About Aluminum Oxide Floor Finishes
30th March 2017
All types of flooring require a finish coating for protecting the underlying material from the wear and tear of foot traffic, furniture marks, pet toenails, and other life events. Aluminum oxide is one of several products used for this purpose, and it has more than one advantage in the protection it can bring to your Tri-City area home or business.
Aluminum oxide is a naturally occurring mineral related to the gemstones sapphire and ruby. It is used as a primary ingredient in making aluminum for everything from soda cans to airplane wings and also in the manufacture of many types of glass. It is also a compound valued for having resistance to heat and electrical conduction and for being inert. Most of all, aluminum oxide is prized for its hardness, making it useful for abrasives like sandpaper and even as a substitute for industrial diamonds.
What does all this have to do with flooring?
The high durability and hardness of aluminum oxide make it a valuable finishing material for flooring where resistance to scratching, denting, and scuffing are important qualities. Floor finishes made with metal oxides like aluminum are the hardest finishes produced for the final coating on floors made of hardwood, laminate, bamboo, and engineered hardwoods.
Besides creating a hard and durable finish surface on wood for resisting scratches, aluminum oxide also amplifies the grain patterns, enhancing the aesthetics of the installation, and it provides other benefits and protection even beyond that.
How Aluminum Oxide Protects Tri-City Floors
The scratch resistance provided by this flooring finish translates into a greatly reduced need for refinishing the floor over the years. Maintenance costs and labor are reduced over the lifetime of the floor. Floors finished with aluminum oxide at the factory generally have a lifespan of 20 to 25 years compared to a ten year life of a floor finished with polyurethane after the floor is installed.
UV protection is another benefit of this flooring finish. The color and sheen of a new floor tends to fade over time due to exposure to UV radiation coming in through windows, doors, and skylights. Wood protected with aluminum oxide fades more slowly, preserving the original beauty of the wood for longer.
Along with UV protection, oxidization is also reduced on wood treated with aluminum oxide. The finish produces a sealed and impenetrable surface which can resist the degradation caused by exposure to oxygen in air and water, keeping the surface looking like new for much longer than with other flooring finish options.
Comparing and Caring for Floor Finishes in Hopewell
Aluminum oxide is not the only choice for finishing wood product floors. Urethane is another commonly used finish, and sometimes it is applied in combination with aluminum oxide as a way of making the flooring surface smoother. One concern some people have with urethane and oil finishes for wood floors are the volatile organic compounds, or VOC emissions. People with severe allergies or chemical sensitivities sometimes need to avoid products with high VOC emissions.
Aluminum oxide is a finish which is applied to wood products at the factory, not on-site after the floor is installed as is sometimes the case when finishing floors with urethane or oils. During the manufacturing process, the aluminum oxide and any final urethane finish are baked on with high-intensity UV light, creating a finished product which gives off a minimum of VOC emissions.
While maintenance of floors treated with aluminum oxide is less intense than those with other finishes, there is still need for care and cleaning with these floors. As with any wood floor, cleaning up water and other spills right away is still important, and scratch resistant does not mean scratch impervious. Regular sweeping up or vacuuming of dust and debris, along with entryway mats for minimizing traffic of grit onto the floors, keeps these floors in the best condition.
When moving furniture on any wood floor, even those treated with aluminum oxide, it is highly advisable to place something under the feet of the object or gouging can happen. Floor casters are another way of keeping appliances and furniture from damaging wooden floors of all kinds.
Waxing of hardwood floors finished with aluminum oxide or urethane is not needed, and it can even harm the floor. Wax makes it nearly impossible to add another coat of urethane finish, because the new coat will not stick to the floor underneath. Instead, vacuum or sweep these floors often and use a damp mop and recommended cleaning product to mop up stains and spills.
If you would like more information comparing flooring finishes for your Chester, Colonial Heights, Petersburg, or Prince George home, visit Accent on Floors huge showroom in Hopewell or schedule an on-site consultation.