Different types of flooring finishes

Different types of flooring finishes

When you redo any flooring in your home, one of the final steps of the process is choosing which floor finish you would like. To make sure you know exactly which finish is the one for you, we’ve written this handy guide to give you all the insider knowledge on which finishes work best on different flooring types, what the different types of flooring finishes are, and which one will be best for you.

Floor stains and finishes

So, to begin with, let’s nail down exactly what we mean by ‘flooring finishes’ – the finish on your flooring is the final layer that is applied on top of your flooring, like a thin varnish coat, to give it different appearances and to protect it against a variety of irritants. So, for example, with wooden flooring, you may apply a finish that makes it look highly polished (so you don’t have to polish it all the time) that will also add a layer of water resistance too.

Types of floor finishes

There are several different types of flooring finishes to choose from, but your first concern should be choosing the right finish for the flooring type you have in your home - laminate flooring or solid wood flooring. Check out some of the options you can choose from:

Types of wooden flooring finishes

With wooden flooring, there are three main finishes that are most common to use:

  • Natural oil finish - Natural oil finishes are the most traditional treatment for solid wood floors, giving them a classic and natural appearance. In general, the oil finishes need to be reapplied more often than lacquer, but it’s a pretty easy process. Oiled floors will offer less protection against sunlight than lacquered floors, and they change colour quicker too.
  • Matte lacquer finish – Matte lacquers will absorb light much more than oil or satin finishes, giving them more of a dull appearance as it stops any glare from happening. Matte finishes are great for busy areas as they are the best option for hiding small imperfections and marks. It provides more of a contemporary look and is very easy to maintain.
  • Satin lacquer finish – This medium-shine finish does exactly what it says on the tin – it creates a glossy, durable layer on top of your wooden floors that makes it look elegant and classic. This flooring finish also doesn’t require as much upkeep as oiled flooring but will show marks more quickly than the matte finish.
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Types of laminate flooring finishes

When it comes to laminate flooring, it’s important to note that most flooring sold will already come with a finish applied because this is how laminate is made – you can find out more about that in our 'what is laminate flooring' guide.  So, when you choose new flooring, you will be able to choose between a variety of finishes instore:

  • Glossy finish - The glossy finish has a high-shine effect and makes your floors look highly polished for years to come.
  • Embossed finish – Choose between embossed and embossed in register - the embossed finish can replicate the look and feel of wood, so you can have expensive-looking flooring without the cost of splashing out on the real deal. Embossed in register follows the design underneath exactly so that each knot can be felt realistically.
  • Matte finish – The matte finish absorbs the light that comes into your room to create more of a muted glow rather than the high shine of the gloss effect, which is very modern and can be seen in many contemporary homes. 
  • Natural wood finish – the natural wood finish replicates the effect of bare, unfinished wood for a natural and organic look. We have lots of natural looking laminates, but these will always have a surface coating that will provide a sheen.

Luckily, here at Tapi, you can speak to one of our knowledgeable floorologists at your local Tapi store to make sure you know exactly what type of finish you’d like on your flooring – we’ll never let you choose the wrong flooring finish. 

Here at Tapi, we recommend that you don’t attempt to varnish, finish, or seal your newly installed floors, as our flooring already comes ready to go with finishes and in your chosen varnish. What you can do is book a home visit with one of our team to come out to your home and see what changes you’d like to make, or even to get recommendations of the different flooring finishes you might want to choose from for a new project.


Natural stone, concrete and tiles can be left unfinished if you love the natural look of them, but this will leave them unprotected from some of life’s stains and spills. As with wooden flooring, there are a few different options you can choose from if you want to seal and protect your tiled flooring for the future:

  • Sealant – Different sealants are available that will provide a protective layer over any stone or tile in your home, without creating a different effect – it’s basically just putting a clear layer over the top. This is especially useful in areas like fireplaces where you want to protect the stone or tile from soot and sparks.
  • Gloss finish – Gloss finish will leave your tiles looking shiny and well-polished, which is great for more traditional homes or bathrooms.
  • Matte finish – The matte finish will absorb light and means the stone can be seen

Best types of flooring finishes

There are lots of different types of flooring finishes available to purchase, and the best finish will be one that you are confident you will love and that fits into your budget and home aesthetic. As we mentioned before, speaking to a flooring expert will be the best way to ensure that you get the finish that is best for your flooring type and the effect that you would like it to have in your home.

Contact Tapi today to speak to one of our flooring experts and even take a browse of the different laminate, engineered wood and vinyl tile options we have to help you make up your mind.

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Published: 19-08-2022