Best water-based polyurethane for floors

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The way it occurred and when it occurred, no one is aware of. However hastily, water-based polyurethane flooring finishes grew to become the go-to end for hardwood flooring.

Consequently, main producers churn out completely different variations every year, making it onerous to determine the finest water-based polyurethane for flooring.

Laborious, however not unimaginable.

We’ve spent hours researching the very best water-based poly for flooring. This contains my private experiences, analyzing earlier buyer opinions, the official model web sites, and different reliable sources.

Water Primarily based Polyurethane Flooring Finishes Opinions (Up to date Checklist)

Primarily based on our analysis, listed below are the very best water-based polyurethane opinions.

1. Greatest for Business Purposes-Bona Visitors HD

Beginning off, we now have arguably essentially the most sturdy water-based polyurethane for hardwood flooring. As you possibly can see from the identify, it’s commercial-grade, which means it lays on thick and onerous. This can be a pleasant improve from an organization that may’t cease delivering successful waterborne merchandise.

After Bona made the Visitors, they determined to take their recreation to a brand new degree with the Business HD. It’s nearly like they sensed the competitors was getting too shut and so determined to high themselves (however Normal Finishes begs to vary).

When this end totally cures, it’s scuff, scratch, and chemical resistant. That is essential as a result of water-based polyurethanes have been recognized to alter colour when repeatedly dirty by pets.

The one draw back about this water-based flooring end in comparison with the others is the worth, as it’s twice as a lot as among the different choices. However given its business use, you possibly can’t count on any much less.

This water polyurethane can be licensed by GreenGuard for indoor air high quality. The unstable natural compounds (VOCs) emissions charge of this end may be very spectacular. At 125 g/L, this outperforms all different polyurethanes.

To take advantage of out of this water-based end, that you must pressure the product correctly, otherwise you would possibly find yourself with chunky white residue in your flooring. Regardless that it comes with a strainer, Bona recommends including a layer of high-quality material like a pantyhose to filter small particles higher.



2. Greatest for Excessive Visitors Areas-Normal Finishes Water-Primarily based

For a really very long time, Normal Finishes made the hardest and most sturdy water-based topcoat available on the market. However because the arrival of the Bona Visitors HD Business, Normal Finishes could have misplaced its place. After all, they nonetheless insist theirs is essentially the most sturdy.

Whether or not it’s or not, that is nonetheless an distinctive water-based flooring poly with so many worthy options. The very first thing that customers will admire is the fast-drying time. You possibly can apply the second coat in as little as 1 hour (in optimum circumstances), which is ridiculously fast, even for a water-based polyurethane.

This topcoat comes with a UV stabilizer, which prolongs the lifetime of the end and likewise prevents the wooden beneath from turning into darker. This water-based wooden flooring end is likely one of the finest polyurethane for stair treads.

Whereas this water-based topcoat dries clear, Normal Finishes recommends that you simply don’t apply it to brilliant white paint. Many customers have reported their white painted furnishings started to yellow after they utilized this coat.

Of their protection, this isn’t the one waterborne product that has had this report. Some theorize it’s a chemical response of some kind. No matter the reason being, simply steer clear.

Earlier customers are additionally debating whether or not the poly can be utilized on chalk paint. Some have gotten nice outcomes, whereas others haven’t. The important thing takeaway is to make sure you observe the producer’s instructions when making use of this water-based poly for flooring.



3. Greatest Hybrid Polyurethane-Minwax 710330000 Poly

At first look, the identify of this water primarily based poly for flooring is kind of complicated. What does it imply to have a water-based, oil-modified polyurethane? Higher but, what sort of consequence are you able to count on?

When Minwax got here up with what many thought was a loopy thought, they occurred to strike the right stability between the fast drying of water-based polyurethane and the added glow of oil-based polyurethane.

In simply two hours, this water primarily based flooring end is dry and prepared for a second coat. In contrast to a few of its rivals, nonetheless, that you must sand it earlier than making use of the subsequent coat. It additionally wants not less than three coats.

