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  • Writer's pictureJhon Jair Grisales

The Science of Stains: How Different Finishes Affect Hardwood Floors

When it comes to finishing your hardwood floors, you're faced with an array of options, each with its own unique properties and visual effects. The finish you choose not only affects the appearance of your floors but also their durability and maintenance requirements. In this blog post, we delve into the science of stains and finishes, exploring how different choices can impact your hardwood floors.

For expert guidance on selecting the perfect finish for your floors, contact Benjamin Floors at 973.885.4791 or visit

Understanding the Finish

Before we explore how different finishes affect hardwood floors, let's understand what a finish is and what it does:

A finish is a protective coating applied to the surface of hardwood floors. It serves several purposes:

  1. Protection: It forms a barrier that shields the wood from wear and tear, stains, and moisture.

  2. Enhancement: It enhances the wood's natural beauty, depth, and color, creating a stunning visual effect.

  3. Maintenance: The type of finish you choose can affect how you clean and maintain your floors.

Now, let's examine some common hardwood floor finishes and their impacts:

1. Oil-Based Finishes


  • Oil-based finishes are absorbed into the wood, enhancing its natural color and grain.

  • They create a warm, matte sheen.

  • These finishes tend to highlight the wood's natural imperfections.


  • Enhances the natural beauty of the wood.

  • Provides a classic, rustic appearance.

  • Requires more frequent maintenance due to the matte finish's susceptibility to scratches and wear.

2. Water-Based Finishes


  • Water-based finishes are clear and dry quickly, resulting in a slightly glossy appearance.

  • They have a low VOC (volatile organic compounds) content, making them more environmentally friendly.

  • Water-based finishes are known for their durability.


  • Offer a more modern, clean look.

  • Maintain the wood's natural color without yellowing over time.

  • Require less maintenance and are more resistant to wear and tear.

3. Polyurethane Finishes


  • Polyurethane finishes are available in both water-based and oil-based forms.

  • They create a high-gloss, protective layer on the wood.

  • Extremely durable and resistant to moisture, making them suitable for high-traffic areas.


  • Provide a glossy, polished appearance.

  • Offer exceptional protection against stains, scratches, and moisture.

  • Require minimal maintenance but may need professional refinishing when they do show wear.

4. Wax Finishes


  • Wax finishes penetrate the wood, creating a soft, low-sheen appearance.

  • They give the wood a warm, rustic look.

  • Wax finishes require regular reapplication.


  • Create a traditional, hand-rubbed appearance.

  • Require more maintenance due to their susceptibility to wear and moisture.

Choosing the Right Finish

The choice of finish ultimately depends on your aesthetic preferences, maintenance habits, and the level of durability you require. Each finish has its unique qualities, and understanding the science behind them can help you make an informed decision. Whether you prefer the classic warmth of oil-based finishes or the modern durability of water-based or polyurethane finishes, Benjamin Floors is here to assist you in achieving the perfect finish for your hardwood floors.

Contact us at 973.885.4791 or visit to explore your options and schedule a consultation. Let's give your floors the protection and beauty they deserve!

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