Hardwood Floor Finish- Scratching the Surface
Possibly the most common question I get from customers is “will these floors scratch?”.
Of course, the answer is a big fat yes. Keep in mind that even concrete will scratch if enough pressure is placed on a fine enough point. That said, a good quality finish can go a long way to prevent/minimize scratches. The challenge here is to ensure the customer has the proper expectation for the product. It may very well be that a laminate or stone product is better suited for their application.
When considering prefinished hardwood floors it is important to remember that a factory finished floor is generally much stronger than a floor finished onsite. The reason is that most factory finished floors contain a layer of aluminum oxide which adds strength. This component cannot be added to a site finished floor. One negative to aluminum oxide is that if it does scratch it scratches in a light white color. This will be more noticeable on a dark floor. It also happens to be easier to do a greater number of coats with a factory finished floor. Most factory finished floors have between 7-10 coats. Just imagine the additional cost and inconvenience to the home owner doing this onsite!
There also seems to be a little confusion surrounding Finish Warranties. No manufacturer will promise that a finish cannot be scratched. When a warranty of 25 years is extended, it means that the finish will not wear through due to general wear and tear for 25 years. You know in old homes where the high traffic areas like the front entrance or right in front of the stove are worn down right to the raw wood? This is what the manufacture is assuring will not happen in those 25 years. They are not suggesting your 100 lbs dog will not scratch the floors.
Having said all that, the best way to ensure that you are comfortable with the strength of any finish product is to order a sample and put it to the test.
A set of keys is an old favorite.