Regardless that this topcoat dries clear, you might not wish to apply it to light-colored hardwood. Similar to an oil-based polyurethane, it should add a little bit of an amber tint to lighter colours, although to not the identical diploma as an precise oil-based poly.

Some individuals really just like the Minwax for that cause, as a result of it makes the fantastic thing about the wooden pop.

One other advantage of being a hybrid is that it may be utilized with a broader vary of instruments. You need to use an artificial bristle brush, a foam brush, or a lambswool applicator. All of those will also be simply cleaned with heat water once you’re carried out, making this a really handy waterborne flooring end.



4. Greatest for Residential Use-Bona Mega Wooden Flooring End

Subsequent, we now have one other in style water primarily based flooring end from Bona, however a extra pocket-friendly model. Nonetheless, simply because the Bona Mega Wooden Flooring End is cheaper than the Visitors HD doesn’t imply it’s ineffective.

The Bona Mega is ideal for inside use and is great for high-traffic areas in residential and business buildings.

As you’ll count on from this producer, this product dries shortly, prepared for a recoat in 2 to three hours. Additionally it is a really sturdy product that may defend your flooring from scuff marks, scratches, animal stains, and melting snow.

Talking of snow, you possibly can apply this waterborne poly throughout the winter, and it nonetheless dries comparatively shortly, which is one thing you possibly can’t get from oil-based polyurethane.

Bona Mega can be licensed by GreenGuard for indoor high quality, and it emits little or no odor, making it handy to make use of in houses with youngsters and pets. In contrast to the Business model, it is a one-component end, so it isn’t bought with a separate hardener. As an alternative, it depends on an oxygen-crosslinking polyurethane (OCP) components to ship its excellent outcomes.

One other beauty of this water-based flooring sealant is that it is available in 4 sheens, which is uncommon for a water-based polyurethane. You will get it in gloss, semi-gloss, satin or additional matte.



5. Greatest Worth for Cash-RUST-OLEUM FBA 230031 Varathane

Lastly, we come to a different family identify that delivers distinctive sturdiness but at an inexpensive worth level.

Varathane is thought for creating nice finishes that stand the take a look at of time, are straightforward to use, and are quick drying. This water primarily based flooring end ticks all of those containers.

When utilized, you get a crystal-clear end that makes you neglect that you simply needed to apply 4 coats to get there. Nonetheless, given how shortly it dries, the additional coat won’t be an issue.

Rust-Oleum suggests you look forward to the primary coat to be dry and onerous to the contact. This may take wherever from an hour to 4, relying in your location and the way properly you observe the directions.

On condition that this water-based polyurethane has superior scuff, adhesion, and scratch resistance, you’ll count on there to be only a few damaging opinions, and also you’ll be proper. The most typical bone of rivalry is that the can says it’s ‘No Odor”.

For the sake of those new to polyurethanes, it is important to clarify that no odor means it is considerably less than most oil-based and water-based polyurethanes. It is not actually odorless. So, you’ll most likely must hold the room ventilated and put on a respirator when making use of it.

The one different damaging is that you must keep away from utilizing it on white paint, because it causes discoloration. Nonetheless, as talked about beforehand, that is widespread with most water-based polyurethanes.



How Dependable is Water-based Poly for Flooring?

In case you have learn a number of blogs and watched completely different woodworkers discuss polyurethane, you will have heard water-based poly will not be as sturdy as oil-based polyurethane.

Whereas this was as soon as the case, it’s now not legitimate. Oil-based polyurethane is certainly thicker than water-based, however they each dry onerous. As soon as cured, the extent of scuff and scratch resistance they provide is about the identical.

It then turns into a matter of how good the product is.

So, does that imply each sorts supply the identical advantages? Not fairly. Every sort has its execs and cons, and understanding these will assist you to make an knowledgeable determination.

