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How to choose the best finish for your hardwood floor

“Always pick your yard based on your Summer lifetstyle.”

~ KARL

January 21, 2019 - Karl Yeh

Okay, there's generally two types, there's a water base and an oil base. A water base is very quick drying, it doesn't yellow, it's hard, and it's very easy for a do-it-yourselfer to do. The oil base, it smells really bad, it's not as hard, and it does yellow. Make sure if you're having a professional come in, discuss the type that they're going to use, and do a water base. You're going to be happier with it. It's going to be a little more expensive, but in the long run it's going to be harder, less odor, and it will not yellow or change the color of your hardwood.

Changing the finish of your hardwood floors? Which is the best one to use? In this episode, we discuss the type of hardwood floor finishes and answer the questions why you would want to apply a finish to hardwood floors and how often they need to be sealed/resealed. We also explore the best type of polyurethane for hardwood floors and benefits of factory finished hardwood. 

 

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Transcription:

Hi everyone, I'm Karl Yeh, and welcome to another Homebuyer's School video, a channel where you get the latest strategies, tactics and tips from home buying experts. And remember, if this is your first time on this channel and you want to get the latest strategies from the experts, hit the subscription button below, hit the little notification [00:00:30] bell so you don't miss anything.

So, today I'm joined by Deborah Armstrong, Senior Interior Designer with Brookfield Residential, and today we're talking about types of hardwood finishes.

So, first of all,

Why would you want to finish your hardwood floor?

Deborah Armstrong:         

You'd want to finish your hardwood floor, say if you had a site finished floor in your home, or, even one that's been factory finished, but that top layer, the sealer has been damaged just from wear and tear, maybe it's got a lot of scratches from pets, or children [00:01:00] and their toys and you want to refresh the look.

Karl Yeh:           Okay. And

Why do your hardwood floors actually need sealing?

Deborah Armstrong:         

They do need sealing to prevent stain. I mean, wood is a porous product. So, usually now-a-days they come factory finished, they've got lots of sealer on top.

The newer hardwood floors that we're seeing today, very rustic finish, they have an olio finish on them.

So it's actually an oil [00:01:30] that you put on the floor, it's usually done by the installer when they do lay the floor.

And then, you should probably do it every two to three years, especially in high traffic areas just to keep that floor refreshed and looking its best.

Karl Yeh:          

And remember, if you want to know more about choosing the best floor for you, watch our video above.

 

How often would you need to reseal your floors?

Deborah Armstrong:           

Again, that would depend on the wear and tear, the traffic in your home, some people may never need to do it, but if you have a busy household, children, dogs [00:02:00] that are constantly going over the floor, if you're getting a lot of scratches, then that's when you want to.

Karl Yeh:          

So let's say you do have pets, because I do, and our dog pretty much destroys our floors on a regular basis, so if you reseal, you can get rid of those scratches?

Deborah Armstrong:           

Well, it depends. If it's just in that top layer, that polyurethane layer on top, then you can actually just maybe sand down to that layer and just resurface [00:02:30] with that sealer.

If it's gone down beyond and into the wood, that's when you're going to have to sand straight down, the stain off, re-stain--

Karl Yeh:           Yeah, okay.

Deborah Armstrong:           -- and then reseal.

Karl Yeh:           But if you sand all the way down, wouldn't there be a dip in your hardwood floor?

Deborah Armstrong:           You can't just spot do it, that's the thing.

Karl Yeh:           Oh, you'd have to do the entire--

Deborah Armstrong:           That's it, it's a move out, move the furniture  get out of your house, go on holiday for a week, and have a pro come in and do this.

Karl Yeh:           Oh, because you ... So, if there's just the one spot, I can't--

Deborah Armstrong:           No.

Karl Yeh:           -- just do [00:03:00] it because then it will make your entire--

Deborah Armstrong:          Exactly.

Karl Yeh:           Oh, okay.

Treating hardwood scratches

Deborah Armstrong:           

There are products out there that hardwood suppliers have now, that you can touch up a scratch if it goes down into the stain, little wax pens, things like that, that it will fill in and get you by until the time you do have to reseal.

The oil products that are out there now, you can spot treat them.

