Among other choices you have to make during your hardwood flooring restoration project or when installing new wood floors, choosing the type of finish sheen concludes your wood floor adventure. The choice is an important one: the finish sheen has a great impact on how your wood floors look and how easy it is to maintain them in top shape.
The sheen refers to how glossy your wood floors are. The shine or luster of your floors is caused by the light-reflecting qualities of the wood floor surface layer. There are four types of finish sheens: matte (the least shiny), satin, semi-gloss and gloss (the shiniest). The same sheen may look different on different types of wood, due to the variations in porosity and wood color.
The sheen can be quantified using luster percentages. The luster of the wood floor is measured with a gloss meter at a 60 degree angle, the same angle that your eye forms with the floor while standing up. When choosing your finish sheen, remember that the glossier you go, the more debris and imperfections your floors will show. Of great visual impact, shiny wood floors have, however, the disadvantage of showing the signs of wear and tear, which makes them high maintenance options.
Preferences for a certain type of sheen change throughout the years. So what is the most popular type of finish sheen today and what should you choose if you are planning to install or refinish your wood floors in 2016?
First Choice: Satin Sheen
Somewhere between very shiny and not shiny at all, satin is a perfect compromise between the two, with a luster percentage between 40 and 50. With the homeowners nowadays more interested in the ease of maintenance, it is no wonder satin is the most popular choice for finish sheens. With just the right amount of shine, it is still subtle enough to hide scratches, dirt and footprints. As a result, your wood floors keep their looks for a long time. A satin finish also gives your space a more subtle, calmer look that does not demand attention but instead allows the warmth of wood to come through. Its popularity is reflected in the fact that satin is the finish of choice for most prefinished wood floor planks. Many wood floor buff and coat professionals prefer to apply this type of finish coat on site.
Second Choice: Semi-Gloss Sheen
Trying the same compromise between reflecting and absorbing light, the semi-gloss finish has a 55 to 70 percent luster. It is shinier than satin, yet more subtle than glossy wood floors. This hardwood floor coating is perfect if you are looking for the dramatic look of the high-gloss wood floors, but want to turn it down just a notch. The semi-gloss finish sheen has high reflective qualities and gives your space a new-house look, clean and glamorous. However, it is not forgiving with the typical signs of wear and tear and may not be a good idea for families with kids or pets. Buildup and footprints show, so your maintenance routine has to accommodate these disadvantages if you want to keep your floors looking new for a long time.
Third Choice: Matte Sheen
The matte finish, with a 25 percent or less luster, absorbs light well and is best in hiding imperfections. Today, there is a shift towards this type of finish sheen that may cause this choice to soon dethrone the shinier ones. Homeowner preferences are actually moving toward less and less shiny wood floors, to the point that some may prefer no shine at all. It is the convenience of a finish that requires little maintenance and that does not highlight debris, scratches or footprints. But there is another plus to this choice: a matte sheen allows the wood to take center stage instead of deflecting the attention to the reflective qualities of the finish coat. If you prefer to emphasize the color, texture and warmth of wood, a matte finish is the way to go.
Fourth Choice: Glossy Sheen
The shiniest of all, the glossy finish has a luster index of 75 percent and up. This type of sheen gives your floor stunning looks and has been considered for a long time the most elegant choice. The reflections of light are dramatic and have a high visual impact. However, the high-gloss wood floors are unforgiving with showing dust and footprints – and sometimes even smears and streaks after you are done cleaning. The upkeep is more demanding and the usual wear and tear can quickly rob your floors of their new look. If your heart is set on a glossy finish, work with your hardwood floor contractors to see if your type of hardwood may minimize or worsen this problem.
While the 2016 trends in wood floor finish sheens continue to lean towards moderate luster, there is a subtle move towards lower-luster options. If you have a hard time deciding, here is the good news. In case you choose a finish sheen that you later regret, the fix is usually easy: a simple buff and recoat job is enough to apply your new choice of finish. A team of trustworthy wood floor refinishing contractors can fix your problem in one day.