While you were sleeping – A shift happened - The Shift to Low Gloss Finishes

While you were sleeping the market changed. A shift in the market from glossy smooth finished hardwood, and rustic handscraped hardwood has changed to floors with low gloss finishes that reflects a broader trend in interior design towards more natural and understated looks that require less upkeep and gracefully mask the signs of daily life.

Flooring by Metro Flooring

Low gloss finishes have gained popularity in hardwood flooring for several reasons:

  • Practicality: They are more practical, especially for households with kids and pets, as they help hide the normal wear and tear from walking, chair movements, toys, and high heels.
  • Maintenance: Low gloss finishes show scratches, imperfections, and dirt less, making them easier to clean and maintain.
  • Aesthetic: They provide a modern yet timeless look that complements various architectural and design styles.
  • Less Reflective: They show footprints and smudges less due to their lower luster, which is particularly beneficial in high-traffic areas.
  • Trend: There has been a trend towards more natural-looking finishes that resemble European oil-rubbed finishes, which low gloss options often emulate.


When these products were first introduced the only way to achieve the super low gloss look was with an oil finish, but as they have gotten more popular most of the market has changed to urethane finished low gloss floors. The difference between an oil and a urethane finish for hardwood floors primarily lies in how they interact with the wood and the level of protection they offer.

Oil Finish:

  • Penetrates the Wood: An oil finish soaks into the wood, fortifying and sealing each fiber
  • Natural Look: Floors with an oil finish tend to look more natural and can become more beautiful with age.
  • Maintenance: It requires more maintenance but allows for easier spot repairs since the finish is part of the wood.

Urethane Finish:

  • Creates a Protective Layer: Urethane forms a plastic-like barrier on top of the wood.
  • Durability: Known for its durability and resistance to wear, making it a common choice for high-traffic areas.
  • Less Maintenance: Generally easier to clean and maintain, but harder to repair if the finish is damaged.


Basically, oil finishes are integrated into the wood, enhancing its natural features and allowing for easy local repairs, but they may require more upkeep. Urethane finishes provide a strong protective layer that’s easy to maintain but can be more challenging to repair if deeply scratched or gouged. Your choice will depend on the desired aesthetic, the expected foot traffic, and how much maintenance you’re willing to perform. Metro Flooring carries them both, and is happy to help you on your next hardwood project. Visit us today!