Sealing Wood Floors : Oil Vs. Water Based Poly

 
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Old 03-07-2005, 05:23 PM   #1
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Sealing Wood Floors : Oil Vs. Water Based Poly


What is the latest thinking on residential poly sealants for standard 2 1/4 red oak flooring? What is holding up the best for the $?

My ongoing assumptions are/have been oil is a bit cheaper, takes longer to fully dry and is about the same as far as durability to like kind water based, afterall its the poly that is doing the sealing, not the oil.

Any other thoughts out there?
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Old 03-07-2005, 05:38 PM   #2
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Re: Sealing Wood Floors : Oil Vs. Water Based Poly


Poly is crystal clear and will remain so forever. It's low odor and is water cleanup. I'm not real thrilled with it's longevity or personality.
IMHO oil is the only thing for floors. It imparts a color, smells (good in my opinion) and requires cleanup with mineral spirts. It's longevity is well proven and it darkens as it ages giving you that 'old wood floor look' that everyone tries to mimic.
I guess that it depends on what you are looking for.

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Old 03-09-2005, 12:21 PM   #3
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Re: Sealing Wood Floors : Oil Vs. Water Based Poly


Your message is not real clear. Sealers and topcoats are generally two different things. As for sealers, its just a matter of taste. For years, my default method was a water sealer trying to attain the lighest floor possible. After I saw some of those floors over time, they began to appear 'washed out'. A red oak floor will look like it has a white stain. I have gone to a quick-dry oil base sealer which gives a tradition oil-based, ambered look.

As for top coats, water wins, hands down. The Nat Wood Flooring Assoc, years ago, did durability tests. They represent both types of manufacturers. At that time, the best water was more durable than the best oil. Water has continued to progress since then. Keep in mind you do get what you pay for. The cheaper waters have more acyrlic content which improves workability, but are not as durable as the high poly-content finishes.
Water has a number of other advantages in residential, no fumes and quick dry. Price is considerably higher, but not a consideration if factored over time. Water does not have the body of oil and requires an extra coat.
If you are a homeowner-diyer, you may not be able to buy the best water, it must have a catalyser which is highly toxic and not readily handed out.

Last edited by Marco; 03-09-2005 at 12:28 PM.
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Old 03-09-2005, 11:34 PM   #4
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Re: Sealing Wood Floors : Oil Vs. Water Based Poly


My personal experiance indicates otherwise. I tend to be old school and shy away from sealers. That is what the first few coats do, raise the grain for final scraping/sanding and seal the surface.
I totally disagree with the findings of the NWFA. I always buy the best that money can buy. My association with water based poly has been dismal to say the least. Fortunately it has been limited to a few tables and a 22 ft. built-in. The lady with the built-in died, I hope that it gets me off of the hook.
I'm marine oil based all of the way. Play with it and you can duplicate most any finish. Rubbed oil will be rubbed oil forever.
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Old 03-10-2005, 10:49 AM   #5
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Re: Sealing Wood Floors : Oil Vs. Water Based Poly


Quote:
Originally Posted by Teetorbilt
My personal experiance indicates otherwise. I tend to be old school and shy away from sealers. That is what the first few coats do, raise the grain for final scraping/sanding and seal the surface.
I totally disagree with the findings of the NWFA. I always buy the best that money can buy. My association with water based poly has been dismal to say the least. Fortunately it has been limited to a few tables and a 22 ft. built-in. The lady with the built-in died, I hope that it gets me off of the hook.
I'm marine oil based all of the way. Play with it and you can duplicate most any finish. Rubbed oil will be rubbed oil forever.
So it would be fair to say that you have no direct experience with water base on a floor? With all due respect to the moderator, this is insufficient evidence to base an opinion on. Floor finishes are entirely different beasts than marine oil base. Entirely different formulas.
NWFA has done controlled tests that show the best water is more durable than the best oil. They represent both types and have no vested interest. I have recently seen floors I finished with water (Basic Coatings-Street Shoe)10-12 years ago in high traffic kitchens and halls. Those floors have done very, very well. Generally I was refinishing those floors because of other issues than finish wear(change of color, remodel, refrigerator leak, etc). On the flip side, I just did a water floor after 4 years done by another contractor. Heavily worn, a failure. You do get what you pay for and there are some poor water base finishes. How the floor is prepared and finish applied is also critical. It is not quite as easy to use as it looks if you want a durable product. Cheers.g
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Old 03-10-2005, 01:39 PM   #6
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Re: Sealing Wood Floors : Oil Vs. Water Based Poly


