Different finishing styles

Q: I am in the process of having my wood floors redone. I am getting different opinions about finishes from each refinisher that I have questioned. Some have recommended 2 coats of gloss for durability, and finish with a 3rd coat of semi-gloss.

Another refinisher said there is no difference in durability between gloss and semi-gloss. He insists that 3 coats of semi-gloss will be just as durable as 2 gloss, 1 semi. Who is right?

A: If you are talking about oil modified compared to water borne finishes, I always apply gloss first. It does seem to be a bit tougher. I say this because it is harder to buff down between coats than satin or semi. Besides that, gloss does not contain silica, which is used as a flattening agent. This flattening agent can cause grief to the coater at times, with streaking and mop stops. Gloss is harmless on that front.