When it comes to wood flooring there are a number of different ways to finish it. There are the old school ways such as penetrating oil and hardwax oil which have been around for a very long time. The newer finishes are UV oil cured, UV urethane, polyurethane, and water borne finishes. They all have their pros and cons on how they are applied, how they look, and how they are maintained. Finishes that keep a more natural look in the wood will usually be oil finishes. The water borne have some options as well, but not the oil base polyurethane.
A traditional penetrating oil finish will be applied after an unfinished wood floor is installed. The floor will need to be sanded and then cleaned to apply the oil. The oil is applied to the wood and absorbed into the surface to give it color and durability. It doesn't sit on top of the wood and create a protective coating. Because there is no top coating it keeps its natural look and feel. To maintain it, you will need to clean it and re-oil it every so often. Hardwax oil finishes are similar, but allow for more color variation and provide more protection against spills and staining. The wood still keeps its natural look and feel because it doesn't create a hard top coat.
UV oil cured finishes will be found in pre-finished floors. It is considered a blend of oil and urethane technology. It can be blended to keep the natural look of the wood flooring and less protective properties or have it more stain resistant and have a more durable top coat finish look. The water borne finishes are top coats to wood flooring. The wood will need to be sanded, stained, and then sealed. The benefit of the newer water borne products are Matte finishes. They add products to the finish which reduce the amount of light reflected off the finish coat. This helps amplify the colors and natural appeal of the wood floor giving it a protective coating.
Each of the finishes have pros and cons. There is no better choice over the other. Each are suitable for different lifestyles and family lives. Taking time to understand how to maintain them, repair them, and treat them will help you make the right decision.
When selecting a wood floor for your home, talk with the sales rep or installers at BPS Southeast and find out which finish will be best for you. We service the Western North Carolina area, which includes Spindale, NC and Hendersonville.