Wood Floor Finishes
Surface finishes are the most popular kind. They require a stain to achieve the desired color and then a top coat of polyurethane or varnish for protection. Surface finishes are easy to maintain and quite durable. The four surface finishes are:
  • Oil-Based Urethane - The most common surface finish, oil-based urethane is applied in two or three coats and is available in gloss, semi-gloss and satin sheens. The downside to this type of finish is the drying time - up to 8 hours for each coat. You will also need adequate ventilation. And, keep in mind that oil-based urethane finishes do yellow with age.

  • Water-Based Urethane - A good option for the DIY-er, this finish dries quickly and cleans up easily with soap and water. Water-based urethane has less odor than oil-based urethane and doesn't yellow over time.

  • Moisture-Cured Urethane - Slightly more durable than others, this finish is most often used on commercial projects and is best handled by a professional.

  • Conversion Varnish - Because of the strong odor and fumes, this finish should only be applied by a professional