Wooden floors are designed or constructed to look very good and last long, longer than most forms of flooring. They give interior spaces a cozy and natural warmth look which beautifies the environment. However, if one does not take care of their hardwood floors, they might end up causing wear and tear due to constant use.
Keeping your wooden floors nice and neat is important and giving them a glossy finish would bring out their luxurious nature. Polyurethane products are just the best solution for your project. It helps protect your floors while keeping them neat for a long period of time. In this article, we are going to look at some of the water-based polyurethane you can get your hands on in the market.
- Our’s Top Choice: General Finishes High-Performance Water-Based Polyurethane
- Best for Large Projects: Bona Mega Wood Floor Finish Satin
- Best for Residential: Minwax Water Based Oil-Modified Polyurethane
- Best polyurethane floor finish: RUST-OLEUM FBA 230031 Varathane Gallon Gloss Waterborne Diamond Floor Finish
- Best for Commercial Use: Bona Traffic HD Commercial Satin
General Finishes High-Performance Water-Based Polyurethane is my top choice for a durable topcoat finish on wood floors. This product offers a clear finish, resistance against wear and tear, and staining, the option between satin or gloss finishes, quarts or gallons options upon purchase, and the ability to be applied with either a brush roller or sprayer. In addition, this polyurethane dries quickly to provide a tough finish that will last.
General Finishes High-Performance Water-Based Polyurethane is one option that can help prevent your hardwood floors from yellowing over time. This product contains UV inhibitors that help protect the wood from the sun’s damaging rays. In addition, it dries quickly to form a tough finish that will resist scratches and staining.
I recently found a piece of hardwood flooring in my garage. I decided to test General Finishes High-Performance Water-Based Polyurethane on it to see how it performs. I applied the polyurethane with a brush and roller, and it was very easy to use. I wanted to test the durability of the finish, so I scratched it with a screwdriver. The finish held up well and did not scratch. I then spilled some water on the floor and let it sit for a few minutes. The water beaded up on the surface and did not soak into the wood. I was very impressed with how well this product performed.
- Dries quickly
- Can be recoated in 2 hours
- Low odor and VOCs
- Available in satin and gloss finishes
- Must be applied to a clean, dry surface
- The surface must be sanded before application
You can use this water-based polyurethane in both residential properties and commercial building floors.
With Bona Mega Wood Floor Finish, you can recoat your floors in as little as two hours. This quick-drying and low-odor finish is also much safer for your home than traditional oil-based finishes since it has lower VOC levels. You can choose between a satin or gloss finish when using Bona Mega Wood Floor Finish.
For best results, use a brush, roller, or sprayer to apply this finish evenly over a clean and dry surface. First, sand your project surface smoothly. By following these steps properly Bona Mega Wood Floor Finish will give you a durable finish that will last for years to come.
I put this Bona Wood Finish to the test on a small side project, and I was very pleased with what I saw. Not only did it dry quickly, but there were zero streaks or bubbles. You can use a brush, roller, or sprayer to apply it evenly. All in all, I would recommend this product for interior floors in both commercial and residential buildings.
- It has a low odor.
- It dries quite fast.
- The application is very easy.
- It has a glossy look but it is not slippery.
- It is durable.
- The finishing looks great on the hardwood.
- It needs regular reapplication because it wears off after a while.
Minwax Water Based Polyurethane is perfect for anyone wanting a lustrous finish on their wood floors that will last. This product comes in both satin and gloss finishes can be applied quickly and easily with a brush or roller, and has a rapid drying time of two hours!
I tried out Minwax Water-Based Polyurethane on a small side project, and I found it exceeded my expectations. Not only did it dry quickly, but the application was even with no streaks or bubbles. You can use a brush, roller, or sprayer to apply it evenly. I like that it’s available in both satin and gloss finishes. Overall, I would recommend this product for wood floors in both commercial and residential buildings – Minwax makes great products!
- This water-based poly dries easily.
- It has little or low odor.
- It is easy to clean with just soap and clean water.
- High resistance to scratching and abrasion.
- It protects the beauty of your wood.
- May cause eye irritation during application.
The RUST-OLEUM FBA 230031 Varathane Gallon Gloss Waterborne Diamond Floor Finish is characterized by its high resistance to stains, scratches, and abrasions as well as its superior durability.
The company also tested and made sure that no cleaning products would react with this product. Users can clean the finished floors with various cleaning chemicals which would not affect your work. The RUST-OLEUM FBA 230031 Varathane Gallon Gloss Waterborne Diamond Floor Finish is also used to repair dented or stained floors. Professionals advise that coating with this chemical twice will restore any surface to its original taste while giving it a glowing or glossy finish.
- It gives off little or no odor.
- It dries off quickly within 2 hours.
- Can be used to cover stains and repair dented surfaces.
- Works on all wooden surfaces including hardwood.
- It can be cleaned with any cleaning product.
- It can form cloudiness due to high humidity.
- Might slack on deeper scratches.
It is certified by GREENGUARD for indoor air quality. It can be used in various places such as offices, shopping malls, stores, garages, theaters, etc. Due to its low VOC content, it is not harmful to the person applying the coating. A minimum of two coatings is required to get the best results while a third coating should be applied if it’s used on a commercial or residential surface that has a large flow of traffic.
