how to finish site-finished walnut (oil/water based combination)

illinigirlMarch 31, 2014

I am in the middle of getting quotes on site finished walnut flooring. We are looking at 5" plank width. I visited the whole saler this morning, and in talking with them they suggested one coat of oil SEALER, followed by 2 coats of water based (Bona HD traffic) for durability. (we are going with Extra Matte for low sheen).

Are we on the right track with this?

One installer/finisher I spoke with seemed to follow this procedure, and another I spoke with said they typically just use 3 coats of the Bona Traffic and no oil based sealer. I was told by the whole saler that the oil sealer will bring out a deep richness to the walnut that an oil based normally wouldn't on it's own. They suggested staying within the bona line for the oil based sealer as well.

Is this true about the color? Is this the best direction to go?


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Water bourne urethanes tend to do funny things with walnut. It looks good until the finish begins to age. Then it lightens the floor.

So oil sealer is good idea. I normally do two coats oil and one water bourne coat.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 6:07PM
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Is the oil sealer the same step as the stain? Or is it a separate step:

oil coat
water coat


2) oil based stain
water coat

One person quoted us for one oil coat then 3 waterborne coats- that's too many water coats, right?

Another quoted us like you said- 2 oil then 1 water, but noted that it would be 2 weeks after the oil coat before the water coat could be put down. Is that correct?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 7:56PM
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If you want some color to the walnut then you would use stain. Although some may use a nuetral stain as a sealer.

But generally yes the oil sealer would be the same step as stain.

Too many coats? The general standard is a sealer then 2 coats. But having a third coat doesnt effect anything. Some may choose to do the 3rd coat. It all depends on the contractor doing the work. Just make sure that if they charge for that "extra" coat that it is reflected in their bid. When you have someone claiming they will do 5-7 coats is when you should start questioning.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 9:57PM
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As far as timing goes with when to put that water coat over oil. Thats when you will get differing opinions. I personally dont wait that long unless specified. But if that contractor feels more confident in waiting that long then so be it. No harm except you waiting the extra time before you get back to your normal life.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 10:00PM
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Thank you! You have been so helpful!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 11:46PM
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Note that Bona says to first put a coat of either stain or sealer, then 2 coats of poly (Bona Traffic). Don't listen to the guy who just puts poly without sealer.

We did a pine floor with walnut inlays and used sealer + 3 coats of Bona Traffic, just because we had extra and figured we might as well use it up. It's held up great.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 2:41PM
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Thanks Weedyacres-
The flooring specialist I think we are going to use says that he stays in the Bona Line.....and that he will use an oil based stain/sealer, then another layer of sealer (forgot the exact name) then 2 coats of the Traffic. He said he will do extra coat if we want at no extra cost. I am going to view his work of a walnut floor at a home nearby......and he is going to make up some samples for stain for me next week. He said he did one in Provencial stain (sp?).

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 4:01PM
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