Oil Based or Water Based Polyurethane – Which is Better for Refinishing Hardwood Floors?
While Flowers Flooring offers both oil based and water based options, we usually recommend oil based polyurethane over water based for 3 simple reasons:
- It looks better
- It lasts longer
- It costs less
While these reasons may make the choice simple, there are always exceptions and different customer needs that require more exploring on this subject. Both oil based and water based polyurethane have their advantages.
Advantages of Oil Based Polyurethane
Oil based polyurethane provides more depth to the hardwood, both in color and shine. Water based polyurethane has a duller color and duller finish. Over time, the water based polyurethane will continue to dull, while the oil based amberizes and darkens a bit, giving the hardwood a richer look.
Oil based polyurethane also lasts longer than water based. Oil based is simply more durable. Water based polyurethane has lower Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s), which is why it does not last as long. Water based polyurethane is thinner, which is why installers need to apply 4 to 5 coats to equal the durability of 2 coats of oil based.
Oil based polyurethane also costs less than water based, which will dramatically reduce the cost of sand & finish or buff & coat jobs. Customers who are set on using a water based poly typically spend 15 to 25 percent more. On top of this initial cost, keep in mind you will need to redo the job sooner, so water based poly costs a lot more when you factor in the life of the floor.
Advantages of Water Based Polyurethane
There are several benefits to water based polyurethane, which makes it a great option in some circumstances. The top benefit to water based poly is that it dries faster. A water based job can usually be completed in 2 days, and you can walk on the floor the same night. Oil based poly can take 3 to 5 days (depending on the humidity) and you need to wait at least 24 hours before walking on the floor. Depending on how quickly you want your floors complete, water based poly may be a better choice for you.
Water based poly also looks better on certain types of wood such as natural maple. Maple is a lighter wood than oak and oil based polyurethane can yellow maple hardwood over time. For both white washed and gray stained floors, water based polyurethane is certainly the way to go. Oil based polyurethane will turn these floors yellow.
Water based polyurethane also doesn’t have as much odor. While both polyurethanes smell, water based has less of a smell which could be better for smaller jobs, or for people who are more sensitive to smell.
Schedule FREE Estimate Today
Flowers Flooring schedules FREE in-home estimates for both Sand & Finish and Buff & Coat jobs. Your estimator will go over in more detail which polyurethane they recommend for your job. Call Flowers Flooring today to schedule your FREE estimate – 704-445-7750 or visit us on the web.
Flowers Flooring Finance Options
Also, ask your estimator about our partnership with Synchrony Bank and what financing options Flowers Flooring currently has available.