As we all know, there are two types of polyurethane: water-based and oil-based.Both have their own pro’s and con’s.Let’s take a little closer look at both of them.

1.Oil-based polyurethane.The most popular so far( of course, with the new law that makes it more expensive and harder to get, things are going to change quickly).Durable, two coats of it on top of a coat of sealer, is normally more than enough.Gives an impression of thick buildup(it’s just an impression, though.In reality it’s much thinner than you think, which doesn’t make it bad in any way), and that deep amber look that everybody love.Most of the floor companies and the homeowners prefer to use this type of poly, because it is also very easy to apply.

Now here is something every homeowner should know.There are two types of oil-based poly: high VOC(Volatile Organic Compounds), which is affected by the new law and the low VOC, which is not affected.All the information above is about high VOC poly, which you, dear homeowner, cannot get anymore in 1 or 5 gallon containers.The only way to buy high VOC poly is to get it in quarts.So next time you’re going to the hardware store, make sure, you are buying your poly that way, unless you want all sorts of trouble, that low VOC poly gives you: heavy brush marks, very fast drying time on the surface, while you’re applying it, but very slow actual drying time(sometimes it’s still like a gum even after two days of wait)- all the good stuff.

Ok, where were we? Oh, yes, oil-based poly.Here are some minuses: dries much longer than water-based, smells a lot(and I mean it) and not safe for the environment, which, I know very important for more and more people day by day.

2.Now let’s talk water. This is very durable polyurethane.With 1 coat of sealer and three coats of water-based poly your floor is going to be much harder, than with oil-based.Dries very quickly: in half an hour after you applied the first coat, you can go ahead and put another one.You can literary finish the whole flooring project in one day, where if you would use the oil-based, it could take you 2-3 days.

By applying it without using a sealer, your floor is going to look milky, although, over the years it will yellow up a little.I would recommend to use a sealer first(Lenmar quick-dry sealer is perfect for that purpose): that will give your floors an amber look, not as rich as you would get with an oil-based finish, of course. This, the price of it(on average twice higher then the price for the oil-based poly) and a little bit complicated application process, are  actually the main minuses.Otherwise it’s great.

2 Responses to Polyurethane

  • nichole smith says:

    yes i too used the pro finisher and typical stain- cherry on maple wood- got that scary milky film….. now what.?

  • admin says:

    It’s hard to say.The first option is to wait:sometimes it dissapears with the time.The second is to sand the floor again(I know it hurts,but what can you do?). I have to say that eventually this milky film will dissapear, but it could take up to a year or two for it to happen.Sorry.
    Of course, I don’t know the whole deal,but these are the first things that came into my mind.

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