oil based vs water based sealants for new hardwood floors

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  #1  
Old 08-30-09, 07:58 AM
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Question oil based vs water based sealants for new hardwood floors

My brother and I are about to install new unfinished maple hardwood floors in a cabin. It will get much use. I want the floors to be durable and remain natural color. What is best and most durable type of finish?
 
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Old 08-30-09, 08:46 AM
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Oil based polyurethanes are probably a bit more durable though there is some variance with brands etc.you'd want to use one that specifically stated it could be used on floors.It is more difficult to clean up after and may turn somewhat amber with age.

Water based poly is easier to deal with and will remain clear.I'm not sure how well it will hold up on a floor.Again unless it specifically says floors don't use it.

Traditionally oil based poly is what is used.You might talk to people who install or sell flooring and get opinions from experts.Water based products are fairly new on the scene but that type of product is continually being improved and might do fine.

From another site:


Water-based polyurethanes provide a clear finish and have low odor. You can recoat them in two hours and clean your tools with water. If you start early enough in the day, you can apply the recommended four coats and sleep in the room that night.

Oil-based polyurethanes leave an amber glow and require fewer coats. But the five-hour wait between coats and 12-hour wait after the last coat will put a bedroom out of commission for a few days—and you’ll have to put up with a strong odor.

We’re installing tongue-and-groove maple flooring in our newly remodeled master bedroom. We love the natural look of the maple but want a finish that will protect it. Is water- or oil-based polyurethane better?

Both offer good protection; the biggest difference is in appearance. If you love the natural look of maple, apply a water-based (water-borne) polyurethane. They appear milky in the can, but go on clear and remain clear. They’ll slightly accent the character of your wood without giving it the amber tint of an oil-based poly. (However, some woods, like the oak shown, cry out for that amber tint.) Water-based finishes dry fast— most within two hours—so you can apply several coats in a day and use the room that night. They have minimal odor and clean up with water too.

But water-based polys have their tradeoffs. They cost twice as much as oil-based polys. They won’t give wood the rich glow that oil-based polys impart; some even consider them cold looking. When I applied waterborne poly recently, I found that it went on so clear I had to use a bottle cap to mark each 8-in. wide swath of finish as I went.

Most water-based polys contain only 30 to 35 percent solids, compared with the 45 to 50 percent solids in oil-based products. Since these solids create the protective finish, you need to apply four coats, as opposed to two or three. And you may need to apply additional coats every two years or so.

There’s debate over which finish is harder, but some experts maintain that hardness isn’t necessarily a good attribute of a floor finish. You want a finish that will flex along with the floor. And a super-hard finish shows scratches more readily.

You’ll prolong the protective life of any finish by eliminating its No. 1 enemies: dirt and grit. Sweep or vacuum the floor often and put throw rugs in high-traffic areas.

(Article showed Minwax polycrylic as the water based but did not show Minwax oil based as the other version as it is not useable on floors)
 
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Old 08-30-09, 11:00 AM
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"did not show Minwax oil based as the other version as it is not useable on floors"

Are you sure? I know some floor finishers that use minwax although the better floor finishers use a different product. I often got roped into finishing the stairs [new construction] I almost always used minwax - stain and 2 coats poly before installation, 1 coat after.

IMO oil base is the way to go. It wears better/longer and I like the amber tone it gives the wood/stain. It will deepen the colors in many woods. Waterbased poly is good for quick turn around.

I think I got a can of oil base minwax in the shop, I'll go check

it states on the can that it is suitable for interior wood - furniture, cabinets, doors and floors.
 

Last edited by marksr; 08-30-09 at 11:07 AM. Reason: add info
  #4  
Old 08-30-09, 12:29 PM
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Hmmmm the last Minwax can I looked at said Do Not Use On Floors.Maybe the formulation was changed to broaden it's useability.
 
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Old 08-30-09, 12:42 PM
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Huh..I just looked at a can of Polycrylic I have..and it specifically says "Not recommended for use on floors". Goes on to say in high traffic areas, frequent recoating, etc etc..

They do say they have a water based poly for floors..just not Polycrylic.
 
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Old 08-30-09, 03:49 PM
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Interesting,the site where I got that article had a can of polycrylic in the picture but the minwax site says don't use it on floors.

They suggest this:

Water Based Oil-Modified Polyurethane - Water-Based Clear Protective Finishes
 
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Old 08-31-09, 04:19 AM
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The last line under product details states it can be used on floors.

Fast Drying Polyurethane - Oil-Based Clear Protective Finishes

Maybe they had too many people working on their site info and they got their wires crossed
 
  #8  
Old 08-31-09, 04:32 AM
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oil based vs water sealant for hardwood floor

Thanks for all the replies. I spoke with a contractor who said the best finish would be to apply an emulsifier (?) and then several coats of a water based product- he recommended Street Shoe. Anyone ever heard of this process? Michsue
 
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Old 08-31-09, 08:54 AM
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From what I can get online the emulsifier in this case is a strong stripper/cleaner/prep product and Street Shoe is an extremely durable but also very expensive floor finish,water based.

I'm sure this would work out well but it's going to cost some bucks as Street Shoe appears to run around 70 plus dollars a gallon.
 
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