Hardwood floor is one of the specialties that many homeowners prefer. However, many homeowners looking to refinish the hardwood are unsure what type of hardwood refinishing is best for their home.
So, the conflict between water based vs oil based hardwood floor refinishing is common and only the best hardwood flooring expert can help you with that.
Choosing A Method Of Hardwood Floor Refinishing
Hardwood floor refinishing is quite the process, and sanding is just the beginning. Once the floor is safely and effectively prepared after the sanding process, you are faced with an important decision- what type of finish should you apply to the hardwood floor?
At first, it may seem like a minor decision, but in reality, the choice has the potential to have a large impact on you, whether in terms of cost, timing in moving back into your home, or factors contributing to your family’s health.
An expert can help you pick the best water based floor finish or oil based one as per your need.
Oil Based Vs Water – Based Stain For Hardwood Floors – Two Main Hardwood Finish Options
There are two basic types of floor finishes that you can apply to your hardwood as a final step in the hardwood refinishing process.
Check out the pros and cons of each option to help you choose the right one for your home.
Both methods are highly effective and offer good protection for your floor, yet there are important differences worth considering.
In fact, there are a number of factors that contractors and end-users must consider before choosing water based vs oil based hardwood floor refinishing.
The main thing is to educate yourself as to what options are available in order to achieve the best balance between the look the end-users want, the suitability of the finish to their lifestyle, and the impact on indoor air quality.
Oil Based Hardwood Floor Finish
The first basic type of floor finish is the oil based polyurethane for hardwood floors. Oil based finishes usually have a darker hue and require fewer coats. Still, this doesn’t necessarily equate to faster application.
Wondering how to apply oil based polyurethane to wood floors? Each coat of finish may on average require approximately 5 hours of waiting time. This includes a final coat wait time that can be as long as 12 hours.
As you may have guessed, you may have to find another place to sleep for some days.
Along with the long waiting time come potentially irritable fumes that can aggravate those who are sensitive to strong odors. These fumes tend to linger for a time even after the finish has dried.
Pros Of Oil-Based Hardwood Floor Finish
- Rich glowing finish
- Two coats required
- Long-lasting (no need for recoating if well maintained)
- Reasonable and low cost
Water Based Hardwood Floor Finish
The second basic type of hardwood flooring finish is the best water based polyurethane for floors. Water based finish appears milky in the can but appears more or less when applied to the hardwood floor.
The number of coats applied in order to give ultimate protection is on average 2 coats. This is more than the number of coats required for oil-based finishes.
Now, the good news is, there is no need to worry about timing or moving out of the home for more than a day or two.
The best water-based stain for hardwood floors has a quick drying time and allows you to recoat every two hours. The main reason more coats have to be applied in comparison to oil-based finishes is that the percentage of solids contained in the finish in lower.
These solids are what promote the protective finish. When you factor in drying time, the entire process can be finished by the evening depending on the project size and if you start early in the day.
Another bonus of using water based finish is the ease of clean up. It can easily wash up with water, and so can your tools. This benefit promotes easy and fluid applications, minimizing room for error.
Apart from these benefits, the best hardwood floor finish such as water based finish is associated with much less VOC (volatile organic compounds) in comparison to oil-based.
Choosing water-based finish minimizes strong and harmful odors, thus posing less of a threat to those who are sensitive to smells as well as the environment.
In order to make it last longer, you must know how to apply polyurethane to wood floors.
Pros of water-based hardwood floor finish
- Fast drying time ( 2-4 hours between coats)
- Low odor; low VOCs
- Doesn’t yellow like oil-based polyurethane
- Easy to apply
Finally, when wondering between water based vs oil based hardwood floor refinishing, you must know that both are good options. However, you must choose between the refinishing options:
Touch-up – for surface scratches and normal wear and tear, lightly sand the finish and apply the topcoat. You’ll want to use the same type of finish product that was on the original flooring.
Overhaul – for more damaged flooring, you’ll want to completely sand the old finish off down to the bare wood. Once you’ve done that, you can apply the finish.