Choosing Between Water and Oil-based Polyurethane Finish For Hardwood Floors

The job begins with choosing the right top coat, whether you’re preserving brand new hardwood flooring or restoring ancient ones. To determine the finish that is ideal for your floor, get to know the variations between finishes.

While there’s a vast number of hardwood species with their distinct look and appeal, one common thing they all require is a protective finish. 

It can, however, be a little daunting to pick the right topcoat for freshly built hardwood flooring or adding finish to boards in a state of disrepair.

After selecting your Denver hardwood, you’ll find that wood floor finishes have ranging comfort, longevity, and glossiness, one of the vital aesthetic appreciations.

Make your determination a little simpler by learning the fundamentals, all outlined below, of the two most common kinds of hardwood floor finishes.

Between Water and Oil-based

Polyurethane Water-Based Finish

It is ideal for floors needing a transparent finish that dries rapidly and is easy to clean and apply; has minimal odor and a very sleek and glossy finish. 

However, the high-gloss version amplifies every scuff on the surface.

While polyurethane, based on the water, appears milky, it will be clear when dried and does not leave a yellowish residue like some finishes. 

Although many homeowners opt for high-gloss polyurethane, satin, and semi-gloss selections as well.

Water-based polyurethane, made of synthetic resins, is a solid finish that absorbs moisture reasonably well, but please dry your floor immediately after a spill.

Overall, it’s simple to maintain floors; just a moist mop or broom will do the trick, and no wax is ever needed.

Polyurethane Oil-based Finish

This is ideal for areas that encounter heavy traffic, and it is inexpensive, durable, moisture resistant, and relatively easy to care for.

However, it dries slowly, releases volatile organic compounds, is flammable, and may turn a yellowish shade yellow over time.

Oil-based polyurethane’s power and durability render it appealing for commercial facilities, but a lot of houses with busy foot traffic have that finish as well.

Fortunately, the tough features ensure that you won’t have to refinish the floors frequently. And it’s easy to maintain and clean the dirt with a moist mop, sweep, and vacuum.

Polyurethane, based on oil, has a slight amber or yellowish tint, which increases over time, giving the floor an amber-like color. It comes in satin sheens high and semi-gloss. 

For the project, you will need to give quite a bit more time than water-based polyurethane and clean up with mineral spirits.

Usually, each coat takes up to 10 hours to dry with a three-coat max recommendation.

After the last one, you will have to wait at least 48 hours to walk in shoes on the floors and four days to fill the rooms with furniture again.