Which Wood Floor Fits Your Lifestyle? (Part Two: Finishes)

As we take a look at choosing the right floor for your home, we focused the previous blog on wood type and style. Colors are always fun to talk about, so now we'll guide you through some things to think about as you select a finish for your wood flooring.
by Libby White Johnston
August 22, 2019

As we take a look at choosing the right floor for your home, we focused last week’s blog on wood type and style. Colors are always fun to talk about, so now we’ll guide you through some things to think about as you select a finish for your wood flooring.

The finish for a wood floor can either be site-finished or factory-finished. A site finish is applied at the home, in the room where the flooring is being installed. This allows for a lot of custom color options, but requires drying time which can keep you off of your floors for a short period of time. With factory-finished floors, the finish is applied at the factory before it reaches the home. These can be walked on pretty much immediately after installation is complete.

As for the actual color tones, this is also largely based on your personal home design style. You’ll get to pick between light, medium, dark, or even brilliant colors. Finish tones the natural color of the wood up or down, making lighter or darker versions of the wood. Typically, light tones make a room look more open and airy, medium tones make the room feel warm and cozy, and dark tones can make a room appear stately and refined.

According to the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA)’s annual survey of its members, the trend has been moving away from honey, blonde, and yellow finishes. Light floors continue to be popular with whites, greys, and even darker base, with the cerused or limed overtones to lighten the overall look. The cerused finishing technique results in a clear contrast between the soft grain and the hard grain in some species. Lime waxes can result in a very similar look, and is also known as pickling, whitewash, or white wax.

Regarding finish type, there are film-forming finishes that remain on the surface of the wood to form a protective coating and there are penetrating finishes which soak into the pores of the wood and achieve a durable, long-lasting finish. Read all the details about these options here.

Finally, finish sheens come in gloss, semi-gloss, satin, or matte. Gloss finishes offer the most shine and reflect the most light. Semi-gloss finishes offer some shine and reflect some light. Satin finishes offer less light reflection. Matte finishes offer the least shine and reflect the least light. In terms of trends, low-gloss finishes remain in high demand this year. One of the biggest benefits of having real wood floors is that as décor styles and tastes change; it’s easy to transform the look and color with a sanding and refinishing process.

While there are a lot of decisions when it comes to real wood flooring, that also means the greatest opportunity to achieve a completely unique look in a home! Don’t feel overwhelmed; a wood flooring professional can help you pick the perfect floor. Additional information about choosing the right floor can be viewed here and check out our blog about essential design trends.