Hardwood Flooring Finishes
After all the prior tasks for installation are completed, the last step is to protect both the wood and any color that was added to enhance its beauty from every day wear.
Depending on the amount of traffic your floor will see or the look that is desired, there are many options available on the market. The finishes I use are a little bit more in cost, but when you are talking about a barrier of protection for your floor, and the importance of that barrier not looking like a barrier or plastic, but enhancing your floor, there should be no question, but to use the best. I use catalyzed Urethane Water-base, Tunq oil and Danish oil finishes, all of which have their strengths and weaknesses, but there is always a perfect choice for a particular application.
The sheens of finish or level of light reflection range from matte to gloss. These finishes have an acceptable commercial rated slip coefficient and if even less slip is desired, an anti-slip material can be added to the finish. The two finishes that I most commonly use are, Basic's "Street shoe" and Woca's "Master oil".
Over the years, it has been my experience that people don't question the finish being used. It can really change both the look of a floor and how it's to be lived on. This is really important, as a poor choice for the species, texture, esthetic quality desired and livability will either lose its esthetic or protective qualities prematurely, thus incurring added expense and inconvenience.
Basics "Street shoe", is totally clear unlike other water based finishes that leave an apparent film over the wood, thus taking away from the natural beauty. Street shoe is extremely hard, Basic developed there water based finish originally in the 70's for bowling alleys. Street shoe is also a low 275 VOC, and offers the ability to apply the last coat with a roller, the results are glass, just amazing how nice it comes out.
Woca's "Master oil", is a plant based, VOC free oil and provides a subtle luster like the old world wax floors or hand rubbed oil floors with a livable maintenance program that gives you the control for an ageless floor. Woca oil is applied with a flooring buffer and slowly buffed into the grain, penetrating deeper than competing oils and with a second coat, building a thicker membrane of protection, keeping the wood from water and grease spotting, which other oils have a hard time with, well, actually the homeowner are having a hard time, as I am constantly going out and refinishing their floors. Woca oil is truly revolutionary and is my favorite by far for many floors.
If you look at most finished floors and lean down to find the reflected light, you can find streaks, and puddles, which are both caused from an uneven application of product. The big one is hair. Watch most finishers as they are applying the finish, and they will most likely be wearing shorts, a short sleeve shirt and maybe a baseball cap. After they're finished, take a look at the floor, looking straight down, as you are walking around in medium light. Leg, arm and head hair will be in the finish. We wrap up our head hair with a bandana, wear thin, full length running tights and tape up the wrists and ankles.
A floor guy can do everything right in the proper installation of a floor and even get a beautiful color, but if the last thing he does, which is the finish, doesn't come out right, the esthetic value of the floor is compromised. It can be relatively easy to fix, if not done correctly, by which I get called to correct often, but it's a good Idea to first choose the right finish, and then have it applied correctly.
For technical information on Basic's 275 VOC "Streetshoe", please click on the following link: http://www.basiccoatings.com/LiteratureSheets_EN/C1510_X498/StreetShoe%20275%20Technical%20Data%20Sheet.pdf
For technical information on Woca's "Master oil", please click on the following link: http://www.woodcareusa.com/
For technical information on Water lox "Original Satin Tung Oil", please click on the following link: http://www.waterlox.com/uploads/docs/Bulletin_WOSA__63406