Investor Martin Zwieg once said, “The trend is your friend.” While Zwieg was likely referring to stock market trends, nowhere is his statement truer than with pieces of natural wood furniture.
And, right now, the current trend for modern wood finishes is low-sheen, matte finishes. Let’s find out why you might see this request from your customer in your next finishing order.
What is a Low-Sheen Wood Finish?
Low-sheen wood finishes are extremely flat with a natural look that’s close to bare wood, yet with the protection of a good finish. The finished product feels finished and smooth but offers almost no shine, giving a contemporary, European look to the piece.
Sheens are measured in degrees. A 90-degree sheen provides a gloss that makes the wood look deep and wet, like a mirror. The trend has shifted to around a 10-degree sheen. Some European brands have even come out with 2- or 3-degree sheens that make applications look completely flat.
Pros and Cons of a Low-Sheen Matte Finish
An advantage to matte finishes is that they hide underlying surface imperfections in the wood grain. This is the reason most ceilings are painted with flat paint – it hides installation and finishing imperfections caused by the construction process. For this reason, matte wood finishes tend to hide scratches and therefore stand up well to high-traffic applications.
The downside to a matte finish can be that the rougher surface texture – while not detectable to the touch – traps dirt more easily than glossier finishes because of high pigment-volume concentration (PVC). As a result, wood products with a low-sheen finish can be harder to keep clean.
However, high-quality matte finish products employ newer technologies that make them more dirt-resistant and easier to wash.
Applications of Low-Sheen Modern Wood Finishes
Professional wood finishers hoping to capitalize on the low-sheen trend could see a wide variety of applications in customer orders. Popular matte finish wood products include the following:
- Wood home furniture
- Office furnishings such as conference tables and stair treads
- Interiors of yachts, private jets, and other luxurious transportation vehicles
Where once people wanted these surfaces to be as glossy as possible, now customers want modern wood finishes that are as low sheen as possible.
Tips to Achieve a Low-Sheen Finish on Wood Pieces
The trick to achieving a professional low-sheen finish on wood is to use a product that dries with no reflection but isn’t cloudy. This balance can be difficult to achieve.
To lower the sheen in a finish, flattening agents can be added to change the way the finished texture reflects light. The particles shrink as the finish dries, adding an undetectable amount of roughness to the surface that reduces reflection.
Because the flattening agent particles reduce the reflection to achieve this modern wood finish, it is important to mix the finish thoroughly before use and throughout the coating process to achieve consistent results.
Low-sheen wood finishes are polyurethane-silica suspensions, and they must be mixed regularly to keep the particles from sinking to the bottom. Regular mixing maintains the flat finish and ensures the final product feels smooth to the touch.
Using the highest quality low-sheen wood finishing products ensures easier cleaning, a smooth surface feel, and the desired flat look that is not cloudy.
Products to Support the Application
ICA Coatings, a highly innovative Italian vendor, offers an array of low-sheen finish products that can support your job:
- ICA Naturwood, a water-based polyurethane
- ICA Polyurethane Clear Sealers and Top Coats, a great product to achieve dead flat matte
These versatile products can be used for virtually any application to enhance the wood color. To identify the best product for your job, we recommend working with our skilled and knowledgeable customer support team.
Ensure the Highest Quality Low-Sheen Modern Wood Finishes
At Finishers Depot, we know the products we sell because we use them, too. We won’t just sell you a can off the shelf and send you back to the shop. We provide technical support and knowledge gained from experience, we constantly seek the latest technology, and we work directly with ICA.
Ultimately, we understand that not every job is the same and requires a keen eye to identify the right solution for finishing professionals.
For example, we know there’s a difference between creating a low sheen on a piece of living room furniture that will primarily be used by a single family versus finishing a conference tabletop for a high-traffic office space. And, applying a low-sheen finish to a yacht that will be exposed to salt water and rain is another consideration entirely.
Each situation requires a different technology, and we will guide you on achieving the aesthetic and durability your customer prefers.
Our experts are here to help finishing professionals stay ahead of the technology curve. Contact us today to discuss implementing the latest modern wood finishes for your jobs.