Thanks for the great website! Thanks. I had a contractor come in and install 300sq ft of wood floors and refinish another 300sq ft. Avoid these common pitfalls that can impact your floor’s durability! Hope u can help me with this. First, I would always recommend that you do 3 coats of poly, especially on water borne poly. Do you actually use these products and techniques or do your subcontractors. You need to do what’s right for you and your family. Is there any difference in yellowing over time betweeen a matte oil and satin? Hi, we have had red oak installed in our new build house. Barbara – Generally bamboo is done with water based polyurethane not oil. I’m having a couple of guys (including hopefully your recommendation) come in and assess the situation and give an estimate. is better. Hi Debbie. (this architect used the same wood and product for this house (his), he confirmed in email as well as in the story.) Water based poly has lower VOC’s (that’s Volatile Organic Compounds). Bona Traffic HD. In general, oil modified means a mix of oil and water. If you do live in the Westchester area, feel free to give us a call. And waterborne satin looks like matte in oil. In the picture below, this is from one of my customer’s houses after the floors have aged for a while showing part of water and part of it oil. So yes, we install and refinish floors. I asked my contractor to use oil based bona clear coat and found come to find out he used oil modified .. thank you ! I don’t understand why you would do that. Third, you need to make sure that whatever wood you have is approved for radiant heat. The first one on the upper right shows the water based on the left, and it’s showing it on maple floors (and maple is lighter than oak) and on the right, you can see the oil based poly on oak floors (which are darker). I have a question and you indicated your blog posts were the best place to ask them. Just want to choose wisely and be safe too. Does Loba turn white oak any less yellow than Bona? I can not in all honesty recommend a product/brand to do something it’s not designed to do. Because water based polyurethanes only contain 30-35% solids (vs. oil based contain 45-50%) solids, you will need to add more coats of water based poly. There’s just no question about it. I feel fine when outside, or at work, but when in the apartment i am all congested and feel sick. Next question I have is which yellows more oil or water…Do you have a better poly that you recommend so not to yellow. Brian – Yes, I agree and think it’s worth it. , ours looks sort of sticky and “furry.” but it was covered up for the rest of the construction/painting/kitchen install and the paper was just removed. Should I choose water based? After I made my first pass (maybe 12″ wide), when I returned to make the following pass the poly had already dried sufficiently to make blending the two nearly impossible. They come in a variety of forms such as insulation, furniture cushioning, carpet padding, mattresses, liquid coatings, adhesives, shoe soles and many more items. Somewhere I thought I read that these water-based urethane’s will over years go hazy, cloud or dull quicker than oil based poly, is that true even for a Bona traffic HD? I’ve had a problem installing a water based poly in a large room (14′ x 26′). As mentioned above, the VOC’s are lower not non-existent. Sanding & refinishing is rather inconvenient and you need to be out of the house in most circumstances. You said Bona Traffic is much better than Arboritec and is somewhat more expensive. But, usually co-ops are doing this due to the smell (as a courtesy to neighbors). If you do live in the Westchester area, feel free to give us a call. Generally, it may shave off maybe a couple of days/maybe 1 day – it depends on what you are doing in terms of the actual process. But, it is more expensive and requires purchase of additional equipment. I see here that you recommend 4 coats. BTW, there are some polyurethanes that are regional and only sold in certain areas of the country. Thx! That makes a lot more sense. I forgot to mention that we are living in the home while the floors are being refinished. Im in the process of finalizing refinishing options for my floors and Im a bit confused. water or oil) and same scope of work, chances are the installer is using an inferior polyurethane. Secondly, water borne poly smells less. I think Bona may have an option that is more amber, and if that’s the look you’re going for, it can do the job. It’s more what you are accustomed to seeing on hardwood floors. (I deleted the link to curb as it seemed to be showing a 403 error). Now when you resand, it will be lighter, but most likely the older area will still be a bit darker. Generally, I would recommend 3 coats of polyurethane to protect your steps as they are high traffic areas. Oh! Do they stain with oil and finish with Bona Traffic hd? Aside from scope of work (i.e. Thx for your help! Best, Vibeke. It doesn’t react or peel and it has low VOCs (compared to other oil based poly). Or does it look like the tinted sealant has been used? do those pictures look to you like the plain bona traffic hd comm. It protects the wood spills, oils (from your feet), dirt and variety of other things. We offer both options, but I usually recommend oil based polyurethane over water based for dark floors because: So, it seems like a no brainer, right? While it does take longer for the floors to dry with oil based poly – a few more days –  to me, that is generally worth it to add a few more years at the back end. This is Part 2 in my question to answer the question about Oil vs water based polyurethane and which is better for refinishing hardwood floors. What are the