When it comes to finishing a hardwood floor, gloss and semi-gloss have been the reigning champions for years. The choice for many homeowners has been between those two choices. Gloss is shiny and, when polished regularly, can look almost wet. Semi-gloss is shiny but not quite as ostentatious. Glossy is a way of making a statement; semi-gloss is sort of the standard look. However, that has been changing. Satin and matte are some of the most popular choices for new floors. There are reasons for that.
For the most part, homeowners are choose satin and matte finishes for aesthetic reasons. Matte finishes look very good with distressed wood or with reclaimed wood. They also look great with a rustic look. A rustic, cabin look doesn’t quite lend itself to the highly polished look of gloss or semi-gloss. Satin finishes are not quite as flat as a matte finish. So, they could be something of a middle ground.
Satin and matte finishes lend themselves very well to dark floors as well. Dark floors are trending in popularity. To capitalize on that, you could choose a matte finish for a gray or a whitewashed floor. That will give your floor a very 18th and 19th century look. Oftentimes, those floors were finished with wax or oil that breaks down over time. That’s why they often look unfinished or flat.
Homeowners are also choosing satin and matte for practical reasons. When your floor gets dirty, the dirt obscures some of the reflectiveness of the floor. That disruption is partially why your floor looks dusty when it is. Scratches do the same thing. Scratches from chair legs, dog claws, and other sources will mute a glossy finish. That is why a floor that is significantly scratched looks cloudy.
Satin and matte finishes don’t suffer from those conditions to nearly that extent. Matte finishes are already muted in terms of reflectiveness. So, dust and dirt won’t stand out very much. That’s not to say you’ll never need to clean your floor; obviously, you will have to keep it clean, but it won’t be as noticeable in between sweepings.
Scratches don’t show up as prominently either. Homeowners with dogs and cats are choosing satin and matte finishes so that they can go a little bit longer before they feel the need to refinish the floor. These practical and aesthetic reasons are credited for the surge in flatter hardwood floor polishes.