Each floor finish option offers a variety of sheens with different levels of gloss which change the appearance of the floor. Gloss is an optical term that describes the ability of a surface to reflect light. The higher the gloss level, the more it directly reflects light. The lower the gloss level, the less the surface absorbs and diffuses the light sources. This is normally measured at a 60-degree angle which is equivalent to looking at the surface while standing up. The sheen level is measured on a scale of 0 to 100 using as a point of reference a black-glass standard, which has a defined refractive index of 100 "gloss units." It is important to remember that the higher a gloss level, the more wear and tear the floor will show.
Standard sheens options in hardwood flooring
Gloss or High Gloss: Offers the most shine and reflects light the most. It’s commonly used in commercial settings such as bowling lanes, basketball floors and gymnasiums. High Gloss tends to highlight imperfections including dust buildup, scratches and dirt. It has a sheen level of 75 Gloss Units.
Satin: Most popular among prefinished flooring manufacturers and professionals that finish floors on-site. Satin finishes provide easy maintenance; marks and scratches show up less, so they look newer longer than higher glosses. It has a sheen level of 40-50 Gloss Units.
Semi-Gloss: Offer less shine than Gloss and reflects a medium sheen. It is commonly found in commercial prefinished national brands. It has a sheen level of 55-70 Gloss Units.
Matte: Gaining popularity in recent years, a Matte finish is best at offering an authentic representation of a wood floor look without a finish, while masking dust buildup and footprints. It has sheen level of 25-35 Gloss Units.