Benefits of Utilizing Water primarily based Flooring Finishes

Quick Drying Time

The primary and arguably most important benefit water-based polyurethane has over oil-based polyurethane is that it dries significantly quicker. All the merchandise we reviewed will be dry and prepared for one more coat in as little as two hours, whereas some have been recognized to be dry in a single.

That is remarkable for oil-based polyurethane. Even the tremendous fast-drying oil-based polyurethanes aren’t dry for not less than 4 hours, and that will likely be thought of sluggish for a water-based polyurethane.

With such a fast turnaround, you possibly can apply three and even 4 coats of a waterborne end on the identical day. Oil-based merchandise, on common, can take just one coat a day and likewise want three coats. So, water-based permits you to end the job in a 3rd of the time.

You Don’t At all times Have to Sand Between Coats

One of the irritating components is having to sand between coats of polyurethane throughout utility. You first want to attend for the coat to dry, then sand it, which delays the challenge even additional. As well as, having to sand a big flooring area, whether or not residential or business, is labor-intensive and disheartening.

Fortunately, that isn’t an issue for many water-based polyurethanes, particularly with the Bonas.

You possibly can apply the subsequent coat whereas the earlier one remains to be a bit moist, so long as the floor is clear as a result of water-based poly tends to stick higher.

Oil-based polyurethane usually must be abraded so that every coat sticks higher. Nonetheless, even when a product doesn’t require sanding, it’s not well worth the threat.

This, by the best way, is likely one of the the reason why water-based polyurethanes have turn out to be extra in style.

Low Odor

Working for hours whereas carrying a respirator will be uncomfortable, however that’s the best choice when working with oil-based polyurethane. The scent will be so overpowering that some individuals mentioned it made them dizzy, even in a well-ventilated room.

Should you can’t stand sturdy smells, then water-based polyurethane is your solely possibility. Some merchandise just like the Varathane and Bona Visitors HD are nearly odorless, however even the others usually are not almost as sturdy as oil-based options.

A couple of oil-based polyurethanes don’t give off a robust scent, however they nonetheless can’t evaluate with these. If you’re to make use of oil primarily based polyurethane, then right here’s how you can eliminate polyurethane odor.

Low Unstable Natural Compounds (VOCs)

VOCs are infamous for inflicting a variety of medical circumstances, together with most cancers. It’s unlucky that so many family merchandise include them, so they’re nearly unimaginable to keep away from.

Nonetheless, it’s potential to restrict our publicity. A method to do this is to make use of water-based polyurethane as an alternative of oil-based polyurethane. In actual fact, that is one cause why oil-based polyurethanes have been slowly phased out by producers.

New rules require family merchandise to not exceed sure ranges of VOC emissions. These ranges can simply be met with water-based polyurethane.

Doesn’t Change Shade Over Time

What you get is what you see with water-based finishes.

Until when utilized on white paint, water-based polyurethane dries clear, and it stays clear for the lifespan of the end. That is very completely different from oil-based polyurethane, which dries with an amber hue, and will get extra yellow over time.

Because of this if you’re utilizing a light-colored hardwood flooring, the pure brightness of the wooden gained’t change once you apply water-based polyurethane. The identical goes for dark-colored woods.

This makes water-based polyurethane the extra dynamic possibility of the 2.

Disadvantages of Utilizing Water-based Polyurethane Flooring Finishes

It’s Extra Costly

The foremost knock towards water-based polyurethane is the worth. Cans of water-based topcoats will be as a lot as two to a few occasions costlier than oil-based options. Nonetheless, the distinction is often just some {dollars}.

Nonetheless, water-based polyurethane makes up for this in different methods. Should you select a product that doesn’t want sanding, you’ll get monetary savings right here. You additionally get to complete the duty considerably faster, which means you possibly can transfer on to the subsequent activity.

With the right utility, subsequently, utilizing water-based poly might really be cheaper.

Not as Stain Resistant

Water-based polyurethane has exceeded oil-based poly in some ways. Now, it’d even be extra sturdy. However the one factor it could actually’t appear to get proper is stain resistance.

