Applying the right finish for your hardwood floor offers two compelling benefits. It brings out the natural beauty of the wood, and it helps protect the wood from damage, dirt and moisture.
We highly recommend the hardwood flooring industry’s top line of floor finishes: Berger-Seidle. These German-made products set the standard for quality and durability. But before we get to particular products, let’s look at the types of finishes you can choose from.
There are two general categories of finishes: surface and penetrating.
This finish protects a floor from damage by forming a “shielding” layer on top of the wood. A clear layer of hard, plastic-like polyurethane is applied. (Varnish was commonly used before urethane finishes were introduced.) This layer protects the wood while allowing the color and grain of the wood to show through. Surface finishes are very durable and easy to maintain. Today, surface finishes are used on virtually all prefinished floors and on the majority of site-finished floors.
This oil and wax combination is one of the oldest types of finishes and still one of the best. Instead of acting as a protective layer on top of the wood, penetrating oil actually soaks into the wood fiber, while wax gives the floor’s surface a matte sheen and protects it against moisture such as spils of liquids. Periodicly wax has to be reapplied in the form of a maintenance product such as ‘Aqua- Satin Polish’. If you like to feel a wood’s grain as you slide your hand over it, and if you like a matte appearance, a penetrating finish can be a good choice.
Berger-Seidle Water-Based Products
Once you decide you want a surface finish rather than a penetrating surface, you can choose from several surfacing products, including water-based polyurethane, oil-based polyurethane and a Swedish finish. Online, we only offer water-based polyurethane because the other surface finishes are too hazardous to ship and should only be applied by professional hardwood flooring installers.
Over the past decade or so, this type of surface finish has become more and more popular. With technological improvements, it’s as durable and water resistant as an oil-based polyurethane finish. And it’s much easier to apply. When completed, the finish is crystal clear, and it won’t yellow with age.
Water is used as part of the polyurethane chemical makeup. So, as with water-based paint, clean up is done easily with soap and water. Usually, at least three coats are needed, but drying time is typically only 2-3 hours per coat.
Berger-Seidle AquaChoice® OmniGold
A mature, fast drying, one-component waterborne finish formulated for hardwood floor surfaces. It is the result of intensive research and development with polymerized acrylates and polyurethane dispersions. This, combined with years of field experience, has produced a smooth, easy-flow product with exceptional body and leveling. Engineered to serve as both a sealer and top coat system, OmniGold provides outstanding durability, excellent abrasion and chemical resistance in heavy traffic environments. OmniGold is ready to use, user-friendly, environmentally safe and ecologically balanced. Available in semi-gloss and matte.
Berger-Seidle AquaChoice® OmniSilver
A mature, fast drying, non-yellowing, one-component waterborne finish formulated for hardwood floor surfaces. OmniSilver was developed to function as both a sealer and top coat system. It provides excellent durability and performance. OmniSilver is ready to use, user-friendly and environmentally safe as a result of 25 years industry experience. Available in matte.
Berger-Seidle Penetrating Oil and Hard Wax
Years ago, this finish required a two-step process. The penetrating oil was applied first and then the hot wax was added. Today, the oil and wax are usually applied together using a single formula. If a wood is very porous, a first coat of oil can be applied by itself, followed by the oil/wax formula.
Berger-Seidle Classic® 100ProOil
Environmentally friendly impregnation oil for wooden floors based on refined vegetable oils and waxes. With a solid content of 98%, Classic 100ProOil is a top product within its category. Coloring is possible with Classic BaseOil Color as first coat. Dry time, 12 hours. Cure time, 10 days. This product is 100% natural and qualifies as ‘Solvent-Free’
Berger-Seidle Classic® BaseOil
High-Solid, environmentally friendly impregnation oil for wooden floors that provides deep penetration. Based on native oils. Beside the colorless oil, pigmented variants are provided to coloristically style the floor. This product can be overcoated with other Berger-Seidle products. In case the wood’s openpore character shall be kept, the floor can be treated a second time with Classic BaseOil or, alternatively, with Classic 100ProOil. Dry time, 1 day. Cure time, 10 days.
You’ll also need to choose the sheen for your floor’s finish. Sheen refers to how shiny your floor will be. You can choose very low gloss matte, medium shiny semi-gloss or very shiny high gloss. The two most popular sheens are matte and semi-gloss.
If you want a soft, low luster look for your floor, choose a matte. The natural beauty of the wood grain will show through, and the floor will reflect a minimal shine from outside sunshine and inside lights. Because there will be a low luster, imperfections in the floor will be masked to a great extent.
For many people, a semi-gloss is very practical compromise. Its medium shine offers a clearer reflection than matte does, and yet still masks imperfections in the floor.
High-gloss dries to an attractive, very reflective surface. But we don’t offer high gloss because it exaggerates the look of any damage done to the floor either before or after the floor is installed. Dents, gouges and scratches are not only apparent, but repairs can’t be made without refinishing the entire floor.