John and his father put two coats of semi-gloss finish on the floors today. When they first came over for an estimate, they asked what kind of finish we wanted. Not knowing much of anything about floor finishes, we told them that we wanted the most durable finish possible. They recommended Swedish Finish as the most durable and long-lasting finish that you can put on a wood floor (that isn't factory applied, that is). Technically speaking, it's a "Acid-cured Urethane", and it dries in a few hours, but takes weeks to finish curing and hardening. The real downside, they pointed out, is that it smells quite a bit, so it's not something you can really use if you're going to live in the house while the floors are redone. Since we're not yet living there, we decided to go with the Swedish Finish (instead of Polyurethane).
They put two coats of semi-gloss finish on today, and screened once in-between coats.
And they weren't kidding about the smell--we could smell it out on the front sidewalk, and it reeked to high heaven. It smells like a cross between rubbing alcohol, sterno, paint thinner and Vics Vapo-Rub. They were just putting the last strokes on the second coat at about 5:30, so we came back at 10:00PM to check it out and close some of the windows.
In short, it's beautiful--everything that we had hoped for. And without further ado, here's the finished product:
To see some before and after comparisons, see the comparison pics.