Choosing the right amount of shine for your hardwood floors

Deciding on a floor finish can sometimes be as hard as choosing a type of wood. You want to consider the drying time, the durability, how it will react with the wood species that you chose, and the environmental impacts. Just when you think you’ve considered it all, you have to figure out just how much sheen is right for your home. You think it’s just a matter of glossy or matte, but what about satin or semi-gloss? Let’s take it one hardwood flooring finish at a time.

Choosing the right sheen for your hardwood floors

Glossy hardwood floors are striking and elegant. Perfect for a large entry way.
Photo by © Hardwood Floors Magazine


The degree of sheen for each flooring finish is based on how much it will shine in the light. With a glossy finish, you can expect the highest level of sheen. A glossy finish creates a striking effect and is often used in grand entryways or a large ballroom. A glossy shine can be regal and expensive looking.

Be careful with using a glossy finish. If the room already has a lot of natural light, the effect of glossy can go from brilliant to blinding with a lot of light sources bouncing off of the high level of sheen.


If you want your floors to shine but you’re afraid that a full glossy finish will be a bit too dramatic, then reduce the level of sheen with a semi-gloss finish. The semi-gloss finish will just temper how much the light will reflect off of your floors. It’s like taming a wild horse without breaking its spirit.


Matte and satin wood floor finish

For rooms with a lot of natural light and natural looking hardwood floors, choose a satin or matte flooring finish.

If you have reclaimed wire brushes and distressed hardwood floors, you’re going to be better off with a satin or a matte finish. Since the more natural looking hardwood flooring styles will celebrate differences in each plank, including knots and holes that appear naturally in the wood, a satin finish is much better at hiding tiny imperfections. A satin finish will give your floors a smooth look, despite the rustic variances in each board. A glossy finish will make knots and holes stand out a lot more, so if you want to smooth out your natural looking floors, go for a satin gloss.


Some would say that a matte finish is too dull, but we see a big rise in the demand for matte flooring finishes. A matte finish will keep your floors looking as natural a state as possible, while still providing all the protection. If you’re going for a look like you just logged some planks yourself and laid them down on your floors, then a matte finish is what you’re looking for to give the appearance of au naturel hardwood floors.

Talk to an expert about your next hardwood flooring project

We’re one of the largest hardwood flooring retailers in Colorado. We carry the best brands in hardwood flooring and hardwood flooring finishes.

Schedule a free consultation at one of our showrooms in Denver and Evergreen.