Difference between satin, semi gloss, and gloss?

Q: I’m a flooring installer. I do lots of tile and pre-finished wood flooring, but never sand and finish. I have a good friend doing the sanding as it’s his expertise, but I’m going to finish it. I’m trying to find out what I should use for the finish. I want to see the difference between satin, semi-gloss, and gloss.

Any instructive sites you can think of? What would you do? The wood is American Cherry. There is not a lot of natural sunlight, but lots of can lights. Any suggestions are appreciated.

A: You should be able to walk into any local hardwood retailer and see the difference between the sheens on an actual piece of wood. Can lights are unforgiving and will tend to reveal scratches when doing inter-coat buffing. The lower the sheen the better. I would recommend satin as the final coat. I’ve been using Poloplaz Primero for more than a year and it is the best oil based polyurethane I’ve ever used.

You could first apply a coat of their Fast Dry Sanding Sealer which is a fairly high solids polyurethane sealer. It penetrates the wood very well and generally dries much faster than polyurethane itself. Give that a light buff the next day with a 3M maroon pad. Then apply a coat of Primero hi gloss. When dry, buff it as you did the fast dry. You might use 180 grit sandpaper strips on the pad as well.

Finally, apply a coat of Primero Satin. All these products roll on very nicely. A cautionary note: try to get back to them the next day or you will have to use a rougher screen to abrade them.

Gloss, satin, or semi-gloss?

Q imported from our old site, Face Lift Floors: Some installers have said the semi-gloss in the Bona Traffic is comparable to an oil based poly in satin and that the Bona Traffic in Satin is very dull looking and might not be as good on a red oak floor. We are going with natural color. I have not seen either sheen in person and need help on which sheen I should choose.

A: That is really a personal choice. The refinishers should have some samples to show you to help decide. This is really not something that can be done by email.

Original / moved link https://faceliftfloors.com/q-and-a/sheen.php