When you are shopping for wood flooring there are two ways to buy it: Finished and unfinished. Unfinished wood flooring has to be installed, sanded, stained, and a finish coat applied to it. A pre-finished wood floor is sanded, stained, and the finish is applied in a factory. You then buy the wood flooring ready to be installed. Another name for the finish used in a factory is UV-cured urethane.

A UV-cured Urethane is commonly used in factories to create a tough durable clear coat on the wood flooring. Once the wood is sanded and stained, the finish is applied and then hardened by using ultraviolet light. This creates a barrier between the traffic on the wood and the wood flooring itself. The benefit of this is that it is hard, durable, and stain-resistant. It is ready to install when it is purchased and finished once everything is installed. A downfall to this finish is that it can look like a thin clear piece of plastic over the wood sometimes. Scratches show up as white lines in the finish. It looks like a crack line and isn't made to feather out when repairs to blend with the rest of the floor are made.

You will many times hear this clear coat referred to as Aluminum Oxide. This is just one of the different types of products used in this finish. Some use silica oxide or ceramic finishes. These particles help make the finish more abrasion-resistant. These particles were once applied to the top coat to help with resistance against wear. Over the years, it was changed because the coating became foggy as the finish wore down. The particles from the aluminum oxide created micro scratches in the finish. It also made it tougher against a scuff and recoat which was used to freshen up the floor. In the end, they started to apply them in the sealer to serve as the last defense against finish wear-through.

The problem with this is that a manufacturer can make claims for extremely long warranties because there is aluminum oxide in the finish. In reality, the particles are added to the base coat and sealer to prevent wear through to the wood. The actual top coat isn't as high quality and may look worn out within a much shorter time frame than the warranty says. The warranty protects the manufacturer in that the finish hasn't worn through, but it may look scratched and worn, but that will be considered normal wear. Most flooring store manufacturers don't practice this. Those companies that use high-quality finishes won't usually make huge claims on the warranty. Those companies focus on the quality of the finish to resist scratches and still have clarity to the finish to show the beauty of the wood.

One of the ways you will notice if a wood flooring is better than others is the price you pay for them. Lower cost wood flooring finishes will not be as high of a quality as flooring that costs more. Be aware that this is an avenue that the wood flooring in a box store is lower cost than what you find at a flooring store. To be able to make the claims and have lower pricing, it is made differently. Also, be aware of water or spills on a wood floor. Just because the finish is done in a factory and is high quality won't make the flooring invincible. You will still need to keep spills and moisture off the wood floors. Pet accidents, drink spills, and other liquids can stain the wood given enough time left on the wood floors. These finishes resist staining but are not immune to them.

Have more questions about flooring? BPS Southeast services Spindale, NC, and the Western North Carolina area. Get started with us today.