The finish you use in your floors play a big role on how durable they can be, as there is such things as the right floors and the wrong finish. Two standard types of finish are Water Based Polyurethane and Oil based Polyurethane.

Water based polyurethane is the greener option, with lower Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, it dries faster and smells less than Oil poly – which benefits individuals who live in co-ops. The drying time for water based poly is usually 2 days and you can walk on it the same night. Solids are the parts of the finish made up of different molecules that actually protect your floors. Water based poly contains around 30-35% solids, in comparison with 45-50% solid composition in Oil base poly which is why application usually includes 2-3 coats of finish. Water based poly usually costs more than oil based poly. This poly has lower sheen compared to the oil poly, which is usually more glossy and richer in color.

Oil based Polyurethane has richer and shinier look compared to water poly – which can become darker with time. This finish will release strong fumes, and can take 3-5 days of drying time, depending on humidity levels. The durability between the two polys are comparable, as the oil poly outlasts water poly by at least 4-5 years (also due to the solids composition). If you live in the home, this can save your money and time in refinishing.

The rundown: Finishes do not come in one-size-fits-all choices, and therefore, the best finish for you is the one that matches your specific expectations. We hope that the few tips about each finish can help you make the choice that fits your floors.

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