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Categories Hardwood, Hardwood Refinshes

Do You Want Water-Based or Oil-Based Polyurethane For Your Hardwood Floors?

There are three typical types of hardwood flooring finish. There is shellac, polyurethane, and varnish. Shellac has fallen out of favor in many circles. There is a lively debate about polyurethane and varnish; however, the concern of this article is polyurethane. Polyurethane is the most common type of finish. It is essentially a liquid plastic that is either wholly synthetic or in a mixture with resin. It’s applied in a couple of coats and allowed to dry. Once it dries, it essentially creates a clear plastic cover over your floors. It is scratch-resistant, waterproof, and easy to clean. However, you still have another choice to make after you choose polyurethane. Do you want water-based or oil-based?

How Many Coats?

If you are having a professional touch up a small part of your hardwood flooring or you’re refinishing a room that is not often used, the number of coats isn’t as important. However, if you’re having the floors refinished in a busy part of the house, the number of coats is important. A water-based polyurethane goes on clear and dries enough to be coated again in about two hours. However, it requires several coats.

An oil-based polyurethane goes on with a slight amber tinge. It takes about six hours or more before another coat can be applied. However, far fewer coats are needed. Strictly based on the number of coats and the speed with which they can be applied, water-based polyurethane is the easier solution.

Which Looks Better?

As stated earlier, water-based polyurethane goes on clear, and oil-based polyurethane goes on with a slight amber tint. If you want to preserve your flooring exactly as it appears, then water-based is the best option. It goes on clear but will provide a little bit of depth to the color by reflecting the light.

On the other hand, certain types of wood benefit greatly from the slight amber hue of an oil-based polyurethane. The amber complements the natural tones of wood very well. Based on appearance, oil-based polyurethane is probably the winner.

What About Costs?

Water-based polyurethane generally costs about twice as much as oil-based. Considering that you’ll need to apply at least four coats of water-based poly compared to about two for oil-based, that means that it could actually cost more than double to use water-based.


In conclusion, water-based polyurethane goes on crystal clear, has low odor, and dries very quickly. Oil-based polyurethane gives a warm glow to wood, takes longer to dry, and has a strong odor. Water-based finishes also cost more. You should ask a professional and request samples of the two finishes applied to hardwood flooring.

Categories Uncategorized

he Costs Associated With Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring is loved by many homeowners, even though it is not always the least expensive option. Hardwood adds warmth and color to your home; it’s also very durable and versatile. A well-maintained hardwood floor should last you for a lifetime. Therefore, any price considerations should be considered in the context of the floor lasting for decades. Here are the price considerations.

Cost of the Hardwood Flooring

The hardwood flooring itself will be your first expense. There are about three tiers of flooring. Softwoods are the most affordable but also the most vulnerable to damage and moisture. If you’re looking for hardwood, you’ll start in the middle of the price range. For between about $5 and $10 per square foot, you can get teak, cherry, oak and similar woods. These are very versatile woods that can provide you with a quality floor. If you’re looking for something more rare and high end, you’ll probably pay closer to $8 to $14 per square foot. Fortunately, the installation costs don’t change for different types of hardwoods.

Installation Costs

Hardwood flooring installation will generally cost you about $5 to $10 per square foot. There are some specialists who can do it for less, and some that will provide more extensive services at higher costs. For example, you might be charged extra for removing the furniture from your home. Furthermore, you could incur extra costs associated with building a new subfloor, replacing existing joists, or disposing of your old flooring.

If you want to keep the installation costs as low as possible, you should consider moving the furniture yourself. Also, if you are capable, you should do some of the removal yourself. That will speed up the process as well as save you some money.

Engineered Hardwood Costs

The costs previously stated are typically those for solid hardwood and solid hardwood installation. The prices for engineered hardwood will fluctuate more than solid hardwood. Typically, it is less expensive to buy engineered hardwood. However, there is also more fluctuation in installation costs. Depending on the type of engineered product you choose, installing could be more or less than what it could cost to install solid hardwood.

The best way to know for sure is to measure your flooring and then talk with a specialist. The expert will be able to advise you on different amounts of money for different products and services. An inspection might also be necessary to determine the state of your subfloor.

Categories Hardwood

Should I Repair or Replace my Water Damaged Floor?

Water and hardwood flooring are not a good match. Mopping up water quickly usually helps but sometimes there are plumbing emergencies that must be dealt with. Hardwood flooring can be repaired when damaged by water but sometimes the damaged flooring will need to be replaced. Severe water damage can rarely be salvaged without expert help.

Wood is an organic material and can only resist water for a small period of time. Removing the source of water quickly is important to prevent damage. If a pipe breaks or leaks your floor may be adversely affected and damaged.

  • Signs your floor is water damaged-
  • Staining or discoloring
  • Cupping and buckling
  • Floorboards are lifting especially at the ends
  • Mold
  • Popping nails

Hardwood flooring typically has a moisture level of between 6 and 12 percent but when it is damaged it can raise to as high as 40 percent. The amount of time water is on the floor will affect how much is is damaged. The floor can then be dried to help reduce the moisture. A hardwood flooring installer should be consulted about this.

Determining if you need to replace or repair the floor depends on a few factors. The amount of time the floor was exposed to water is one of the big factors. Also the type of flooring is a factor, engineered and solid hardwood can withstand a different level of moisture. The severity of the water damage is a big factor, if the subfloor has been penetrated you will likely need to replace the floor.

Minor damage can often be repaired and a few boards replaced but in severe cases the whole floor will need to be replaced. Call a hardwood flooring expert in your area if you have any questions. They’ll be happy to help you repair or replace the affected areas.

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