Sorry but I missed the original post on this subject.
I'm chiming in only because of the diversity of responses I have seen
to whatever the original question was.
I have also seen a comment or two by those in the wood floor industry
that actually made me cringe when I read them.
There are only two basic types of floor finishes and all finishes fall
under these two categories.
They are, Surface finishes, and Penetrating finishes.
Almost all of the finishes in use today fall under the Surface Finish
category and include everything from wax to the newer polyurethane
finishes. Shellac, Varnish, Lacquer, etc. are all surface finishes.
Surface finishes are just that, a thin film protectant OVER the wood
surface, that will wear off, flake off, peel off, become thin, and
sometimes even crackle or alligator if applied too heavily.
The other type of finish is a penetrant, such as good quality
penetrating oil or tung oil. These types of finishes are absorbed
into the wood and actually make the wood harder.
Back when I was a youngster (and before), most commercial building
with hardwood floors used nothing but penetrating type oils, because
they clean up easily and do not wear off to the point the wood becomes
quickly damaged in high traffic areas.
Oiled floors have a more rustic appearance to them than glossy
finished floors, but oil floors can be buffed to a nice satin finish
if one wants to put that much work into them.
My first two houses used the conventional Surface Finish techniques.
I had to be very careful to protect this wood finish, especially
around my desk and other high use areas. Even polyurethane will wear
off very quickly if you spend much time sitting at a desk in a home
Even with continual monthly waxing, raising 4 kids, 5 dogs and a
managerie of other animals, surface finishes were an expensive
nightmare to keep up.
Before I moved into an older but modern home, the first thing I did
was have that nice new surface finish sanded off and had all of the
floors heavily oiled with tung oil. Then about once every three years
after that, we would deep clean the floors and apply another coat of
tung oil onto them while the kids were away at camp or elsewhere.
After the second treatment of oil, we could then simply mop our floors
like they were linoleum or vinyl without fear of ever hurting them.
An animal may use a throw rug as a waste station and it would go
unnoticed, yet when discovered, there was NEVER a black mark left
behind as evidence of their watering the carpet.
Some times the old ways are better!
I will NEVER have a bothersome surface finished floor again. An oiled
floor is the only way to go, if you want a maintenance free, easy care
floor, that looks great year in and year out. Even at the most used
door in the house!