Understanding Wood Floor Finishes
By using ultra violet lights manufacturers can quickly apply several coats of urethane finish. This process is called UV-cured urethane. As example, some manufacturers are applying 6-10 coats of UV-cured urethane. In addition, many manufacturers now add small chips of Aluminum Oxide directly into the floor's finish which dramatically increases the life of the floor.
This does not mean you should wash your floor with a wet mop, but it does mean that these wood floors won't watermark like the old waxed, strip wood floors. The the UV cured urethane wood finishes are extremely durable and much more abrasion resistant than waxed floors.
Factory Pre-finished Hardwood Floors
Wood floors that have been factory finished before they are installed.
UV-cured - Factory finishes that are cured with Ultra Violet lights versus heat.
Polyurethane - A clear, tough and durable finish that is applied as the wear layer.
Acrylic-urethane - A slightly different chemical make up than polyurethane but with the same benefits.
Ceramic - Advanced technology that allows the use of space-age ceramics to increase the abrasion resistance of the wear layer. See Award Hardwood Floors WearMax finish.
Aluminum Oxide - Chips added into the urethane finish for increased abrasion resistance of the wear layer. Extremely popular on the better grade hardwood floors.
Acrylic Impregnated - Acrylic monomers are injected into the wood cell structure to give increased hardness and then also applied on top of the planks.
Note: With factory finished wood floors chances are your pre-finished wood trims and molding will not match your floor, rather they will be color cooordinated.
Job-site Finished Hardwood Flooring
Wood floor is installed, stained and finished at the job-site
Job-site finish means you start with a unfinished wood floor and then the floor is sanded, stained, and finished on the job site. If you want a custom stained wood floor, or a wood floor to match existing trim than a job-site finish is your answer. Another advantage of a job-site finished floor is if you are concerned with height variations between the boards the sanding process will totally smooth out the unevenness.
The urethane finishes used on job-sites have been improved dramatically over the years and offer a much better performance.
Water Based Urethane - Water is used as part of the chemical make up of the polyurethane finish.
Solvent Based Urethane - Oil is used as part of the chemical make up of the polyurethane finish.
Moisture Cured Urethane - A similar chemical make up as solvent based urethanes but, this finish needs the humidity (moisture) in the air to cure.
Note: Although contractors doing job-site installations go to extremes to prevent dust, some dust will work it's way into other areas of the home.