Interesting comments on sealing the floors. I is not a DIY question, I am doing a $200k investment remodel on a 3,500 all hardwood floor 40 year old house. I am basically asking for more insights on the topic, although I do trust my hardwood sub-contractor. His reco is basically neutral on oil vs. water, basically oil is more old house/old school in the ambering, water dries faster (saves about 4 days in the entire process), keeps its color, is a bit lighter over time.

I basically want to make sure I am not missing anything on the water based. From my perspective, water based cost about 5% more over oil and I really do not think anybody outside the industry cares, as long as it looks good.

The real trick to keep hardwoods nice is to keep the dirt and grit off of them, something you cannot control unless you live there.

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Old 03-10-2005, 02:05 PM   #7
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Re: Sealing Wood Floors : Oil Vs. Water Based Poly


Quote:
Originally Posted by Marker
His reco is basically neutral on oil vs. water, basically oil is more old house/old school in the ambering, water dries faster (saves about 4 days in the entire process), keeps its color, is a bit lighter over time.

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If you were to use a quick-dry oil sealer under water topcoats, you will gain the look of oil with the durability of water and lose at most one day(maybe), depending on the layout. IMO, it is the perfect world.
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Old 11-19-2005, 08:00 PM   #8
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Re: Sealing Wood Floors : Oil Vs. Water Based Poly


im my experance oil has gotten watered down over the years we use bona traffic it a water born poly with a crosslinker it a little hard to work with but in makes a great job looks even better with 3 top coats and is hard as a rock
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Old 11-19-2005, 10:12 PM   #9
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Re: Sealing Wood Floors : Oil Vs. Water Based Poly


Try Basic Coatings Street Shoe for the top coat and Basic Coatings Emulsion for the sealer. Made in America...can't beat it.
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Old 11-19-2005, 10:29 PM   #10
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Re: Sealing Wood Floors : Oil Vs. Water Based Poly


I like Dura Seal Quick Coat (oil) Sealer, then two coats of Water-Based finish on top. If the customer wants to pay more that is the way to go!!!!! We use X-terra and I like that new Eon 70 made by Bona. Oil base finish we use Basic
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Old 11-20-2005, 10:01 AM   #11
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Re: Sealing Wood Floors : Oil Vs. Water Based Poly


If you want a good over-the-counter finish that can be renewed by the homeowner, try Varathane water finishes. I've use their Elite Diamond water finish. It's pretty durable.
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Old 11-20-2005, 10:04 AM   #12
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Re: Sealing Wood Floors : Oil Vs. Water Based Poly


If your thinking oil takes longer to dry, you might be right. But within the first 24 hours, Swedish Finish is quite a bit more cured that any water finish. Just read the labels. With 24 hours Swedish finish is mostly cured, wereas any water finish including Traffic and Street Shoe will take up to 7 days to be "mostly" cured.
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Old 11-20-2005, 01:20 PM   #13
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Re: Sealing Wood Floors : Oil Vs. Water Based Poly


The water base finish we use is dry in 2 hours and fully cured in 72 Hours!!!
I like water because the oil turns yellow after a while, which in some cases I like that, But on Red oak no way!!....Turns yellowish/Orange to me and that just dont do it for me. So go oil Sealer and Water finish...also for the hardness as well.
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Old 11-20-2005, 06:05 PM   #14
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Re: Sealing Wood Floors : Oil Vs. Water Based Poly


I enjoy using both water and oil based. It depends on the customer also, some are only familer with an oil based product, and have never heard of water based poly. They shy away from it because they think it's too "new" and hasn't been proven. Then there are earth friendly people who like the fact there are less voc's in the the water poly.

