Matte vs Satin Finish on Hardwood Floors

Before you give your hardwood floor a much needed coat of finish, you need to be sure that your choice of floor finish is absolutely the right one for you.

And the choice between a matte finish and a satin finish isn’t as easy as one might think. And here’s why; the glossy appearance of satin keeps that finish looking good for much longer than a matte finish. Plus it is easier to clean and maintain.

However, the much less shiny matte finish is ideal if you want your wood finish to look more natural.

But its worth noting that the dullness of a matte finish makes it harder to keep the appearance of the floor clean.

Both matte and satin have clear advantages and disadvantages, but what truly matters at the end of the day is which style is best for you.

So we’ll be discussing what you need to consider when choosing a hardwood finish. As well as covering why its worth taking the time to figure out which one is ideal for your home.

matte vs satin finish

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What Is The Difference: Is Matte Finish The Same As Satin?

So just what is a satin finish? Well, a satin finish makes wood shine without making it appear overly glossy.

This type of finish reflects light easily, much more so than matte finishes.

So what kind of finish is matte? A matte finish, on the other hand, does away with glossiness altogether.

Instead, it is non-reflective and has a dull appearance.

Related Post: Can You Use Mineral Spirits On Hardwood Floors?

What Kind Of Finish Is Best For Hardwood Floors?

The answer to this depends on what kind of statement you want your floors to make.

Matte hardwood floors are trendier due to the fact that they offer more natural visuals.

And that raw wood texture is what you’re looking for if you want a more Rustic or Farmhouse style decor.

Still, satin offers gloss without the eye-popping reflectiveness that a high gloss finish can give off.

This ultimately means that a satin finish can give a hardwood floor a more chic appearance – which is perfect for Modern Glam interior design.

Now, if you ask us, we here at The Woodwork Place prefer a matte finish by far.

The way we see it, we’ve spent a lot of time crafting and perfecting the woodwork. So of course we want a finish that shows off and maintains the good looks of quality timber.

What Does Matte Feel Like?

To the touch the texture of a matte finish feels closer to authentic wood than most other finishes.

Which, when combined with its earthy appearance, is perfect if you want a room to give off an impression of real timber underfoot.

So if you want to keep the raw look of oak or maple hardwoods, then a matte finish is a great choice.

matte vs satin finish

How To Clean Matte Finish Hardwood Floors (Quick Guide)

We mentioned earlier how difficult it can be to keep a matte finish floor clean. But it is far from impossible.

If you want to maintain the natural good looks of a great matte finish, then you need to take a two part approach to cleaning your floors;

PART 1: Preventative Measures

Keeping hardwood floors spotless starts well before you get out the mop and bucket. And there are plenty of things you can do to prevent scratches from marking the wood surface. For example;


Avoid wearing shoes around the house. This will go a long way towards keeping unsightly scuff marks from blemishing the finish.


Protect your floor from any scratches that come as a result of moving heavy furniture around the room.

Even if you don’t move furniture around, (ie you ‘forget’ to vacuum behind the sofa!), the legs of static furniture can grind away at the floor over time.

However, by using furniture pads you can prevent these problems before they even arise.

matte vs satin finish

Furniture pads – which are sometimes called Felt Pads – are thick pieces of felt that stick to the bottom of table and chair legs.

Attached via a self-adhesive patch – on one side of the felt – once attached, these pads protect the floor by allowing furniture to glide across the surface when you move it.

However, the felt side of these patches also stops the furniture from slipping and sliding around.

You can find furniture pads at any good hardware store, but you can click here to check out the latest prices over on Amazon.


A hardwood floor needs a special touch if you want to keep it scratch free.

Selecting a vacuum for your hardwood floor, therefore, needs a bit of extra thought.

This is because most vacuums come with something called a ‘beater bar’. Also called a bristle bar, this fast rotating brush can be found underneath the vacuum.

matte vs satin finish

If your vacuum has a beater bar, then those stiff bristles are going to pose a problem when used on matte finish hardwood floors.

Instead, you should consider purchasing a vacuum cleaner designed specifically for hardwood floors.

Now, any good hardwood floor vacuum will swap out those bristle brushes for microfiber pads.

Microfiber pads do the job when it comes to picking up dirt and dust – and all without marring the woodwork.

Our recommendation would be the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional NV356E.

Check out the latest prices for the Shark Navigator over on Amazon.

PART 2: Regular Cleaning


Any good wood finish is waterproof enough that mopping your floor won’t damage or cause rot in the wood.

So mopping the floor once a week, with warm water, is perfectly fine.

Still, try to use a damp mop – rather than a wet one – so that you limit the chances of water soaking through to the floor boards.

matte vs satin finish

Some floor cleaner solutions can end up doing more harm than good.

In fact, some hardwood floor manufacturers will even void your warranty if you’ve cleaned the floor with certain types of solutions.

So what are your options?

1. Opt for a Water-Only Solution

The easiest approach, to avoiding warranty issues and possible floor cleaner stains, is to avoid using any kind of cleaning solution at all.

Simply clean the floor with warm water and a damp mop once a week.

matte vs satin finish

2. Opt for Dish Soap

If your floor needs a bit more than just warm water to get it clean, then you can add a couple drops of mild dish detergent to the mop bucket.

Stick to pH-neutral washing up liquids, but stay well away from alkaline or ammonia based cleaners.

And whatever you do, avoid using slippery wax or furniture spray on your hardwood floor.

Final Thoughts

For us, when it comes to comparing a matte finish verses a satin finish, the matte look is the clear winner in our books.

But no matter which type of finish you’re considering, both finish types have their clear pros and cons.

So the real Kingmaker, when choosing which finish is best for you, ultimately is the answer to this question; which style would you love to live with for the long run?