If you decide to stain your floor rather than leave it natural, you’ll need to pick a tone; Staining your hardwood floor can add another dimension to the overall look of your floors. It’s important to remember that wood stains are different from wood finishes. Hardwood floor stains alter the color of the natural wood while adding additional highlights to the wood grain patterns in your floor. After a floor is properly stained, it will need a protective top coat to seal and protect the floor from daily life—this is where a wood finish is used. Bona’s Drifast Stain Collection offers a range of color options that you can use alone or with a combination of stains to create your own custom look. Some of the benefits the Bona Drifast Stain Collection include a 2 hour dry time for most colors, low odor, and easy touch-ups.

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Bona Drifast Stain Chart


Next, it’s time to select a finish. There are two main types: oil-and water-based, both of which are available in matte, satin, semigloss, and gloss sheens. Oil-based versions will make the wood grow richer and darker in color with age. Each coat takes five to 12 hours to dry. Most water-based coatings dry clear—so the wood retains its original color—and often in less than an hour; they are applied in thinner layers than oil finishes, so they will require more coats. Since they are more scratch-resistant than their oil-based counterparts, they are ideal for pet owners. Water-based coatings also tend to be lower in volatile organic compounds (VOCs)—toxins that can adversely affect your health. As with oil-based finishes, they off-gas (emit VOCs), but since this happens only during the drying and curing phase, they do so for a shorter period of time.

Finish Sheens

There are different sheen options in the finish (i.e. shininess). You can choose from Matte, Satin, Semi-Gloss, and Gloss. “Matte” finishes offer a very small amount of shine and appeal to homeowners that seek a natural, clean feel to their home. Matte finishes will hide scratches, dirt and other imperfections much better than glossy floors. Finally, Matte finishes are more child- and pet-friendly than high-gloss finishes because they don’t show as much dust, dirt, or footprints. On the other hand, glossy finishes can give that “wow” factor and look impressive! “Satin” is a popular choice for homeowners. It has a slight matte appearance but still offers a bit of shine. It has a silky look, is easy to maintain, and has a wonderful ability to “hide” small surface scratches and scuffs. “Semi-Gloss” is less shiny than Gloss but still maintains a fair amount of shine. Many homeowners choose semi-gloss for its mix of shine and maintainability. “Gloss” will offer the shiniest sheen and gives a glossy, almost “wet” looking appearance. Homeowners like the high-end appearance of Gloss, however, Gloss is harder to maintain because it shows dust, scratches and scuffs more easily.

Floor Finish Comparisons: Gloss, Matte, Satin, & Semi-Gloss
living room hardwood floors


Matte has around 25% luster. A Matte finish has little sheen and gives a clean look. Hides scratches and other imperfections better than Gloss floors.

satin hardwood floor


Satin has around 40% luster. A Satin sheen level is preferred on all shades of hardwood from dark to light and everything in between.

semigloss on hardwood flooring


Semi-gloss has around 55% luster. For those that prefer shinier finishes, this is a good option. It’s shinier but not quite as shiny as a Gloss finish.

glossy hardwood floor


Gloss has around 70% luster. Highest gloss of the 4 types of flooring. Reflects light very well. Harder to maintain as it shows dust, scratches and scuffs more.

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