The days of having to wax and scrub your hardwood floors are pretty much gone forever. Manufacturers of pre-finished wood floors have developed sophisticated techniques to quickly apply hard, durable, urethane based finishes right at the factory. By using ultra violet lights the prefinished wood planks can have several coats of urethane applied within a matter of a few minutes. This is helping make hardwood floors both more affordable, and much easier to maintain. Recently, the hardwood flooring manufacturers have begun to add small chips of Aluminum Oxide directly to the floor's finish which dramatically increases the life of the urethane finish.
Most factory finished hardwood floors have several coats of finish applied to the wood's surface. As example, some wood floors are applying 6-10 coats of a ultra-violet (UV) cured urethane over the stained wood finish layer.
The job-site urethane finishes have been improved dramatically as well and will add years of performance to your wood floors.
This does not mean you should wash your floor with a wet mop, but it does mean that these wood floors won't watermark like the old waxed, strip wood floors. The the UV cured urethane wood finishes are extremely durable and much more abrasion resistant than waxed floors.
Factory Prefinished Hardwood Flooring
Wood floors that have been factory finished before they are installed.
UV-cured - these floors are finished at the factory and the polyurethane finish are cured with Ultra Violet lights instead of using heat.
Polyurethane - A clear, tough and durable finish that is applied as a wear layer.
Acrylic-urethane - Has a slightly different chemical make up than polyurethane, but with similar benefits.
Ceramic - Advanced finish technology that allows the use of space-age ceramics to increase the abrasion resistance of the wear layer.
Aluminum Oxide - particles added to the polyurethane finish to increase the abrasion resistance of the wear layer. This has become extremely popular on the better grades of hardwood floors.
Acrylic Impregnated - Acrylic monomers are injected into the cell structure of the wood to give increased hardness and then finished with a wear layer over the wood.
Note: With factory finished wood floors chances are your pre-finished wood trims and molding will not match your floor, rather they will be color cooordinated.
Job-site Finished Hardwood Flooring
Wood floor is installed, stained and finished at the job-site
A job-site finish means you start with a bare (unfinished) hardwood floor and than the wood floor is sanded, stained, and finished at the job-site. If you want a custom stained hardwood floor, or a wood floor to match existing trim than a job-site finish is your answer. The other advantage of a job-site finished floor is you eliminate height variations between planks. The professional sanding machines will smooth out the bare wood floor's surface.
Water Based Urethane - Water is used as part of the chemical make up of the polyurethane finish.
Solvent Based Urethane - Oil is used as part of the chemical make up of the polyurethane finish.
Moisture Cured Urethane - A similar chemical make up as solvent based urethanes but, this finish needs the humidity (moisture ) in the air to cure.
Note: Although contractors doing job-site installations go to extremes to prevent dust, some dust will work it's way into other areas of the home, or job-site.
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