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Flooring is expensive and can cost several dollars per square foot to install. Floor finishes, on the other hand, cost less than a penny per square foot and will protect floors from wear and abuse. As the saying goes, spend a penny (on finish), save a dollar (in damage and replacement costs).

Choosing the right floor finish for your facility program is the first step to creating and maintaining beautiful floors. Like the familiar 4 C’s used to characterize a diamond, floor finishes have attributes you can use to help evaluate and choose the right finish.

  1. Gloss. The shine or gloss on resilient floors increases with each coat of finish you apply. Certain finishes have higher initial gloss than others.

  2. Hardness. Some finishes are more scratch and mark resistant than others.

  3. Durability. This is a measure of how much foot traffic and other abuse a floor can withstand while still maintaining its shine and appearance.

  4. Solids Content. The percent of solids in a floor finish formula indicates how much finish will remain on the floor after it dries. Finishes with higher solids content offer the benefit of labor savings because they require fewer coats.

The above characteristics vary from finish to finish and brand to brand. A finish with an extremely high initial gloss may not be as durable, respond as well to buffing/burnishing, or be as scratch resistant as a finish with a lower initial gloss. On the other hand, a finish with extreme durability may not have a high initial gloss. This Floor Finishes 101 Guide by Nyco Products Company shows a comprehensive list of floor finish attributes you may want to evaluate.

Consider the type of flooring you have. Most finishes are intended for use on specific types of flooring substrates such as vinyl, VCT, linoleum, quarry tile, stone or brick. Select your finish appropriately.

Certain building such as those with LEED Green certification require the use of Green Certified finishes. If this is the case, your choices will be limited to finishes that meet these specifications, which may include VOC level considerations and exclusion of heavy metals.

Finishes must also be properly matched with the type equipment maintenance procedures in your program, like cleaning and buffing.


All finishes look better and last longer when matched with automatic cleaning equipment. An investment in automatic equipment will increase productivity, improve appearance levels, and reduce labor. However, if you are cleaning manually, choose a finish that is considered hard.

Finishes respond differently to various speeds and frequency of buffing/burnishing. A finish that is considered soft may be more buffable and might be used in programs with frequent high-speed buffing. A finish that is hard would perform best on floors that are low speed buffed or not buffed at all. Be sure to match your floor finish with the proper buffing pad as well as machine speed.

Training is also imperative. Even the best floor finish will not perform well if your team does not have the right product and procedural training. Like automatic equipment, establishment of training standards is an investment that will improve the productivity of your program, ensure a better outcome, and ultimately reduce expense for your organization.

No single finish will be right for every floor and every maintenance program. Evaluate the importance of each attribute relative to your expectations, and consider the type of equipment and resources you have available. Then select the finish that has the blend of characteristics best suited for your program

For an evaluation of your floor care program along with recommendations for the right floor finish, contact Brendan Cavanagh at bcavanagh@nycoproducts.com or visit Nyco Products Company.

All information listed in this section was submitted by Nyco Products.
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