Types of Floor Finishes


A finish is a seal that protects hardwood, cement, tile and stone floors from wear and tear. The finish will reduce dirt and moisture damage, and will enhance a floor's beauty with new color and luster. Most floor finishes last for many years.

Oil-based Urethane

  • Oil-based urethane is available in gloss, semigloss and satin sheens. It resists chemicals, scuffs and scratches better than most other floor finishes. It's best to use several coats, and it may take as long as eight hours to dry each coat.

Moisture-Cured Urethane

  • Moisture-cured urethane is solvent-based polyurethane. It's moisture resistant and very durable. It comes in satin and gloss formulas that are nonyellowing, and one that will look like amber when it ages. It's best to have a professional apply this type of floor finish because it's difficult to do and the product has a strong smell.


  • Sheen is a type of floor finish that penetrates the wood to form a protective seal. Sheen floor finish comes in high gloss, low gloss and satin. Scuffs and scratches don't show as much with low-gloss or satin finishes.


  • Wax is the oldest type of wood finish. It's easy to apply and dries quickly. Water is not good for wax floors because it will cause spotting. Wax is easy to keep clean and buffed. It's usually applied in thin coats over a sealer. Wax will last a long time if it's properly taken care of.


  • Lacquer floor finish is a synthetic sealer made of cellulose derivatives. This type of floor finish dries quickly. The downside is it's not resistant to spills, moisture or dampness. Lacquer is also flammable.

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