2017 March

Types Wood Finish Sheen

Buffed floors with gloss finish applied

There are 3 levels of hardwood floor finish sheens: Satin, Semi-gloss, Gloss (from least shiny to most shiny).

The sheen measures how shiny or glossy your floor’s finish is. Different people have different preferences. The luster level is determined by how much light is reflected off the floor from a 60 degree angle (consistent with how the floors are viewed while someone is standing on them).

The glossier you go, the more light reflects off the floors. This in turn, shows more dirt/dust as well as imperfections in the floor.

It’s important to realize that different hardwood species will produce different sheen levels. Natural wood color or patina, as well as differences caused by open vs closed pore woods will produce subtle variances in the sheen level. The sheen level chosen is more of an aesthetic choice and does not impact the durability of the finish.

Hardwood sheen finishes

Satin has around 40% luster
Satin finish has some sheen, but doesn’t look too glossy. It give the room both a classic and contemporary feel. Satin finish shows the scratches, imperfections and the dirt less. So, it’s easier to clean and maintain, and, it tends to look newer longer.

Semi gloss has around 55% luster
For those that prefer shinier finishes, this is a good option. It’s shinier but not as impractical as a glossy finish.

Gloss has about 70% luster
You typically see gloss finish used on gym floors and bowling alleys, and some of the exotic hardwood use this finish as well. A gloss finish tends to show every spec of dust, every dent and lots of footprints. These types of floors tend to need to be cleaned more often and often require more frequent sandings.

What if you don’t like the current finish on your hardwood floor?
The good news is that you can usually do a buff and recoat to change the sheen level of your floor. This is easiest to do if you have a solid hardwood floor that was finished on site (rather than prefinished in a factory). It’s the top level of poly that will give the wood it’s shine and luster. So, if you want to go from semi gloss to satin, or vice versa, this is usually a fairly easy process.

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