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Finishing Hardwood Floors

The best choices for high-traffic areas

Ask This Old House Crew
Photo by Matt Kalinowski

After sanding and staining the wood floors in our living room,
dining room, and kitchen, what is the best sealer to use? They are high-traffic areas. Which is the most durable and will look the best after
several years of use?

— John, Normal, Illinois


Tom Silva replies: Whether water- or oil-based, a high-gloss finish is the
hardest around. Some people don't like the wet look of high gloss, so I
recommend using two coats of high-gloss and a third of semi-gloss or satin. If you like the wet look, do all three with high gloss. It's also
a good idea to protect high-traffic spots with an area rug.


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