Types of Finishes

The next thing to be knowledgeable about are the finishes offered. Below is a break down of the three types of urethane finishes: Oil-based polyurethanes, acid-cure oil-based urethanes (Swedish finish) and water-based urethanes. Remember, each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

  • Oil-based urethanes are inexpensive. They have an odor during application and are in the middle range on the durability chart. They also yellow rather quickly and do not hold up well to scratching.
  • The Swedish finish is the second-most durable finish. In addition, the cost is low for a high-end finish that is resistant to wear and scratches, easy to clean, and non-yellowing. The negative is the amount of odor during multi-day application and drying time.
  • Water-based urethanes come in a wide variety of durability–from the “builders’ grade” (lowest in durability) to the high-end “commercial grade (Bona Traffic), and everything in between. Bona Traffic is the most durable finish option, 10% more durable than the Swedish finish. It holds up well against harmful chemicals, and is very scratch and wear resistant. Bona Traffic is non-yellowing and very low in odor; however, it is also the most expensive option.