What Type of a Wood Floor is Best for My Kitchen?

Wood Species
Go with the hardest species you can find. Oak and ash are some of the strongest domestic wood species used in the manufacture of wood floors. Rich grain and exquisite texture of these species will not only make the floor look beautiful and unique, but also help disguise small dents and scratches that are bound to occur over time.

Surface Texture
Wood floors with a light texture and a polished finish are gorgeous, but will they look just as spotlessly perfect after a few pots, pans, and jars have been dropped on your floor? Probably not, which is why highly textured wood species and wire brushed finishes work so well in kitchens and other high trafficked areas. If anything, the floor only ends up looking better over time!

  • Installing Hardwood Flooring In a Kitchen
    In a kitchen, you want to make sure that you purchase a very dense, durable hardwood, and stay away from softwood floors that will be more prone to water damage and staining issues.

  • Finish Options for Natural Wood Flooring
    The protective coat created by this process is much more potent than anything that can be applied on site and can last up to five times longer than traditional self-applied finishes.

  • Maintaining Hardwood Floors In a Kitchen
    The most important thing that you can do to maintain your hardwood kitchen floors is to keep constant vigilance over them. You can test the finish on the floor by pouring a very small amount of water on it in some of the most highly trafficked areas. If it beads up the finish is fine.

  • How To Care for a Hardwood Floor
    The drawback is that the refinishing process is a big, messy job. It involves taking almost everything out of the kitchen and then bringing in big, loud equipment that sends sawdust flying through the air in every direction.

  • The Advantages of Hardwood In Kitchens
    Hardwood provides you with a softer, more yielding surface to stand on than most tile and hard surface flooring options. This also makes it less likely that items will shatter if accidentally dropped.

  • Floods and Leaks in Kitchens
    Unfortunately, each utensil that ties into the plumbing of your house, is a potential disaster waiting to happen. Small leaks can cause standing puddles, that will wear through the finish and seep down cracks to rot the floor from within.​​

Welcome back to another round of Ask the Home Flooring Pros. Following our recent post on maple flooring we had

The article or page: Water Based vs Oil Based Polyurethane Floor Finishes – Ask the Home Flooring Pros first appeared on the Home Flooring Pros website. Please update your links and bookmarks accordingly.


Welcome back to another round of Ask the Home Flooring Pros. Following our recent post on maple flooring we had

The article or page: Water Based vs Oil Based Polyurethane Floor Finishes – Ask the Home Flooring Pros first appeared on the Home Flooring Pros website. Please update your links and bookmarks accordingly.

Welcome back to another round of Ask the Home Flooring Pros. Following our recent post on maple flooring we had a question from a reader in Texas asking us to explain more clearly the difference between water based and oil based polyurethane and to outline the pros and cons of each. So lets compare and contrast these two types of polyurethane and see how they match up.

 

How Water Based and Oil Based Polyurethane Are the Same

The difference between water based and oil based polyurethanes isn’t one of better and worse. We use both types with excellent results. It’s the project, not the product, that determines our choice.

Oil-based finishes were once more durable, but the new generation of water-based polyurethane is remarkably hard and long-lasting. There is no discernible difference in how long they last. Also, professionally finished floors should feel satiny smooth, whether the finish is oil or water based. Click here if you want to learn how to keep your wood floors smooth and shiny.

How Water Based and Oil Based Polyurethane Are Different

Let’s cover a few basics before discussing which is best for specific wood types.

Drying time:

  • Water based polyurethane can be recoated in 4-6 hours. Up to 4 coats can be applied in a day. Furniture shouldn’t be placed on the flooring for 12 hours after the last coat is applied.
  • Oil based poly can be applied in just one or two coats per day depending on the product instructions on the can. Wait 24 hours after the last coat to walk on it and 48 hours before moving furniture back into the room.
  • Pro tip: Speaking of coats, oil based polyurethane has more solids than water based finish, so just two coats are required. We recommend three coats of water based poly.

Fumes/Odor:

  • Water based finish has a light odor. No respirator is required, but you might want to crack a couple windows for fresh air.
  • Oil based polyurethane has a strong, fumy odor. We recommend wearing a respirator and keeping pets and anyone with breathing issues away from the smell. Keep the area ventilated. The odor will linger until the polyurethane is fully cured in a couple days.

Durability: While both are long-lasting, there is a difference in how they wear and what you can do to protect the finish.

  • Water based poly is harder, so it is more susceptible to surface abrasion caused by fine debris. For this reason, vacuum your flooring regularly using a hardwood floor vacuum.
  • Oil based finishes are softer, so they don’t scratch as easily, but they dent more readily. While keeping debris off the flooring is still a good idea, it’s also important to put pads under furniture feet to prevent denting.

Look: These finishes look different when applied and even more so as they age.

  • Water based polyurethane dries clear and remains clear.
  • Oil based poly has an amber tone that immediately darkens the wood. As it ages, the amber hue deepens.

Cost: Water based polyurethane cost is two to three times higher than oil based products. When cost and coats are calculated, this works out to about 35 to 50 cents per square foot for oil based poly and 80 cents to $1.35 per square foot for water based polyurethane. Well known brands like Minwax produce both types of poly making it easier to compare prices.

Your Floor is the Deciding Factor

The look is what matters. Drying times, odor and cost are negligible factors when deciding whether to use water based vs. oil based polyurethane. The smell will be gone in a week. You’ll live with the look for a decade or more.

Will your wood look better with a clear coat or an amber coat? Here’s what we recommend.

Water based polyurethane: If you want your floor to stay the same color, choose water-based polyurethane. Wood that is gray, white or light looks better with a clear coat, i.e., a water based finish. Woods with a hint of yellow in them already, such as pine, fir and ash, become even yellower with an oil-based finish. Go with water based poly if that’s a look you want to avoid, or choose an oil based finish to enhance it.

Oil based polyurethane: Darker wood tones are enriched by an amber hue and an oily sheen. Oil based polyurethane can bring out the vibrant color in red oak, cherry or exotic woods like teak.

Looking for wood floor stain color ideas?

Settling the Water Based Vs Oil Based Polyurethane Finish Debate

Quarts of both finishes are relatively cheap compared with the cost of redoing a floor you believe would look better with a different finish, an unpleasant position to be in. The quandary is easy to avoid with this method:

  1. Buy a quart of water based poly and a quart of oil based poly
  2. Select two or three pieces of your flooring with differing looks (pieces with or without knots or wide grain and narrow grain, for example)
  3. Finish half of each piece with the oil based poly and the other half with the water based finish
  4. Apply a second coat, and wait 24 hours for them to dry/cure
  5. Give yourself a few days to compare the looks, view them against wall colors and furniture and decide which you prefer

With this approach, the decision about whether to use oil based polyurethane or water based polyurethane will no longer be hypothetical. You’ll have tangible finished flooring samples you can see, feel and run your feet over, if you want. Your decision will be much easier when you do.

Now you’ve chosen your finish you should check out our guide on how to apply polyurethane.

The article or page: Water Based vs Oil Based Polyurethane Floor Finishes – Ask the Home Flooring Pros first appeared on the Home Flooring Pros website. Please update your links and bookmarks accordingly.


Read full article on blog