Matte top coat

Q: What type of top coat do you recommend on hard maple flooring? We already have two coats of gloss; however, our contractor stated that he will apply a finishing top coat when all other work has been completed in our new construction home.

The contractor recommended matte finish. What are the differences between the finishes?

A: I typically apply the first and often the second coat as a gloss finish. After that, the homeowner can have their choice. This has nothing to do with hardness. Everything below a gloss finish uses a flattener that removes the shine. I have found at times that these flatteners cause problems in coating, so I use gloss first.

Matte is dead flat. Satin looks more like a wax lustre. Semi is slightly more shiny and then there is gloss. The more shiny a finish is, the more it will show any sort of mark. Semi, satin and matte will hide imperfections, and for the most part are warmer looking. Most if not all factory finished floors come with semi or satin finish coatings.

Related Q: I put Minwax Ulitimate Hardwood Floor Finish on. It’s water based. After 2 coats of semi gloss my wife and I want to switch to satin. It’s on knotty pine. Is this possible?

A: I know of no reason you will have any problem switching to a lower shine. They only add more flattening agent in satin. You likely will need to stir it well.