Hardwood Floor Seals and Finishes

Surface finishes and penetrating seals are the two main types of hardwood floor finishes.

Surface finishes. Surface finishes, such as polyurethane coatings, represent a major technological advance that has revolutionized hardwood floor care and eliminated waxing. Hardwood floors coated with polyurethane are highly water resistant and wear resistant. As a result, hardwood floors have become popular in kitchens and eating areas. In addition to polyurethane, other similar synthetic coatings with different properties are available. Vacuuming, dusting, and occasional damp mopping (as needed) keep these floors looking their best.

Penetrating seals. Penetrating seal finishes are not water resistant and should not be used in kitchens or eating areas. An additional wax coating adds beauty and increases the wear resistance of these wood floors.

For long-term care, Oak Flooring Institute experts recommend recoating surface-finished floors and reconditioning and/or rewaxing sealed and waxed floors.