Choosing the best polyurethane for hardwood floors is a difficult task. It requires that you know what to look for in your product so it will last longer and provide better protection from spills, scuffs, scratches, and abrasions. There are a number of different criteria that you should be considering when selecting the best oil based polyurethane products for your hardwood flooring. We will go in-depth into how to select the right product for your needs in order to find the perfect balance between cost and quality!
Wood Whiz- Eric Hawkings
Welcome to woodwhiz.com. My name is Eric Hawkins. I love all things wood. After getting a degree in engineering, I followed my passion of working with wood in different capacities like woodworking, staining, polishing, oils, crafts, finishing, refinishing and much more.
Criteria for selecting an Oil-Based Polyurethane:
1. Dry time: Dry time is a critical factor when comparing oil-based polyurethanes. Longer dry times can lead to extended exposure to humidity and moisture, which could potentially cause the finish of your flooring to deteriorate over time. And not to mention the long waiting hours which can delay the whole project.
2. Finish: When selecting an oil-based polyurethane, it’s important that you choose one with the specific qualities desired in your hardwood floors such as satin or gloss finishes, durability against scuffs/scratches/abrasions. An oil-based poly with a high sheen may not provide good durability against scuffs and scratches but might do better in higher traffic areas like clinics where patients often wear shoes indoors.
3. Cost Efficiency: The most important consideration is what your budget allows. Oil-based polyurethanes range in price due to factors like quantity, brand, quality etc.
4. Durability: Durability is important when considering selecting an oil-based polyurethane. Some oil-based poly are designed for high foot traffic like a manufacturing facility or busy restaurant while some are more resistant to scratches and abrasion. It is important to check the manufacturer’s recommendation about what they think would work best on your hardwood flooring.
5. Eco Friendly: Eco-friendly products may be a consideration for some people; unlike other types of finishes, the solvents used in some oil-based polyurethanes will evaporate completely and leave no harmful residues behind while some may have a very strong smell and not very eco friendly.
In our review process of evaluating the best oil-based poly, we have taken the above 5 criteria into account, tested each product and generated a list of the top-rated products for your consideration. We have compared each product on these factors and have come up with honest and unbiased reviews on the ones that we think are best.
Top 5 Oil based polyurethanes
Our Top Pick – Zar Exterior Oil-Based Poly
FAQ’s about Oil-Based Polyurethanes
For woodworking oil-based polyurethanes are abundant and easy to use, but there area few questions surrounding their application and how they age. Read on for more information about these amazing products.
1. How long does a Polyurethane Finish Last?
Typically a finish will last around 10 years, with good care up to 20. The amount of sunlight and the amount of use that the piece in question gets will determine the overall life. Some finishes can last up to 30 years with good care, but 15 years is a typical mid point. At a minimum you can expect 10 years of life out of a good finish. You might have to touch up once in a while and when necessary you just sand it down and apply another layer to refinish the piece.
2. Are Oil-based Polyurethane Waterproof?
Oil-based polyurethane are not completely waterproof, but they are water resistant. It can be used outside and in places that get wet, but should not be used in places where water will pool and sit for long periods of time. For general use it’s close enough to waterproof and it does seal wood to prevent damage. A sealed deck won’t rot and the side of a house won’t get damaged, but you wouldn’t want to use it to seal wood at the bottom of a pond or in a water feature.
3. Does Oil-based Polyurethane Darken Wood?
An oil-based polyurethane will darker or apply an amber hue to wood over time. This often leads to a richer look, but can be frustrating if you want your wood to look exactly like it did when you made or bought the piece. The darkening process can be slowed by limiting the amount of sun exposure, but generally you will notice a slight darkening effect over time. Sanding down the old coats before applying new ones when resealing the piece in question will reverse the effect for a time.
5.Can You Mix Tung Oil With Polyurethane?
You can use tung Oil with polyurethane and it’s actually a great way to get the best finish. tung oil helps create a more rustic yet rich look, making it look like you put in more time than you did on your finish. Many professionals prefer a mixture of tung and linseed oils to be used with their polyurethane.
4.Do You Sand the Final Coat of Polyurethane?
You do not typically sand the final coat of polyurethane when finishing a piece. Many people do thin the last coat and then buff it to a smooth finish. Sanding unless done with a very fine grit and done extremely lightly will lead to a cloudy finish that ruins the effort put into the piece. This makes it even more important to sand the lower layers to ensure a smooth finish.
6. Does Oil-based Polyurethane Turn Yellow?
Oil-based polyurethane does yellow a tiny bit, but modern versions do so less than older ones. The yellowing is of a light amber hue, and light coats with proper drying time between them lead to less yellowed pieces than improperly applied coats. The yellowing effect will get a bit darker over time, so plan for this process to take place.