Whether you are about to embark on a major remodeling or reconstruction project on your Bay Area home, or you are planning a simple refinishing job in preparation to sell your unit or home, you have choices galore to make. Famed psychologist Barry Schwartz points out in his book, The Paradox of Choice, that when consumers are presented with too many choices, their minds do the equivalent of a pinball table “tilt.” Our brains get overloaded with choices, and we suffer analysis paralysis, dissatisfaction, and frustration.

To simplify the process, it’s helpful to search for “good enough” solutions instead of “best possible” solutions. All well and good. But if you are remodeling, and you need a finish for your hardwood floors, what are some “good enough” — or, rather, “great enough” — solutions?

Here are two excellent choices:


This is an oil-based finish. It is one of the most common surface finishes. It provides a rich, deep, textured appearance – possibly the most robust of all the major finishing options. It is also a cost-effective solution. You get great looks without eviscerating your wallet.


This is a Swedish finish, and many experts believe it’s the most durable finish out there. Waterborne finish dries fast, resists yellowing, and offers a clear, light, durable alternative. Environmentally conscious remodelers will enjoy the “greenness” of this option. On the other hand, Waterborne costs a little more than the typical polyurethane.

Making the right choice

Factors that can influence your choice include:

• your budget,
• how much it matters to you to employ “green” compounds,
• the extent of the remodeling job,
• the amount of wear and tear you anticipate that your floor will experience,
• your personal aesthetic,
• whether you want to do the job DIY or hire a professional company,
• whether you are planning to sell your home or live in it for a long time.


Fortunately, you don’t have to make all these momentous decisions on your own in a vacuum. The professionals here at Elegant Floors can guide you and help you avoid making bad decisions. Find out more about the leaders in San Francisco Bay Area floor finishing, installation, and cleaning at www.elegant-floors.com or 650-961-1339.


Polyurethane versus Waterborne Hardwood Flooring Finishes: Which to Choose?
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