There are three main classifications of gloss on the market: high-gloss, semi-gloss and matte. When selecting gloss, consider the effects of light. A very bright finish reflects the most light. That means bright finishes also highlight scuffs, scratches, scrapes and other marks. Matte or satin finishes absorb more light and reflect a more subdued radiance. Since marks are less noticeable, their life is longer-lasting. Their sedate sheen also makes them more aesthetically malleable.
Satin sheens are becoming more and more popular in today's home interiors.
A satin sheen is a softer, flatter shine that falls on the lower end of the scale somewhere in between a semi-gloss and a matte. Satin sheens have become quite a bit more popular nowadays due to the ability to hide long term effects of wear. They also work great in higher traffic residential homes and for commercial uses.
High-gloss finishes are the highest of all sheen levels. They are visually a clear window into the beauty of your hardwood floors. While high-gloss finishes have the brightest of all shines, they can also show imperfections underneath and on top of the polyurethane coating like surface scratches and everyday wear and tear. High-gloss finishes are most frequently used on basketball courts to display the clearest image of the team’s logo.
A semi-gloss sheen is stuck right dab in the middle of the shine spectrum between satin and high gloss. Semi-gloss is a great middle marker for those who want the shine but also want the ability to disguise some of the natural abuse a hardwood floor goes through.
Matte sheens, just like paint for your walls, come with very little shine at all. Matte sheens are the extreme opposite of high-gloss sheen. Matte sheens have a very opaque look to them and, when used over a natural unstained wood floor, can give you the illusion of raw wood but with the protection of a durable polyurethane finish. Matte sheens will also work very well in high traffic residential homes and for commercial applications.