Hardwood Flooring: Finishes

The sheen, or finish of a floor is not only esthetic; it also determines how much light is reflected off the floor. If you want a shiny floor, you should choose a finish that is highly reflective. On the other hand, if you want a less shiny floor, you need a finish is less reflective. 

To better identify the types of finishes, here are the three major categories: 


This type of finish absorbs very little light. This is why it is so shiny, which makes dust, dirt and imperfections more obvious. The nuances in wood are typically very apparent with this type of finish, because it enhances colours. 


A satin finish gives the floor a discreet silkiness. It is the middle ground between semi-gloss and matte finishes. More specifically, this means that it has a shine like a semi-gloss finish but doesn’t show wear marks as much as a matte finish. What’s more, satin floors are usually easier to maintain.


This is the least shiny finish due to its high light absorption. There is no shine, which makes for a velvety finish. There is also a textured version of this finish called brushed matte. The difference between the two is only the texture of the brushed finish.