What is Sheen, and Which One Should I Choose for my Hardwood Floors?

What is Sheen, and Which One Should I Choose for my Hardwood Floors?

The ‘sheen’ produced by hardwood floors refers to the level of reflection which can be seen by anyone looking at the floor, and the sheen finish you choose for your own hardwood floors should be associated with how those floors will be used. For instance, if an area is a high-traffic area, you probably wouldn’t want to use a high-gloss sheen hardwood, because more than likely, the finish would quickly be dulled.

Generally speaking, a matte finish might be better in areas that will see a great deal of foot traffic, since matte has the least amount of sheen. So that you can make a better choice when it comes to selecting the right finish for your hardware floors, the four basic types of sheen will be described below, along with situations they are best suited for.



When you have a high-gloss finish on your hardwood floor, it brings out much more detail and beauty of the wood. Deeper stains with high-gloss sheen can be even more dramatic, adding an elegant finish to the room of your choice. A high-gloss finish is generally more appropriate for rooms like bedrooms, sunrooms, libraries, dining rooms, and studies, which are rooms that tend to be somewhat decorative, and where style and elegance can be shown to great effect. If there’s a downside to using a high-gloss sheen on your hardwood floor, it would be that it tends to show dust, debris, and footprints much more clearly than low-gloss finishes, which is another argument against using it in a high-traffic area.



For situations where you are still really looking for the beautiful appearance of a high-gloss sheen, but you would like to avoid having all the footprints and debris highlighted, a semi-gloss finish might be the way to go. Most hardwood brands have a semi-gloss version as well as a high-gloss version, so you should have no trouble finding the kind of sheen you want, with the hardwood brand you’ve selected.


Satin finish

Satin finish might be a good choice if you’re looking for a sheen which is less than high-gloss, and has low reflectivity. Satin does not carry the same kind of high profile elegance and visual appearance that either high-gloss or semi-gloss are known for. It also camouflages the footprints and other dirt and debris that you don’t want to display to observers. Satin is sometimes referred to as lacquer, and it does have a modest sheen, so that it retains more of an upscale look than a matte finish, for instance.


Matte finish

Of all the finish types, the matte finish is the least glossy and has the least amount of reflection on its surface. This makes it highly suitable for those areas where you’re not necessarily trying to create visual drama with the beauty and elegance of your hardwood floor, but you need to showcase it while also protecting it from the hordes of traffic which it’s frequently subjected to. Hallways that get a lot of foot traffic, as well as entrances and other busy sections throughout the house, are well suited to a matte finish.


Elegant Hardwood Floors was founded to help home and business owners transform their visions into reality. We recognized the need for quality flooring installation in the Charleston area and worked diligently to provide exemplary services to fit the unique needs of our growing clientele. Elegant Hardwoods Floors ensures top quality service at every stage of the installation process. Materials are carefully selected so our customers remain within budget and see fast results. With a sharp eye for design and commitment to luxury, our company continues to be recognized as an industry leader in hardwood flooring.  Get more information to see how we can help with your project today.