Wood Floor Finish Options: Oil & Water

The most common type of wood floor finish we deal with in the residential flooring industry is polyurethane. This is a surface sealer that forms a durable topcoat to protect natural or stained wood. Polyurethane comes in oil and water-based varieties. These products are available in a range of finishes from a glossy shine to a soft satin. Here’s a rundown of the pros and cons of oil vs. water:

Oil-Based Topcoats

  • Bring out the rich texture of wood and deepen the color, turning lighter wood a nice honey color
  • Thicker formula requires fewer coats
  • Has hard finish
  • Tends to level out more evenly
  • Dries slowly (five hours between coats plus an overnight drying at the end)
  • Pretty intense fumes
  • Solvents used in cleanup

Water-Based Topcoats

  • Only change the color of wood very slightly, leaving the existing stain or unstained wood looking close to its original state
  • Fast drying (about two hours between coats)
  • Low fumes
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Cleanup is done with water
  • May be more expensive than oil-based products

Both types of finish require regular maintenance to stay looking their best. Give us a call to learn more about our hard buffing and screen and coat program!  301-990-7775

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