Hardwood flooring is an investment that adds value, durability, and elegance to your home. That is why you need to pay close attention to every detail, including the colour, texture and feel of the finished flooring. The term sheen, also called lustre or gloss, is used to describe the light- reflecting property of a particular surface and has a huge impact on how the finished space will look. But more often than not, people do not understand its importance.
Here we will explain the different types of sheen and their impact on the overall appearance of your wooden floor.
Choosing the Best Sheen for Your Hardwood Floor- Matte, Satin, Flat or Semi-Gloss
Whether you want exotic hardwood or domestic products, you will have plenty of choices when figuring out the right hardwood flooring for your home. Interestingly, the sheen level varies for different types of wood species, owing to the natural wood colour or patina, and the texture. There is a previous post of ours if you want to learn about the best type of hardwood species.
Just like the colour of the product, the level of shine also determines the look of the room. Therefore, not paying attention to it can stop your renovation vision from materializing.
Importance of Sheen
In simple words, the sheen is the amount of reflection that a finish produces. The intensity level of the sheen will determine the amount of light bouncing off of the surface. A higher level of gloss or sheen means that the floor will reflect more light, while a matte will have none and can be considered to be of the lowest sheen.
Selecting the level, however, is more of a personal aesthetic choice and does not affect the durability of the product as such. But the glossier surfaces will reflect more light making it easier to notice its imperfections and the dust and dirt accumulations.
Why Finishing Is Essential?
Once your floor starts to get old, the appearance can become dull with traffic patterns being disturbingly noticeable. You can avoid this and prolong the lustre of the floor by applying some finishing to it.
A gloss meter is used for measuring the sheen of the floor. It is positioned at a 60° angle because that is how the surface appears to us when we remain standing. The gloss level is calculated by the reflection amount from the finish. The gloss meter is used to compare the calculated value to the refractive index of the black glass which is 100 “gloss units” and is considered to be the standard for measuring sheen level.
Higher Gloss vs Lower Gloss
The higher level makes the floor slippery, but they are very popular in countless public properties in North America. A higher level of sheen is perfect for your dining room, library, study room and bedroom for a better detailing and display of drama. The wood grains are more defined in this type of finish and make the darker stains look more glamorous. But they can get damaged easily too. That is the reason that you need to avoid this for the high-traffic areas of your home, such as the hallway or living space. As mentioned earlier, any imperfection becomes easily visible on this type of surfaces, so they require more maintenance.
On the other hand, lower gloss strength ideally hides the imperfections. Semi-gloss sheen is perfect if you want the elegant appearance of higher gloss but want it to last longer. Usually, you can find the gloss strength mentioned in the product specification.
Simply stated, for a more dramatic appearance, choose high gloss, while for busier areas select products that are low on maintenance.
Different Types of Hardwood Floor Sheen
As you can see, having lower shine is the more practical choice and is aimed at households especially with kids and pets around. Satin and semi-gloss sheen are very popular, but there are other types available too.
These finishes are within the range of 10-25% gloss and are perfect for any high-traffic areas. Matte sheen, much like the Deerwood-Maple-Smoked Oyster flooring, reflects very light and is very helpful in hiding those embarrassing scratch marks and dirt. Maintaining them is pretty easy too. These are perfect for a casual setting, or country themed décor while also achieving a certain casual sophistication of the Scandinavian styled flooring.
The most popular choice on the list, satin remains within the 35-40% gloss range. They produce the classic feel of the higher gloss while being as low maintenance as matte. Easy to clean, it can maintain the youthful appearance of your floor longer. It does not reflect much light either and works perfectly as a backdrop to your interior décor. However, this type is not suitable for a wire brushed floor but can be applied to hand-scrapped ones.
With about 55% lustre, the semi-gloss is perfect for those who prefer a bit of shinier appearance to their flooring. It is the most practical choice within the higher gloss range, even though there are ones which are more reflective. Since higher gloss is not the best choice for spaces that are used more often, products like the semi-gloss Wickham-Maple-Cherry can be a solution for you.
It works perfectly for the sleek spaces of your home, like kitchens or dining areas where there is water nearby. Again, it does not go well with wire brushed or hand scrapped hardwood surfaces.
If even after following these tips, you do not like the finishing of your hardwood floor, then there is no need to fret. Adding a layer of polyurethane can solve your problem, especially if your product is site-finished. This method is basically known as “screen and recoat” and an expert in the hardwood flooring industry can guide you on this. Now, you can easily switch from semi-gloss finish to satin and vice versa and get the shine and lustre that you desire.