Design Dilemma: Glossy or Matte Hardwood Floors?
Everyone loves hardwood floors. Or almost everyone. But when it comes to the exact finish of that hardwood floor, opinions differ dramatically. There are those of us who love our floors shiny, almost mirror-like. And there are those of us who prefer a refined matte look that doesn’t call attention to itself. Which would you choose? Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:
A satin finish (below) has a soft, non-reflective look. It works well in a traditional decor but is also seen more frequently in contemporary settings. Semi-gloss is a little shinier in appearance and can work in both traditional or contemporary settings.Â High-gloss (above) is very reflective and gives that shiny gymnasium-floor look. It works particularly wellÂ in a contemporary-style home. A very high gloss finish may also work better on a lighter stained floor. High-gloss dark-stained floors will scratch and show dirt easily.
The shinier your floor, the more it will show scratches. There is a myth that a high-gloss floor will stand up to scuffs and scratches, but in fact, the high sheen actually shows scratches more than a matte or satin finish.
You can choose between oil-based or water-based polyurethane finishes. Oil-based finishes can be more of a pain to deal with as they take longer to try and smell more strongly. They require a five-hour wait time between the recommended two coats and a 12-hour wait following the final coat. It takes three to seven days to cure hard enough to before it can be used. Water-based polyurethane is easier to apply almost odorless. Four coats are recommended to build a proper coating, but you may recoat every two hours. Add a hardener additive to your polyurethane and it will create a more resistant floor than an oil-based polyurethane will. A water-based polyurethane must be applied every couple of years.
When it comes to cleaning, remember never paste wax a polyurethaned floor. Look for products especially made for polyurethaned floors. First, sweep your floor often, and mop when necessary with a barely damp cloth. Be sure to wipe up spills promptly.Â Minimal maintenance should be enough to keep your floors looking spiffy.