I do enjoy the ease of clean up w/ bona traffic, or eon-70, but if i'm by myself I like that I can leave a puddle w/ oil based, and not worry about it drying in 5 min.
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Old 11-20-2005, 10:45 PM   #15
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Re: Sealing Wood Floors : Oil Vs. Water Based Poly


Quote:
Originally Posted by Donedat
If your thinking oil takes longer to dry, you might be right. But within the first 24 hours, Swedish Finish is quite a bit more cured that any water finish. Just read the labels. With 24 hours Swedish finish is mostly cured, wereas any water finish including Traffic and Street Shoe will take up to 7 days to be "mostly" cured.
nyet. Street Shoe claims to be mostly cured in 3 days. Factor in the extra days you spend applying Swedish and its a wash. They don't have to move out for water either.
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Old 11-21-2005, 10:32 AM   #16
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Re: Sealing Wood Floors : Oil Vs. Water Based Poly


Take Synteko Classic for example. First coat is dry in 5 hours. The final coat is dry in 5 hours. 24 hours after the final coat is complete you can move furnature back on it...most people wait the traditional 48...and 2 to 3 weeks for area rugs.

Some folks think water finishes are totally safe so they spread w/o masks and tell their customers they can sleep in the house at night. But if you get the MSDS's on any water finish, we are not supposed to breath the vapors and prolonged occupational exposure to it is bad on the physiology and saying it is ok for your customers to sleep in the house the first night while the finish is drying is a bad idea and a possible liability down the road. I can see class action lawsuit in 50 years on behalf of all customers who were told water finish is "safe" and "environmentally friendly".

Long story short, it is a matter of preference and no industrial use finish product is "safe" or ok to poor down the drain.
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Last edited by Donedat; 11-21-2005 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 11-24-2005, 07:01 AM   #17
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Re: Sealing Wood Floors : Oil Vs. Water Based Poly


use the quick dry oil sealer from either bona kemi, polo plaz, or dura seal.then use traffic from bona, or 2k from basic coatings or xterra from dura seal.you will end up with the look of oil and the durability of the 2 part water based poly the higher end stuff -you get what you pay for . justin
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Old 11-24-2005, 07:57 PM   #18
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Re: Sealing Wood Floors : Oil Vs. Water Based Poly


Traffic is the most durable harwood floor finish available at any price. It is clear, though, so if you want an amber tint, use an oil based sealer.
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Old 11-27-2005, 03:59 AM   #19
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Re: Sealing Wood Floors : Oil Vs. Water Based Poly


Quote:
Originally Posted by ccoffer
Traffic is the most durable harwood floor finish available at any price. It is clear, though, so if you want an amber tint, use an oil based sealer.
I know that used to be true but not anymore. These guys swear by that Xterra. There is just so much new stuff there popping out of the labs these days. There is an ad I saw in a magazine,....it was some kind of diamond stuff. who knows.
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Old 11-28-2005, 09:34 PM   #20
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Re: Sealing Wood Floors : Oil Vs. Water Based Poly


Quote:
Originally Posted by adams,b
I know that used to be true but not anymore. These guys swear by that Xterra. There is just so much new stuff there popping out of the labs these days. There is an ad I saw in a magazine,....it was some kind of diamond stuff. who knows.
Is it Diamonlac? That's been on the market forever. Not as good as Traffic or Streetshoe.

I really don't like mixing oil and water. Either I coat with oil or I coat with water. My reason for this is that I do a lot of repairs where a previous contractor mixed the two. When I discover that, I usually have to resand the whole job. Pretty hard to feather a repair when your not sure what kind of finish was originally used.

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