Ideal for light colored wood. Water based poly is harder, so it is more susceptible to surface abrasion caused by fine debris. Maple Hardwood flooring is a great example of this. Oil based poly has an amber tone that immediately darkens the wood. oil based: generally lasts around 10 years. Aesthetics:  Are you keeping your hardwood floors natural and without stain? We recommend wearing a respirator and keeping pets and anyone with breathing issues away from the smell. He said he’s going to do 3 coats so that the oil base will act as a glue and hold the pieces down better. Husband + Wife team construction company owner.

First, a final coat was put over a surface that had not completely dried. Water based poly is thin, and you’ll need at least 4-5 coats, as opposed to 2-3 coats of the oil based. There’s an ongoing debate over which is more durable & long lasting. Ultimately, you get more “bang for your buck” when you choose an oil based polyurethane. And, the application of anything on top of a floor is not going to fasten the floor to the sub-floor. Due to it’s fast drying time all the coats can be applied in the same day. I’m not going to have them re-do this. Upon return you may need to keep windows open & fans on for some days. However, water based poly has lower VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) making it a “Greener” choice, but again, it’s a “catch 22”, seeing how the life of your hardwood floor will be cut short, due to refinishing twice as often, ultimately leading to the cutting down of more trees in order to create new hardwood flooring. Water based polyurethane dries clear and remains clear. Required fields are marked *, We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Oil based polyurethane: Darker wood tones are enriched by an amber hue and an oily sheen. Instagram post 2160700438847032878_10453891865, This error message is only visible to WordPress admins, When to Sand and Refinish your Hardwood Floors…, Protecting Your Floors from the Christmas Tree. Say for example you just finished the floors with a water based poly and the outcome just isn’t what you envisioned, it’s best to wait at least 6 months before sanded and refinishing or screening and recoating to use an oil finish. And for area rugs, 30 days is what we recommend waiting because that’s how long it takes for the floors to fully cure. oil based: 3 coats, Dry time: Water based poly can have the same longevity. Hi there. Each coat of oil based poly needs a full 24 hours to dry (and that’s with the climate in the home being optimal; there are factors such as humidity that lengthen it’s drying time). Oil-based finishes were once more durable, but the new generation of water-based polyurethane is remarkably hard and long-lasting. Is all this true or are w ending scammed for another 6,000 to resand and stain ? No, it is never recommended to mix the 2 finishes. It really is hard to say just how long each finish will last. On a wood species like red or white oak, the natural undertones just beg for the oil based polyurethane which brings out all its beautiful characteristics and graining. The odor will linger until the polyurethane is fully cured in a couple days. For every 2-3 coats of oil based poly, it’s recommended to do 4-5 coats of water based poly. the poly guy says if I use the water based on my older floors I will end up with crackling…like broken glass and jagged edges as the floor moves and over time will not be happy with the finish. I had the engineered wood floor that looked like the top coat was peeling off in heavy traffic areas. I have two contractors telling me two different things. Durability: While both are long-lasting, there is a difference in how they wear and what you can do to protect the finish. When can we start using our floors after they have been finished? In Long Island where we service houses we do have occasional requests for oil based, though water based still is most preferred. Required fields are marked *, Interior Designer.


We work closely with qualified flooring contractors throughout the USA to provide installation and repair services for home flooring products. We take pride in delivering high-quality information that help homeowners decide on which type of flooring they want in their house. For this reason. Ultimately, the oil based polyurethane is more cost effective.

These solids are what make up the poly’s protective finish. Durability: Go with water based poly if that’s a look you want to avoid, or choose an oil based finish to enhance it. Without completely removing the peeling coat, and just pouring a new gummy oil poly, now my floor looks and feels curdled all over. The planks are connected to each other and to the floor during installation. Third, you have to use more polyurethane when using water based.

It’s a matter of preference, some see the color change as an enhancement. water based: quality product can cost 2-3x that of oil based, but because of oil based extended dry time requiring additional trips, contractor prices are often the same whether water or oil based. Will your wood look better with a clear coat or an amber coat? Mom + Wife. The smell will be gone in a week. Blogger. Let’s cover a few basics before discussing which is best for specific wood types. But whether it’s oil or water based, longevity will still depend on preventative care & maintenance. Are you planning on living in the home while the finishing process is taking place? We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish.

