oil or water based polyurethane?

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Old 12-15-04, 07:32 AM
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oil or water based polyurethane?

I have an oak handrail for our stairs and have completed staining it and I am now ready to place a finish on. Forgive my ingnorance, but does anyone have a preference between oil or water based poly and if so, why? Is there a benefit to one or the other? Thanks.
Jeff
 
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Old 12-15-04, 08:35 AM
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There is ABSOLUTELY no comparison. I am a professional woodworker and have tried just about every waterbase out there. They are definetly not as strong as oil based, however, in low-wear areas and areas away from cleaners or liquor (bartops), they are acceptable. Also, on light or white stains, waterbase does not yellow.

If you are going to use a waterbase I recommend Varathane; it is a floor finish which does not become cloudy and seems to hold up pretty well to abrasion, but not chemicals or liquor -- like all waterbases.

hope this helps

pgtek
 
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Old 12-15-04, 10:11 AM
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Water-based will not yellow. Therefore the color of the stain remains true. Oil-based will yellow and tint the overall effect of the color.

Many industries: basketball courts, hardwood floor finishers, for example, use water based polyurethane. I have also found that the performance is the same as oil-based polyurethane.

Many prefer the water-based for the lack of annoying fumes at the time of application, low risk of combustion, as well as the shorter drying time. The oil-based product generally reaches full hardness sooner than the water-based. If time is an issue, this may be compelling. For the most part, I would be inclined to believe that either product would perform well on a residential handrail.

If you used an oil-based stain, be sure to allow sufficient time for the stain to fully dry before applying the water-based polyurethane.

Hope this helps.
 
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Old 12-16-04, 07:23 AM
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You can use either one. The biggest differences are the drying time (oil based takes longer) and the final color (oil based leaves a slighty amber look while the water based stays clear.)

Some people say that oil based is more durable, but I've never noticed any difference. My kitchen cabinets (eight years old) and this desk (five years old) were finished with water based poly and they look as good as new.
 
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Old 12-16-04, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by chfite

Many prefer the water-based for the lack of annoying fumes at the time of application, low risk of combustion, as well as the shorter drying time.
The fumes is the major issue, when your dealing with application inside a house. Especially in the winter, when you can't keep the windows open for long enough to ventilate the fumes without freezing your you know what off. The fumes are not only annoying, but they could cause drain bamage.
 
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Old 12-16-04, 07:59 PM
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Water based Ok for furniture

Water based polyurethane is ok for furniture, moldings or handrailings, but since the durablity of oil based polyurethane has not yet been matched by water based products, water based polyurethane remains unacceptable for flooring.

Even with hardening additives, the only real advantage of water based poly is drying time.

And drying time is not really an issue when drying additives are added to oil based.

Cost is a MAJOR issue when comparing the 2.... with water based polys running 5X more than standard oil based polyurethanes in most cases.

Oil based poly urethanes low odor hardly makes any difference between the two.

Personally and until water based polyurethane technology actually catches up to oil based poly (and it hasn't yet), this professional will use only oil based polyurethanes or use other types of well known quick drying finishes like shellac or lacquer.
 
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Old 12-16-04, 08:07 PM
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Where are you buying your poly, homebild? Around here I pay the same ($10 - $12 per quart) for either one.

As far as floors are concerned, my neighbor had hardwood floors installed in her house last year and the flooring company used water based poly. She's had no problems that I've heard of.
 
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Old 12-16-04, 09:13 PM
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Although I don't use polys, I'm with dave on this one on the pricing.
 
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Old 12-17-04, 02:11 AM
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Thanks, y'all

Thanks for all of the replies. I ended up using an oil based poly and it turned out great. Used 3 coats and was able to get all 3 on within one day, didn't take as long to dry as I thought. The instructions stated to allow to dry 3 - 4 hours between coats and then wait 24 hrs. after the final coat until use. Again, thanks for your input, this is one great forum for folks like myself (timid first timers...)
 
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Old 12-17-04, 07:52 AM
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Stain

Does the stain drying time lesson for Water Based Urethane?
I imagine the gas out of the stain is the same time no matter what type urethane you use.
 
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Old 12-17-04, 08:05 AM
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Stain drying time doesn't change since it goes on first and should be thoroughly dry before you start applying the finish. When I try to "push it", I usually mess up the stain.

It's all about the temperature and humidity. Here in CA, even oil based finishes will dry in a few hours during the summer (warm days and low humidity). The same finishes may take 2-3 days during the winter.
 
 

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