Polyurethane floor finishes are usually available in four different sheen levels, so how do you know which one is right for your situation?
First, what’s a sheen level? The finish’s sheen level affects the shininess of the wood. The glossier the finish, the more imperfections will show, like scratches and dents, as well as dust, dirt, and the like.
A finish’s sheen level is determined by measuring the amount of light that reflects off the floor at a 60-degree angle.
Here are the four different sheen levels, from least glossy to most glossy:
This is the least glossy kind of finish. It gives the floor a sort of “flat” or “dull” look because it doesn’t make the floor shiny.
Satin sheen is a popular choice for homeowners because it leaves the floor with a fair amount of shine—not too little, not too much.
Semi (or semi-gloss)
This sheen level gives the floor a nice amount of shine without making it look like a gym floor.
Glossy finishes are the typical choice for gym floors, bowling alleys, and other sports floors because they provide the over-the-top shiny look that these floors are known for. Glossy floors require frequent cleaning and refinishing because the shininess highlights imperfections.