and have been on the market for a very long time. This finish is created by putting the solid properties in a oil. The oil acts as the “traveler” and when the oil dries or soaks in the wood it leaves behind the solids on the floor you walk on. This option is by far one of the cheapest options as the technology is older and uses cheaper solids.

Oil-based finishes are often remembered for their yellow/ambering looking finishes that changes over time. The ambering of the wood is often said to give a “depth” to the wood. The yellowing is due to the UV rays changing the solids left behind and changing the coating to a orange type color over the years.

One unfortunate issue of the Oil-based finishes is the V.O.C’s are higher which means it leaves behind a smell through out the house as the finish is gassing off. The gassing off usually is going on for 14-30 days and is harmful to the people living in the house. Since the gassing off takes the longest of the finishes it means that the dry times are very slow.

Dry times of oil-based finishes take around 24 hours before you can walk on it and 30 days for for complete cure. This means that you can not move furniture safely back on the floor for a 5-7 days and until 30 days you are prematurely wearing the floor finish. You are also more susceptible to scratches and scuffs.

Dry Time
Durability
Leveling
Odor/VOC's (lower is better)

Pros

  • cheap
  • easy to apply
  • durable
  • gives depth

Cons

  • yellows the floor
  • ambers the flooring
  • high, harmful V.O.C.’s
  • slow dry times
Dry Time
Durability
Leveling
Odor/VOC's (lower is better)

Pros

  • lower V.O.C.’s
  • dries fast
  • durable
  • easy to work with
  • doesn’t yellow

Cons

  • not as deep of color

Water-based

Water-based finishes are newer to the market. These finishes came to the market around 30 years ago to get a more environmental conscious and green friendly finish. These finishes tend to be more favorable with clients due to them allowing them to use their house the same day. There is no longer a need to stay out of your house for 2-3 days.

While oil-based finishes tend to get very yellow over time and ambers the floor, water-based finishes do not do this due to their non-yellowing agents. These finishes go on clear and stay clear for many years to come.

The main reason water-based finishes were made was to conform to new air quality laws. These finishes have half the V.O.C.s oil based finishes have. This means these finishes are better for your health and while they are curing you are allowed to be in the house. These types of finish since they use water as a traveling agent tend to dry in hours you are able to get back in your house within a matter of hours.

Water-based finishes are very fast drying. They tend to be 50% cured within 12 hours and 90% cured in just 24 hours. You are able to walk in socks for the first week and then there after use your shoes. It is deal to not move furniture back for 3-5 days. In the initial 24-72 hours you need to be careful not to scratch or scuff the floor.

Water-Based U.V.

Water-based U.V. has all the benefits of water-based finish but the curing time is just 2 hours. The reason this is a great option is there literally is no downtime for your floor. You are able to use your floor the moment we leave and continue to live your life the way you did before AMAX  showed up.

The way U.V. water-based finishes are cured is with a special machine that glides over the floor and uses a very powerful U.V. light to bond all the solids together in one sheet of urethane. This gives the U.V. finish a very strong bond and gives supreme scratch and chemical resistance. No other coating is as strong on a chemical resistance compared to U.V.

After AMAX is done curing your floor you are are able to walk on the floor with no harmful V.O.C.’s in the air for you to breath. These finishes only have 50 V.O.C.’s while being applied and 2 hours later have 0 V.O.C.’s.  This finish is the most eco-friendly and the most green finish you can have today. While being the most eco-friendly and green it is still the most durable, scratch & chemical resistant finish. You have the best of all categories with this finish.

Dry Time
Durability
Leveling
Odor/VOC's (lower is better)

Pros

  • cures instantly
  • eco-friendly
  • extremely durable
  • very scratch resistant
  • high chemical resistant
  • does not yellow
  • extremely low V.O.C.’s

Cons

  • not as deep of a color

Sheens

Matte

Almost looks like there is no finish on the floor. This finish has almost no sheen to it and the wood looks as natural as possible. It seems that matte is very popular on the east and west coast. Apple Stores also use matte on their hardwood.

Pros:

  • Hides hair
  • Scratches
  • Easy to clean

Satin

Satin is one of the most popular finishes we use today. It is a very warm feeling finish that has minimal shine but enough to see a small reflection. It helps make the space still seem large but doesn’t overpower your eyes.

Pros:

  • Nice warm sheen
  • Hides scratches relatively well
  • Easy to clean

Semi Gloss

Fits Victorian style houses and older homes very well. This was more popular 20 years ago since the satin sheen craze. Semi-Gloss shows more reflection in the floor and looks like it is “thicker” or “deeper” than matte or satin.

Pros:

  • Great reflections
  • Pairs well with specific homes

You can also read more about finishes here: Different finishes have different film thickness: http://www.a-maxhardwood.com/blog/oil-water-penetratingoil-uv-how-they-differ/