More and more I have customers who are getting confused about all the tricky labeling and practices out there regarding floor finishes. And lately, there have been a lot of companies trying to claim they use the Swedish finish when they are not.
First of all, there are basically only two types of finish: water based and oil based. From these two all other finishes are created. You will hear me call polyurethane “oil based polyurethane” whenever I talk about poly. There is a BIG difference between water based poly and oil based poly- the oil being much more durable. Water based finishes by nature are not as durable as finishes that use solvents or oils, and just because a manufacturer may add some poly or Swedish formula to a water based finish does not make it much more durable. As a general rule, you are looking at having to refinish a water base floor approximately every 2-3 years depending on how much traffic it gets.
But let’s really address what’s going on out there regarding Swedish finish. There is only one TRULY AUTHENTIC SWEDISH FINISH and that is made by Glitsa. In the last 5-6 years, I’ve seen many flooring companies claiming they do a Swedish finish but what they do is put down 2 coats of a Swedish-named base and then they put a coat of water based finish over the top of it. Which of course, is nowhere near as durable.
There are also many finish manufacturers claiming to make Swedish finish when all they do is put enough of a Swedish finish component mixed into their regular finishes so they can get away with labeling it as Swedish finish when again, it’s not as durable as a true Glitsa Swedish finish. It’s a watered-down version that cannot possibly last as long as the real deal.
The authentic Glitsa Swedish Finish takes a great deal of skill and knowledge to use, and many flooring companies don’t know how to use it because they were never trained with it. So instead, when their customers ask for the Swedish finish, they’re giving them a far inferior product. Glitsa Swedish has an unmistakeably strong odor. If you don’t smell it, then you don’t have it. I have had several disgruntled people coming from other companies who have pulled this fake Swedish finish trick on them, and when the homeowners found out about it, they were not happy campers. If a flooring company starts bad-mouthing Glitsa while doing a bid for you, that’s the first sign that they don’t use it and don’t know how to use it. That should be your first red flag. Glitsa is a safe product when handled by skilled, trained flooring technicians and is the most durable floor finish on the market to date. Which is why it is worth considering as a homeowner.