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Hardwood Flooring: Your Refinishing Options

Refinishing involves removing strips of existing finishes on the floor to apply it again or use a different finishing material. In most cases, experts apply chemical strippers before sanding the floor to prepare it for the new finish. Depending on how the job is done, a refinished floor can increase or decrease the value of a home.

Hardwood refinishing is about applying different varieties of finishes to make floors as good as new. The process will vary depending on the type of finish you pick from a hardwood floor installation company in Kansas City.

Oil and Water-Based Finishes

Sports and commercial floor applications tend to favor oil-based finishes. These coats demand long periods between each of them to leave the oil to dry. Some varieties take as long as 10 hours to finish drying.

Polyurethane based on oil has high contents of VOC and a potent smell that could take days to disappear. It is durable and often ages to a yellowish color. Water-based finishes, on the other hand, have low VOC contents. Their smell is mild, and they need little time to dry compared to their counterparts. Most coats dry thoroughly in four hours. This oil does not yellow with age but requires many layers for it to look wholesome.

Moisture-Cured and Penetrating Finishes

As the name suggests, moisture-cured oil cures by absorbing vapor in the environment. The finishes have high amounts of VOC and strong fumes that necessitate proper ventilation or respirators during application. The finish is durable and water-resistant. As it grows old, it tends to turn amber.

Penetrating finishes will seep into the hardwood floor, filling the pores and forming a durable seal. The finish is made of different natural oils. Penetrating finishes have low VOCs and a soft sheen. They take longer to dry and become whitish if they are not allowed enough drying time.

Swedish and Wax Finishes

Swedish finishes, also referred to as acid-cured finishes, are the longest lasting of all market choices. They have high amounts of VOC and take a maximum of two hours drying time for each coat. The coat can take up to two months to cure fully.

Wax finishes also seep into the wood, but they are vulnerable to damage by water. Wax needs to be maintained regularly. Otherwise, it develops an amber, low luster look that darkens the wood.


house with hardwood floor

Many professionals use this finish with wax. Shellac works as the base to ground the wax. However, some wax products are incompatible with shellac, and so you have to run tests before applying. The finish is not toxic. It does not need buffing between different coats and dry quickly. However, shellac can be damaged by alcohol, water and ammonia.

Besides the finishes discussed above, other options exist in the market. When choosing a finish to use in your floor refinishing project, ask to see a sample of the options available to you. Hardwood has its inherent beauty that will either be enhanced or dulled by the finishing material you pick.

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