Satin or Semi-Gloss?

The first coat of poly went down early Friday afternoon. The second coat goes down today (Saturday) afternoon. Third & final coat goes down Monday.

Now we have another dilemma. I guess it’s technically a “decision” but we’re pretty new to this whole ‘homeowner’/’make-decisions-you-have-to-live-with-for-20-years’ thing and therefore it’s a “dilemma.”

What should be our final coat of floor poly? Semi-gloss? Satin? Half semi, half satin?

Semi-gloss is going to be kinda shiny. While I hear it holds up well, I also hear it shows scratches & scuff marks more easily than saint. I kinda like the idea of shiny new floors.

Satin won’t be as shiny (duh) but it’ll also hide the natural scuff marks & scratches that will be inevitable with our lifestyle. And to be perfectly honest, I don’t like to clean. I wouldn’t say we’re slobs but there’s a reason we have a robot to do our vacuuming. His name is Francis Albert, by the way. You haven’t named your vacuum cleaner?! Well you should.

Here’s some pictures for comparison purposes.

*NOTE: The below pictures are NOT of our house or floors. Don’t judge on color; judge the sheen.

Semi-gloss finish:

(found here & belong to Elizpiz)

Satin finish:

(found here & belong to Elizpiz)

If it matters, the walls will most likely be painted an eggshell finish with semi-gloss trim & moldings.

So would you go semi-gloss, satin, or a half & half mix??

{Update: We went satin.}

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22 Responses to Satin or Semi-Gloss?

  1. My vote is for satin. Save the glossy stuff for bowling allies and basketball courts. If you need flooring services visit us at or
    Friends of Carrie and Rob get a 10 percent discount and a loaf of Calandra’s bread.

    Ciao a tutti!

  2. Jennifer Eggers says:

    I say go for the gloss! We had our floors refinished (white oak) a few years ago and I was reluctant to go with my DH’s choice of a high gloss finish. Well, I am pleased to say that I still LOVE my floors…gloss and all. We have a pretty active household with 1, sometimes 2, dogs and 2 children. Not to mention that we live in FL where lots of sand gets tracked in. Sure you can see scratches, but it looks lived in…not worn. And a huge plus is that I get a lot of compliments on how clean the floors look…if they only knew…lol! Best of luck on your decision.

  3. Jennifer,

    On rustic 130 year old floors High Gloss is a no-no. Quite honestly even on new floors, its a bit much. Unless you are wearing a good pair of sunglasses or welding goggles.

  4. Sara says:

    I chose Satin for my 70 year old wood floors. I love the choice and would do it again. In fact, I will be doing it again on the upstairs floors that haven’t been refinished yet. We refinished our stairs and put down gloss as the first coat of poly. It was rich and beautiful, but not practical because they almost glow and everything shows. They also weirdly looked wet….haha

    We did the next two coats with satin and love it. Go satin!!

    • Jamie says:

      I vote no on the gloss… we have an older home and also refinished the floors after pulling up horrible carpet… Satin finish all the way!

  5. No gloss!!

    My neighbors had their floors redone before they moved in and they choose a satin.

    The floors look fantastic. As though they were simply buff polished with wax as they would have been back in the day. It’s been a year now (they have pets) and the floors still look wonderful.

  6. Kim says:

    I think you will be happy with either one. We chose semi-gloss and have been happy with it. We have seen a few scratches, but nothing major.

  7. Beverly says:

    I like the satin! The gloss might distract from other things.

  8. Pingback: Satin or Semi-Gloss: The Result Show « brick city love

  9. So Jon, do WE get a free loaf of bread??

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  12. Heather says:

    Gloss! Satin floors always look dull to me. But I suggest you go satin with he first two coats….if you absolutely love it, do it on the third. We used a gloss finish through the entire lower floor,and it’s spectacular. Sunglasses? No required. But it’s stunning.

  13. On pine I prefer satin. But very often we do an under coat of semi, and topcoat with satin. Any other questions, reach us on Facebook.

    • Kim says:

      I am having my floors done and am leaning towards the satin finish but I would like to have a little shine. I’ve read comments that some do two coats of semi gloss followed by a top coat of satin so it still gives the wood that hard/durable finish but without the glare. Is that true? Will the satin still overpower the two undercoats of semi gloss or will it look too shiny even with the satin on top? Thx in advance for the advice!

      • Jon says:

        Hi Kim,

        If you wouldn’t mind, please find our twitter page. Trying to build it up. @JDLfloors
        Most people choose semi-gloss for its protective qualities. The Satin topcoat will dull it down, but the base coats will most sure come through. I recommend 3 coats of satin. This applies to oil based, not water. Water base is a whole different story. For more info or other questions, please give us a shout on twitter.



      • Kim says:

        Thanks…I should have mentioned that I plan on using a water based finisher. Do you still recommend the 3 coats of satin or can I do the 2 semi gloss coats and 1 satin top coat. And yes, will find you on twitter!

  14. Bethany says:

    It’s hard to find knowledgeable people abvout thi topic, but yoou seem like you know what you’re talking
    about! Thanks

  15. Sam Trottman says:

    I have read more than once on flooring pro forums that, even you if you want satin, the 1st two coats should be gloss. Multiple coats of satin produce a finish that is less clear.

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