So, what you'd want to do in that case is, pick that one board, two boards, oil those boards, of course it's going to look [00:03:30] a little different for the first week or so, but then once that shine comes down it's going to blend in. And that's the beauty of these new olio floors.

Karl Yeh:           So, what is ... When you talked about polyurethane,

What is a good polyurethane for hardwood floors?

Deborah Armstrong:          

Okay, there's generally two types, there's a water base and an oil base.

A water base is very quick drying, it doesn't yellow, it's hard, [00:04:00] and it's very easy for a do-it-yourselfer to do.

The oil base, it smells really, really, really bad, it's not as hard, and it does yellow, but unfortunately, it's one that a lot of professionals use.

Karl Yeh:           Now why would they use that, just it's easier to apply, or-

Deborah Armstrong:           It's cheaper.

Karl Yeh:           Oh, is it cheaper to apply?

Deborah Armstrong:      

It's a cheaper product and they tend to use it.

So I would definitely probably make sure if you're having someone come in, discuss [00:04:30] the type that they're going to use, and do a water base.

You're going to be happier with it. It's going to be a little more expensive, but in the long run it's going to be harder, less odor, and it will not yellow or change the color of your hardwood.

Karl Yeh:           So, the oil base one actually, you can smell the odor even after?

Deborah Armstrong:          

For a few days, yeah.

Yeah, for a few days you're going to have that strong smell, and you'll probably not want to come into the home until that's kind of dissipated a bit.

It could give you headaches [00:05:00].

Karl Yeh:          

Do you have to sand your hardwood  floor before you apply the polyurethane?

Deborah Armstrong:            

Yes, you do have to get the old polyurethane off.

So, you just want to take that very little bit layer off, and make sure the scratches are out, you don't want to go over the top of the scratches, you'll just see them again.

So, you just want to get that nice and smooth, well cleaned, and then you can reseal them that way.

Karl Yeh:           And like we talked about, you probably don't want to--

Deborah Armstrong:            Patch do it.

Karl Yeh:           -- patch do it.

Deborah Armstrong:            No.

Karl Yeh:           So if you're going to actually--

Deborah Armstrong:          That room ... You can do one whole room.

Karl Yeh:          

Okay. And so, what if you have a house that [00:05:30] has ... you have the same hardwood floor across the entire level, but obviously you have different rooms, can you spot it in just one room, or do you actually have to do the entire house?

Deborah Armstrong:           

You probably can do just one room. You want a good professional that's going to make that transition to the next room.

Benefits of factory finished hardwoods

The nice thing about the newer hardwood boards, the factory finished hardwoods, is that you can actually take out a board.

Site finished you can't, because when they put that sealer on, it goes [00:06:00] over everything.

It goes over the seams and the joins, so you can't just pop out a board.

Karl Yeh:           Oh, okay.

Deborah Armstrong:           

That's why when people are taking out an old site finished hardwood floor, they will put in a pre-finished, factory finished hardwood.

Because, that way if something really bad, a stain, a spill, something happens to a set of boards, you can pop those boards out and--

Karl Yeh:           And just put a new one.

Deborah Armstrong:           -- re-glue down the other boards in.

It [00:06:30] makes life so much easier.

Karl Yeh:           Rather than having to do the entire--

Deborah Armstrong:           You're moving out, yeah.

Karl Yeh:          

And let's say, you use one room heavily and other rooms not, eventually there's going to be a dip isn't it, if you're going to refinish?

Deborah Armstrong:           You're going to have to ... Well, yes if-

Karl Yeh:          

If you refinish multiple times in one room, and you don't finish in others, there's going to be that-

Deborah Armstrong:          

Yes, you're going to ... It's going to change.

There's going to come a point in time where you say, "Let's just rip this all out, and let's make life [00:07:00] easier and get pre-finished hardwood floor or an olio floor." Yeah.

Karl Yeh:           Oh, okay. Do you have anything else to add in terms of floor finishes?

Deborah Armstrong:            No, I don't.

Karl Yeh:          

Perfect.

Question I have for you is:

Did you get your hardwood floor finished, and what did you use?

Let us know in the comment section below.

Thank you very much for joining us, and we'll catch you next time.

 

 

Your turn:

Let us know if you have additional flooring or interior design questions that we can answer by submitting them in the comments section below. 

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