- It comes with a hardener.
- It is durable in nature.
- It dries as fast as 2-3 hours.
- It is resistant to scratches and stains.
- Once used, no sealer is needed on a stained floor.
- Users sometimes start to see scratches after a period of time.
Why is Purchasing a Good Water-Based Poly Important?
Whether you are a DIY enthusiast, a professional woodworker, or a hobbyist, Purchasing a quality water-based poly is not only needed but absolutely necessary. If you make use of Low-quality water-based poly, you can make mistakes that can lead to loss of materials, and time, and an increase in difficulty when trying to achieve your desired project. Take your time and make research the product you decide to buy and invest in the one that meets all your needs and specifications.
A good water-based poly is very affordable but it is important that you compare different products and their prices before you make any decision. If you have different products available, rest each and every one of them on a sample strip of wood so you can determine the texture, color, scent, durability, drying time, etc. Once the decision is already made, try as much as possible to buy more than you feel you need. You do not want to run out of polyurethane in the middle of your project.
Using Water-Based Polyurethanes
Whitewash, gray stain, or greige or gray blend
When you are using any of these, use only water-based poly. Using an oil-based poly will turn these yellow and so is using a low-quality water-based poly just that it won’t be as bad as oil-based polys but they will have an amber-like appearance which will turn yellowish over a period of time.
Refinishing maple and going natural
Maple is far lighter than oak and it is more sensitive to ultraviolet rays and sunlight, so if you decide on using an oil-based product, it will change its color to yellow and look faded or outdated within a year.
Make a more natural and lighter look
It is recommended to use water-based poly rather than oil-based poly because you want to avoid yellow coloration on the floor.
Short drying time
When using a water-based poly, it can go a long way to save you 1-2 days of wait and you can get to rearrange your properties back to their original state. Since it dries faster than oil-based poly, your pets can be able to make use of the floor sooner and they tend to prevent scratches over a period of time.
When Odor is a major factor
This could be a result of you or your family member, preferring a font or rather reduced odor. You would also want Polyurethanes which are low in VOCs if you live in an apartment, are concerned about the Neighbour, or if you have younger ones that are in danger when exposed to VOCs.
When is it Recommended to Use Oil-Based Polyurethanes rather than Water-Based?
Darker tones possible
If you decide or prefer dark stain, oil-based poly is the way to go. This tends to look better and make your finishing more attractive.
More affordable price
Oil-based poly is much more affordable compared to water-based poly, especially if you are comparing the oil-based poly to a high-quality water-based poly.
Dark wood types
Woods such as Brazillian Walnut or Brazillian Cherry are often dark and sometimes red and they tend to look better and richer when coated with oil-based polyurethane.
HOW TO APPLY WATER-BASED POLYURETHANE?
The method or mode of application for water-based poly is very conversant and almost “the same”, as an oil-based poly. Start out by applying a very thin layer of coating with a cloth, foam, or a fine brush. Try as much as possible to work with the grain then avoid raising the grain by applying too much coating. The first coating dries within two hours and after that, you can apply the second coating. There is no need for sanding before application just as it is done with oil-based poly. Plan on using 4 coats of water-based poly on the floor and 3 coats of water-based poly on light projects.
HOW MANY COATS OF WATER-BASED POLYURETHANE ON HARDWOOD FLOORS?
Professional woodworkers recommend a minimum of 3 coats of water-based poly. This is because water-based poly coats are thinner with harder layers than oil-based poly.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR WATER-BASED POLYURETHANE TO DRY ON HARDWOOD FLOORS?
For oil-based poly, it usually takes up to 30 days to fully cure but for water-based poly, it usually takes about two weeks to fully cure. Meanwhile, you can start walking or moving furniture 24 hours after the coating has been applied.
WHICH IS BETTER OIL-BASED OR WATER-BASED POLYURETHANE?
Water-based poly is clear while oil-based poly has an amber hue shade. Water-based poly will remain clear while oil-based poly will continue to darken and amber over a period of time for the lifetime of the hardwood floor. Water-based poly takes much lesser time to dry than oil-based poly and it can be recoated up to 4 times a day, unlike oil-based poly. When it comes to features and specifications, water-based poly tops the chart but it is much more expensive than oil-based poly. If you don’t mind the price, you should consider going for water-based poly because it is far better than oil-based poly.
HOW TO THIN WATER-BASED POLYURETHANE?
If your poly or vanished is water-based and it seems too thick for use, thin it down by adding water to the product, not more than 10% of the total volume. Users can also thin solvent-based poly by adding 10% mineral spirits (i.e. If it is legal in your region or state).
A polyurethane coating is essential for a hardwood floor because it provides a layer that acts as a protective cover so that you do not wear out your product. Water-based poly is as effective as oil-based poly and they provide a lighter and clearer color impact. We have gone through the various products we believe are the best when it comes to water-based polyurethanes and we hope to have helped you come to a decision. If you haven’t made up your mind yet, you can consider researching further on your choice.