It is important to note that not all hardwoods will produce the same sheen level. Natural wood color and differences between open and closed grained woods will create subtle and unique variations in the resulting sheen level. Also note that sheen level is simply an aesthetic choice: it does not affect the durability of the finish.
In the past, high gloss was more desirable; however, the recent trend is toward more low-gloss floors, due to the benefits they provide. Still, there are advantages for all sheen levels, so it basically comes down to personal preference. Here is a quick comparison of the different sheen levels.
A matte finish is the best at offering an authentic representation of a wood floor look without a finish. There is little noticeable sheen in these finishes, making them easier to maintain and clean. Scratches and dents do not show as prominently as they do on higher sheen floors. Since wear and tear on these floors is less noticeable, this a great option for families with children or pets. Matte also masks dust buildup and footprints much better than the higher gloss counterparts.
Satin finish levels, also referred to as low luster or low gloss, are most often used by prefinished flooring manufacturers or professionals who finish floors on site. A satin finish tends to highlight the color and texture of the wood more than a reflective finish. It has more shine than a matte finish while still hiding dust, footprints and most scratches.
A semi gloss finish falls in between satin and high gloss. Its relatively high light-reflecting ability gives it aesthetic appeal, but also accentuates imperfections and dust.
High gloss finishes offer an elegant appearance. These finish types are more common in commercial settings and can be seen on basketball courts, bowling lanes and gymnasiums. This finish will tend to highlight imperfections, including dust, if not cleaned often. Footprints from bare feet will also be visible on this type of finish. A high gloss floor will show wear more quickly in high traffic areas as opposed to the other three finishes.
So, depending on the space where you will be finishing the hardwood floors, your lifestyle and your preference, choose the sheen level that will provide the look you desire. If you want your floor to shine and don't mind frequent cleaning, go with a higher gloss finish. On the other hand, if you have children or pets and your floors will take some abuse, you may decide a matte or satin finish would be best for you.
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Now that you know a bit more about the types of finishes out there, why not start your new flooring project by giving us a call or stopping by our showroom today to see all the wonderful choices you have? There's something for every taste and lifestyle, so you're sure to find something you love!
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