Wood Flooring Q&A: Is Satin OK Under Gloss?

Contrary to popular belief, the sheens of previous coats won't affect the sheen of the final topcoat (but they might affect clarity). Courtesy of Nature Floors, Layton, Utah
Contrary to popular belief, the sheens of previous coats won't affect the sheen of the final topcoat (but they might affect clarity). Courtesy of Nature Floors, Layton, Utah

Contrary to popular belief, the sheens of previous coats won't affect the sheen of the final topcoat (but they might affect clarity). Courtesy of Nature Floors, Layton, UtahContrary to popular belief, the sheens of previous coats won't affect the sheen of the final topcoat (but they might affect clarity). Courtesy of Nature Floors, Layton, Utah

If I am using gloss for my topcoat, will it look less glossy if I use satin coats underneath it?

Steve Crawford, sales manager, strategic business development, at North Brunswick, N.J.-based Absolute Coatings, answers:

The short answer to this question is ... "maybe." The sheen of the coats underneath the finish won't affect the gloss of the topcoat—as long as you are following the directions and using the correct spread rate of the topcoat. Unless you are hot-coating a floor, typically you are abrading the coats underneath, essentially turning even a gloss finish into a satin floor to create a mechanical bond with the next coat.

While using satin underneath gloss won't affect the gloss level, aesthetically, it can affect the clarity. This probably won't be visible if you are coating a lighter colored natural floor or a gray floor, for example, but if you're putting it on a real dark floor, you might see a little haze, even though the gloss on the surface might be 90 degrees or higher.

On a related note, sometimes you might hear someone say you should use all gloss finish because gloss finish is more durable than other sheens. This is outdated thinking from back when the amount of flattening agents like silica and mica weakened the finish. Today, some products do still use silica and mica, but their resin structures have become very advanced to where they don't have the shortfalls of their predecessors. Other modern products, particularly many two-component products, have a lower sheen due to their chemical makeup. No matter how lower sheen is achieved today, things that were true 20 years ago are no longer necessarily true regarding durability and scuff-resistance.

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