Oil Finish Versus Urethane Finish With Aluminum Oxide: Which Should I Choose For My Hardwood Floors?

Hardwood flooring boasts several impressive benefits for homeowners searching for the perfect flooring. More than just incredibly attractive, which hardwood assuredly is, it is also quite durable and easy to maintain. When homeowners opt for hardwood flooring, they are installing something that will provide them an excellent return on investment that will continue to look great and function well, even as the years pass. 

For homeowners considering which finish to put on their hardwood flooring, there are two excellent choices of which they can select: urethane finish w/ aluminum oxide or an oil finish. While there are pros and cons to each, your selection will ultimately depend on your priorities regarding your hardwood flooring. This blog post will explain the advantages and disadvantages of each to best help you decide. 

Urethane Finish With Aluminum Oxide

Typically, a prefinished hardwood floor will have a urethane finish. During manufacturing, aluminum oxide crystals are suspended in the urethane, which serves as a scratch inhibitor when the hardwood is installed in your home. “Inhibitor” is the operative word as hardwood floors with a urethane finish are not scratch-proof as some mistakenly assume. Hardwood floors with high high-gloss levels, and a urethane finish, may show more visible scratches, which can cause concern for pet owners or families with young children. If scratches concern you, you may want to consider a low gloss level or oil finish floor. More on that later.  

Of course, that’s not to say that hardwood floors with a urethane finish do not have several advantages. The pros of urethane finish hardwood floors include:

  • General ease of maintenance
  • Simplicity in cleaning. Wood floor cleaners, like Bona Kemi, need only be applied with a terry cloth mop to keep your urethane-finished hardwoods looking great
  • It’s an attractive and trendy look 
  • There is a wide range of variable gloss levels available 

Prefinished Hardwood With An Oil Finish

These days, it is not uncommon for premium hardwood floors to be manufactured with an oil finish rather than urethane. One of the core differences between the two types of finish is that as oil-finished hardwood floors age, they patina, becoming even more beautiful as the years pass, providing a desirable “matte” look for the homeowner. While, in recent years, manufacturers have made strides with urethane finishes, accomplishing a similar “matte look” to that of oil, most would argue that urethane finish doesn’t quite provide that authentic matte appearance. 

When cleaning an oil-finished hardwood floor, you should not use Bona Kemi or regular hardwood floor cleaner on an oil-finished hardwood. Instead, use a refresher such as Woca. At Roberts Carpet & Fine Floors, we recommend using a refresher after installation and upkeep, applying every 12-24 months or as needed. When an oil-finished hardwood floor scratches, we recommend rubbing in the refresher to lessen the visibility. It’s a relatively straightforward process but one you will need to engage in from time to time.  

The advantages of an oil finish hardwood floor are as follows:

  • It becomes more attractive as it ages
  • When scratches occur, they are much harder to see than with urethane finish hardwood floors, making oil a solid option for those with pets
  • It provides that sought-after matte-finish look and is quite attractive
  • Oil finish is also relatively low-maintenance, especially in comparison to other types of flooring

Whether you select a urethane finish with aluminum oxide or an oil finish for your hardwood flooring, the choice is up to you. Both offer tremendous advantages when it comes to your hardwood flooring. Hardwood is a beautiful flooring option and one that will look fantastic and function incredibly well within your home. No matter what your desired type of hardwood finish is, the team at Roberts Carpets is here to help answer any questions that you might have about hardwood flooring. Come and see us at one of our 9 locations to browse our hardwood collection and other fantastic flooring materials, or contact us today!