Choosing the Right Finish for Your Sanded Floors in Home Renovation

Oct 9, 2023

Selecting the Perfect Finish for Your Sanded Floors During Home Renovation

Renovating your home is a rewarding experience that allows homeowners to breathe new life into their spaces. Among the numerous decisions to make during this process, selecting the right finish for your sanded floors is crucial. Your floor finishing determines not only the appearance of your floors but also their longevity and ease of maintenance. Let’s delve into the options available and guide you through selecting the ideal finish for your sanded floors.

1. Understanding the Importance of a Floor Finish

Before we explore the various finishes, it’s essential to understand why your sanded floor requires a finish:

  • Protection: A finish shields your wooden floor from wear and tear, moisture, and stains.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: The right finish can enhance the natural beauty of the wood, adding to the overall ambiance of the room.
  • Maintenance: Different finishes have varying levels of maintenance needs, influencing the ease of cleaning and reapplication.
Finish for Your Sanded Floors

2. Types of Floor Finishes

There are numerous finishes to choose from. Here’s a breakdown of the most common ones:

Oil-Based Polyurethane


  • Durable and long-lasting.
  • Offers a warm, amber hue to the wood.
  • Good resistance to moisture.


  • Emits strong fumes during application.
  • Can take longer to dry.

Water-Based Polyurethane


  • Dries quickly.
  • Has a clear finish that doesn’t yellow over time.
  • Lower in volatile organic compounds (VOCs).


  • Might not be as durable as its oil-based counterpart.

Natural Oil Finishes (e.g., Linseed, Tung Oil)


  • Penetrates deep into the wood, enhancing its grain and natural beauty.
  • Environmentally friendly with fewer chemicals.


  • Not as hard-wearing as polyurethanes.
  • Needs more frequent reapplication.

Hardwax Oils


  • Combination of natural oils and waxes.
  • Provides a natural matte finish.
  • Easy to repair and maintain.


  • Might require more maintenance than polyurethanes.
Finish for Your Sanded Floors

3. Factors to Consider When Choosing a Finish

Room Usage

For high-traffic areas like living rooms or hallways, opt for a durable finish like oil-based polyurethane. Bedrooms and other low-traffic areas can fare well with natural oils or hardwax oils.

Desired Look

If you prefer a shiny, glossy look, go for polyurethane finishes. For a more natural and matte appearance, natural oils or hardwax oils are ideal.

Environmental Concerns

Water-based polyurethanes and natural oil finishes are eco-friendlier options, emitting fewer VOCs.

Maintenance Level

Consider how often you’re willing to refinish your floors. If you want a low-maintenance option, polyurethanes, especially oil-based ones, are a good choice. If you don’t mind periodic touch-ups, natural oils or hard wax oils will suffice.

Finish for Your Sanded Floors

4. Application Tips

Whichever finish you opt for, remember:

  • Preparation is key. Ensure the floor is clean, free of dust, and properly sanded before applying the finish.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions: Each finish might have specific application methods to achieve the best results.
  • Ventilation: Always ensure the room is well-ventilated during and after application, especially if the finish has strong fumes.

5. Longevity and Durability Over Time

Another crucial aspect to consider when choosing the right finish for your sanded floors is the lifespan of the finish. Depending on your choice, some finishes can last decades, while others might require more frequent touch-ups.


Both oil-based and water-based polyurethanes are renowned for their longevity. With proper care, they can last between 10 and 15 years, depending on foot traffic and other factors. Their strong protective layer ensures the wood beneath remains unscathed for longer periods.

Natural Oils

These might need reapplication more often, usually every 2 to 5 years. However, one advantage is that spot repairs are more straightforward with natural oils, allowing homeowners to address specific problem areas without redoing the entire floor.

Hardwax Oils

Falling somewhere between polyurethanes and natural oils, hardwax oils might need maintenance every 5 to 8 years. Their unique blend ensures that the floor is protected while still allowing for easier spot repairs.

Finish for Your Sanded Floors

6. Health and Safety Considerations

When renovating a home, the health and safety of the inhabitants should always be paramount.

VOCs (volatile organic compounds)

As previously mentioned, finishes like oil-based polyurethane emit VOCs, which can affect indoor air quality. Prolonged exposure to high levels of VOCs can lead to health issues. If health and indoor air quality are top concerns, consider using finishes with low or no VOCs.

Slip Resistance

Especially crucial in homes with seniors or young children, the slip resistance of a finish can prevent potential accidents. Some finishes can be quite glossy and slippery, especially when wet. In such cases, there are additives or specific products available that can increase the slip resistance of your floor finish.

7. Cost Implications

Lastly, while it’s essential to focus on quality, one cannot ignore the cost implications of the chosen finish.

  • Upfront Costs: Generally, oil-based polyurethanes might be more expensive than water-based ones. Natural oils can vary in price, depending on their type and brand.
  • Maintenance Costs: While a finish like natural oil might be less expensive upfront, the potential need for more frequent reapplications can add up over time. On the other hand, the longer lifespan of polyurethanes might justify their initial cost.

When considering costs, it’s essential to factor in both the immediate expenses and the long-term maintenance and reapplication costs.

Finish for Your Sanded Floors

In Conclusion

Your floor is a significant aspect of your home, and its finish plays a vital role in its durability, look, and feel. While the plethora of choices might seem overwhelming, focusing on your needs, desired appearance, and maintenance preferences can help you make an informed decision.

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all. What might work for one homeowner might not work for another. Take your time, do your research, and soon enough, you’ll walk with pride on your beautifully finished sanded floor.

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