No respirator is required, but you might want to crack a couple windows for fresh air. There are no planks “coming up”. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. Furniture shouldn’t be placed on the flooring for 12 hours after the last coat is applied. These cookies do not store any personal information. Some still insist that durability is the main deciding factor between water based & oil based polyurethane. water based: can last around 10 years when high quality product is applied by professionals, inexpensive lower quality product may last only 5-6 years. Water based polyurethane does not require using a respirator or vacating everyone. During this time there will be high exposure to toxic fumes. For homeowners oil based floor finish is an option if you can afford to vacate everyone from the house during this time. Water based doesn’t change the wood color, it dries clear & remains clear so wood keeps it’s natural color. oil based: mineral spirits, paint thinner or turpentine. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. They seem very unprofessional.
The difference between water based and oil based polyurethanes isn’t one of better and worse. Furniture can go back on the floors after 2 days. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. Now you’ve chosen your finish you should check out our guide on how to apply polyurethane. Done improperly can result with bubbles & overlapping lines. The look is what matters. They came one day and didn’t do enough of buffing and just applied one coat of oil-base Polyurethane and left. You’ll live with the look for a decade or more. Is the water based hard like glass and will it crack against the grain as the poly guy states?? It’s due to the chemical makeup; oil based poly’s have 45% to 50% of solids, while water based polys only contain 30% to 35% of solids. Oil based poly can last around 10 years. There is no discernible difference in how long they last. oil, liquid) prior to applying the finish coat. water based: very low odor & VOC’s compared to oil based, area can be safely occupied during application, much more environmentally friendly Water based polyurethane: If you want your floor to stay the same color, choose water-based polyurethane. This is especially better for certain types of wood where you don’t want to alter the color like gray, white & lighter wood which looks better with a clear finish. It does take 7 days to fully cure but can be walked on after 24 hours and furniture may be carefully replaced after 3 days. In that case oil based would be best because water based is recommended only for professionals. Water based polyurethane can be recoated in 4-6 hours.

So really price is not a significant deciding factor either unless you’re doing it yourself. Higher quality products contain more polyurethane which give longer lasting durability. From NY -> TX, Where experts meet homeowners But opting out of some of these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience. Read our Terms of Use and Disclosures page for more information. Then, kitchen and bedrooms second). Water:  Once the last coat has been applied you should wait 4-6 hours with socks, one day for shoes.

Oil-based Polyurethane We got rid of him and hired a second person for the staining of the floors. The effect on the color of the wood is the other main difference between water & oil based. It takes on the scuffs, scratches & dents & increases water resistance.

Summary Comparison of Water based vs Oil Based Polyurethane: Color: water based: doesn’t change color of wood, dries clear and stays clear. Oil based polyurethane has a strong, fumy odor. Differences in drying times… The color and look is one of the main reasons homeowners choose this floor. water based: 2-3 hours between coats, 24 hours to walk on, 72 hours to replace furniture, a total of 4 days (but house can remain occupied) Our new flooring guy is recommending we use water based poly due to the high moisture levels under the house in the crawlspace. water based: 3 coats of high quality product like Bona Traffic, 4-5 coats of lower quality product Your decision will be much easier when you do. There are times when using water based polyurethane is completely recommended. Applying polyurethane adds a protective coat to wood floors. I hired a contractor to buff the floor and do a new coat of poly – this was their solution. For dogs, wait one week before letting them walk on the floors. oil based: very strong odor & high VOC’s during application, area must be vacated for at least a few days, odor can linger for days or weeks, requires a respirator to apply, Cost: As it ages, the amber hue deepens. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. To that end, we may be compensated with a small commission through affiliations with our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website. You’ll have tangible finished flooring samples you can see, feel and run your feet over, if you want. More suited for dark color wood. For more detailed info on polyurethane drying times click here. When staining a hardwood floor gray, for example, it’s definitely best to choose the water based poly.

We understand how confusing all these factors can be, and we’re here to make the decision process as simple and painless as possible for all our customers. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. Because water based poly is thinner than oil based poly, you’ll need more product to achieve a sufficient finish on the hardwood. Your email address will not be published. Here are some factors to consider that might sway your decision either way: Durability: How long will the finish last before it has to be redone? Crackling can occur using oil based or water based poly. Not only does it give you a more durable finish, but it costs less and has to be redone half as often as a water based polyurethane.

We’ve given some key points to consider when making your decision.

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how to tell if polyurethane is oil or water based

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