water based vs oil based hardwood floor refinishing?

casey3February 18, 2008

Any input on which is better durability wise? Has anyone used the water-based method on oak floors? We're set to do oil based, but I'm considering water based b/c of the cat, time we'll have to be out of the house, fumes even afterwards, etc.

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Our floor guy is going to do 4 coats of water-based polyurethane. he swears it's just as good as the oil - and since we are doing the whole downstairs, a lot less disruptive.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 2:18PM
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We have water-based on our oak floors, satin finish. I have no idea about the durability issue. We were told water was just as good as oil, but the floor guy would've told us anything...

The floors look great, though, and it's been 3 years.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 2:18PM
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If you go with water, then you will want a premium brand and you may want to stain the oak first, if you are wanting them to look mellow lioke oil does over time. A good water brand is Traffic.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 2:19PM
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we have a very busy household, 4 teenagers, dog, etc and our floor guy very highly recommended oil over water - we have three coats in the kitchen and two thoughout the rest of the house - it looks and is holding up beautifully....a friend has three coats of water base that is showing wear and tear after two years (less busy household...only two teens!) - yes you have to be out of your home for several days - but there was very little if any odor when we returned...

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 2:50PM
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I was also told (by someone without any interest in selling me the service or product) that oil is more durable so thats what we went with.

I will warn you that it is extremely stinky and must be very toxic while curing. If thats a concern for you, the water is your choice.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 4:55PM
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Someone mentioned Traffic, by Bona. That's the best. It's water based but with a hardener. Water based is always lighter so one either stains the floor first, or uses an oil based prep coat. Call the people at Bona and they'll tell you how. Make sure you get Traffic, and not the cheaper air cured stuff. The hardener is mixed at the time of application.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 6:34PM
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Thanks so much everyone for your input. I'm talking to the refinishing company today and feel like I have a lot more info before having the conversation.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 9:42AM
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Our floor guy rec oil - 4 coats on new white oak in Kit - it is ready for another coat which he also highly rec every 1-2 yrs before any of the finish is breaking down - they rough up the surface coat & apply another - beats having to refinish or living w/a yucky looking floor!

don't use any oil based products on the hw flooring or they will not be able to re-apply

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 10:16AM
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One thing to consider is that there is a difference in the look of the finishes. On oak oil will be more yellow and will continue to yellow. Water, when used with a water sealer, is more pastel like and the grain of the oak is less aggressive. We preferred to tone down the oak and are very happy. Test some samples.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 10:36AM
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Just talked to the floor refinisher and he said that on the older white oak floors the oil based swedish finish works much better and will be more durable. He convinced me to go w/ the oil based, especially knowing we'll be out of house for a week on vacation during the time.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 11:03AM
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Sounds like you have made your decision but if you need more advice post your question on the flooring forum as there are some great hardwood floor experts over there. My only concern with the oil base would be yellowing in the future; I think the poly does not yellow but those "floor guys" would know. HTH

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 11:16AM
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