Hardwood Floor Finishes

The most widely used natural hardwood flooring finishes for wood flooring are oil and polyurethane. Within both categories there are many variations and other names used to describe the finish. The types of finished for prefinished wood floors also vary according to manufacturer, but these are applied in a factory under ideal settings. Usually hardwood floors have seven coats of finish on them when you buy the packages of prefinished hardwood.

A few reasons to purchase Prefinshed Hardwood:

  • Prefinished hardwood has a superior finish compared to job-site finishes
  • Great for high traffic areas that get heavy wear - factory finishes are more durable
  • You don't have dust and fumes during installation
  • It's less expensive to install because no sanding and finishing on site
  • Installation is a fraction of the time compared to site finished hardwood floors

Oil finishes have 1,000's of years of time tested use around the world. Oiled floors are the most prevalent floor finish around the world. Oiled floors are made from natural oils, natural oils should not be confused with modern synthetic oils. Oils such as Danish, Linseed, and Tung have been used by different manufacturers for many years.

Tung oil is completely natural and renewable, it comes from the nut of the tung tree. It has been used as early as the 14th century to waterproof Chinese ships. Tung oil finishes are also water and chemical resistant (alcohol and alkali) and It will not yellow. Because the molelules in tung oil are smaller than most oils, it provides deeper penetration to seal the wood fibers beneath the surface. If a scratch becomes noticable, Tung oil is also very easy to apply, without seeing any cut-ins.

Polyurethane finishes are widely used and have been around for generations. It is a good floor finish, used in most hardwood floors. When this finish is applied, it is put on in a dust free invironment, then between 6-10 thin coats are applied, each layer is dried under ultra violet lights-producing an extremely wear resistant finish.

While both Polyurethane will produce a clear hard finish, the durability of prefinished hardwood flooring can be enhanced with the addition of either aluminum oxide or ceramic particles to the urethane; aluminum oxide is the favored additive because of the abrasion resistance it provides.

Installation Systems

Wood can be manufactured with a variety of different installation systems:

  1. Tongue-and-groove: One side and one end of the plank has a groove, the other side and end has a tongue. The tongue and groove fit snugly together to form the floor. Floors with a tongue-and-groove can be installed by glue-down (engineered only), floating (engineered only), or nail-down (engineered or solid)).

  2. "Click" systems: there are a number of patented "click" systems that now exist. A "click" floor is similar to tongue-and-groove, but instead of fitting directly into the groove, the board must be angled in to make the curved tongue fit into the groove. No adhesive is used when installing a "click" floor, making board replacement easier. This system only exists for engineered wood floors and is designed to be used for floating installations. It is beneficial for the Do-It-Yourself market.
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