disadvantages? Thank you. Required fields are marked *. DOWNLOAD YOUR FLOOR TIMELINE HERE! 1. For customers already living in their home, I recommend that they do this while they will be away for a while. Bona Traffic is the best product for gray and white wash stains, as well as maple as it amberizes (or yellows) the least vs any other product. Just make sure he has a warranty on it and you’ve discussed in case you have some issues. Hi, Your one argument can be that water based actually has higher VOCs than oil based. Price wise, he’s charging the same. It looks great, dries quickly, and doesn’t amberize. I know that breathing protection is available, but for those of us actually applying, we know that they are bulky, uncomfortable and difficult to keep from sweating on the floor. Generally, if you are getting a much lower price on refinishing using a water borne poly, chances are the installer is using an inferior water borne product. Third, it sounds like the contractor gave you bad advice. Water-based Polyurethane $$ 4.3: 5. That being said, I would use Bona Traffic HD for least amberizing and highest durability (which you need.) I am most worried about dents and nicks being a softwood and then color as I do not want it to age to a deep amberish patina over time…like doug fir does. So it dents and scratches very easily. And, at those points in time, the water based poly looks way worse than the oil based – in fact, it’s usually peeling off and the hardwood is starting to look gray. My plan is to glue and float the floor. If you watch our YouTube video on screening and recoating a floor, skip to the very end where we're actually spreading the polyurethane; that's the best demonstration of our technique we can possibly give you.. 2. Having said that, Loba is the 2nd best I've used! Hi Deborah. I spoke to your colleague at Tribeca Flooring today and he suggested that maybe the flooring sub didn’t properly mix the two-part Bona poly product. So I’m not so sure that it’s really better for the environment. My contractor will stain with but I thought oil turns the wood yellow?? Significantly outperforms all urethane finishes, including Bona Traffic, in … Yes the oil based does smell strong, but we would much prefer to get the best durability and so the tradeoff is worth it. I am building a new house and asked my flooring contractor what he was planning on using for the hardwood. But, this protective layer will only help you for minor spills. You won’t know until the floor is sanded (even in a small area) and test. But, remember, if you don’t have a great installer and top notch equipment, the job will never come out well. The oil based won’t look right with that color as it will add yellow. I must have an allergy to the floor coating that i never experienced before. Why do I feel this way? Oil vs water based polyurethane: Which is better for refinishing hardwood floors? What are you suggestions? I have an air purifier and the AC running. You don’t see the yellow on dark wood. I have other people that prefer to do it because the wife if pregnant. Also, if you are doing a gray floor or a white washed floor, you really need to do water based. I want the teak floor looks modern and lighter; please advise which finish (oil or water) can help to reach this goal. Great site! This is a false perception. Please note that some people have commented that above picture is misleading because the samples shown are not on the same wood (the one on left looks like maple and the one on right looks like oak so it exaggerates the difference in water vs oil based poly.) I did that full time for around 10 years. We used to use this, and it’s a good brand. You can reach me at 914-937-2950 or at But, I rarely see that happen. When asked, he said that he used the oil to enhance the grain, but he didn’t like the look of the oil alone because it made the wood (hickory) look too yellow. It’s hard to say. Oil based will probably add a bit more yellow/yellow over time, but with teak that actually looks normal. Both Bona and Loba are good options, but Bona is a bit safer as it has stood the test of time. So either get the prefinished wood you love, or do unfinished wood and refinish it. Donald – I forget exactly – maybe a couple of years ago. You usually grout these. My house is on a slab with radiant heat so I need to use an engineered hardwood. You know I hadn’t thought about it that way before. Among the water based polyurethanes, Bona Traffic is definitely the best one. I would bring in a professional and see what they think. Will it be a problem for delaying that long? Vibeke – Where did I say 4 coats. You should not have a problem with bubbles. Thanks for your kind words. it is a large space of approximately 1500 sq. Satin or Semigloss? If so, feel free to buy me a coffee and support my blog. I believe it’s been a couple years since you wrote this piece on oil vs. water. What’ s also interesting is that almost all of my customers who have had water based polyurethane tell me they would NEVER do it again. I don’t know what was used, but generally, by 30 days all smells are gone. Most customers prefer the look of oil based poly. Hi Michelle – Yes, I remember speaking to you on the phone. I’ve also had many customers who have done water based and would never repeat that process again because it just did not last as long. And, often, these 2 go hand in hand – lower skilled workers tend to use inferior polyurethanes (both to cheapen their cost, and they may not have easy access to/knowledge of the higher grades of polyurethane. Rather than oil based another article or two on the market yellow and colors will not look pretty. 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