Finishes of wood

Q. I had my floor refinished and our finisher used a water base finish. It does not have the same shine or vibrancy to the wood. Aren’t all finishes the same?

A. Finishes of wood do matter. Water base and oil base finishes are not the same. One has the base of water and the other has the base of oil. The water base finish is a more matte type finish. The finish is there but does not enhance the natural appearance of the wood. There are new water base finishes, a semi gloss sheen level. This is close to polyurethane finish appearance, but does not have the same degree of luster.

The water base finish dries much quicker than oil base finish, so from an installer/finisher, it is less labor intensive time wise for us. Polyurethane finish, with the oil base brings out the color/character of the wood. The dry time is longer. Typically we recommend a satin finish for the polyurethane finish for residential use. One thing to keep in mind with sheen levels, is the higher the gloss level, the more that is visible on the floor-dust, scratches, etc. The finish results are an area that we discuss with our customers and provide a sample to show the type of finish and the characteristics that they have prior to us applying any of the finish coats. There are products also that we have that are an oil, but give that old world, natural look without any sheen.