Matte Hardwood Floor Finishes

Matte Hardwood Floor Finishes

by Jim Birch on October 26, 2011

Really low sheens on hardwood floors have been trending for the last couple years. What was once common place with penetrating oils and wood floor waxes, was replaced with higher shine floors when shellacs and polyurethanes were more commonly used on wood floor. These finishes were penetrating, which means that they sunk into the wood to protect it. They were replaced with hard coatings that slightly penetrated the wood (sealer), but mainly sat on top of the wood to provide more protection from scratching and denting.

These hard coatings, mainly Urethane Finishes, which come in oil and water based formulas, are technically all created Gloss when they are first manufactured. Flattening agents are added to these finishes to create lower sheens. Just one of the reasons why it is important to properly mix them while you are working.

While a super shiny floor looks great in magazines, and when they are brand new, the lower the sheen on a wood floor finish, the easier it is to live with. For years Satin finishes have out sold all Semi Gloss and Gloss finishes. Now, there is a new contender to reckon with.

Some manufactuers call them Flat and some call them Matte. Some add superlatives to them with names like Super Matte, and Extra Matte, but they are mainly in a range of sheen percentage far below satin. Lets look at some generalizations before we talk about product specifics. Most floor finish sheens are similar from brand to brand. I am going to generalize the percentage of sheens because what grit you sand the floor to, the thickness of each of the finish coats, and how many coats all affect the end result.

Percentage of Shine in a Hardwood Floor Finish

  • Gloss: 75% to 85% Shine
  • Semi Gloss: 45% to 55% Shine
  • Satin: 30% to 35% Shine
  • Matte: 15% to 20% Shine

We stock the following Floor Finishes in the lower Matte Sheens:

Basic Coatings




Dura Seal




{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Steve West December 1, 2012 at 7:53 pm

I am looking for a matte (low sheen) polyurethane to finish a gun stock. Are your flooring products suitable for outdoor use?


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