When animals go to city on water-based polyurethane, it adjustments the colour of the end. After all, this isn’t true for all merchandise, however it’s the case with a enough quantity. As such, some individuals argue that one of these polyurethane will not be pet or child-friendly.

Nonetheless, you possibly can guard towards this by studying opinions and shopping for better-quality polyurethanes.

Requires Extra Coats

What number of coats of polyurethane is sufficient? Water-based polyurethane wants extra coats than oil-based polyurethane as a result of it raises the grain of the wooden. Consequently, you typically want extra coats to get a easy end.

When this occurs, you may additionally must sand between coats. Nonetheless, because of the fast-drying time of the poly, it’s nonetheless extra environment friendly than oil-based polyurethane.

Learn how to Select the Greatest Water-Primarily based Polyurethane for Flooring

As you possibly can see from the professionals and cons, there’s a lot to need and to be cautious of when selecting the very best water primarily based flooring end. Regardless that all the choices we offered are among the finest available on the market, the next ideas will assist you to select the suitable one for you.

The placement of the hardwood flooring

The very first thing to think about when selecting a water-based polyurethane is the place you’ll be making use of it. The placement of the flooring will inform you the energy of the poly you want and the sheen.

All water-based polyurethanes are certainly sturdy, however some are higher suited to excessive site visitors areas, such because the Bona Visitors HD Business and the Normal Finishes topcoat. Excessive site visitors areas are kitchens, entryways, and hallways.

For dwelling rooms, research, and low-traffic areas, you most likely don’t must spend the additional money on these two.

The placement of the ground may also assist you to select the suitable sheen or luster. The 4 choices are

  • Matte – appropriate for top site visitors areas, as it should cover any put on and tear higher.
  • Satin – Like Matte, Satin is nice for high-traffic areas.
  • Semi-gloss – Greatest for low site visitors areas akin to rooms utilized by adults not carrying footwear
  • Gloss-It makes the wooden look shinier, and because it gained’t see a variety of site visitors, you gained’t must refinish the ground for not less than a decade.

Some corporations name matte flat, and a few promote gloss as excessive gloss.

The upper the sheen, the extra gentle it displays and the extra imperfections it reveals. What the sheen doesn’t do is decide sturdiness.

Not each product has a gloss end, however all of them have the remainder.

VOC emissions

If you’re involved about your well being and the surroundings, you must prioritize selecting a low emissions product. All polyurethanes are really helpful to show the VOC degree, though some corporations attempt to cover them.

From our record, Bona Visitors HD has the bottom with 150 g/L. Normal Finishes flat sheen comes second with 170, which is simply marginally lower than the satin (172) and the semi-gloss (173).


After you will have narrowed down the very best product for the utilization space and the one least dangerous to your well being, the subsequent logical step is to take a look at the prices.

It’s essential that this isn’t first as a result of it could actually result in disastrous penalties. Pretty much as good because the Minwax is (the most affordable of the lot), it isn’t suited to business use. And as nice because the Visitors HD is, it’s a waste of cash for a low site visitors pad.

Moreover the placement and emissions, there isn’t a lot that separates these merchandise, so anybody you select will likely be glorious.

Drying time

If we had been evaluating oil-based polyurethanes or water-based polyurethanes from all around the market, this is able to be greater than the worth.

However if you find yourself evaluating the very best of the very best, there actually isn’t a lot to judge right here. All of them ship distinctive drying and curing time.

Normal Finishes has a slight benefit as a result of it may be dry in as little as an hour, however so can the Minwax. Nonetheless, even the slowest of the bunch will be prepared for a recoat in three hours, which can nonetheless will let you apply three coats in at some point.

Ease of utility

Whichever product you purchase will likely be comparatively straightforward to use. However you possibly can nonetheless discover ways to apply water-based polyurethane to hardwood flooring.

What units them aside is that if that you must sand between coats, what number of coats you want, and the instruments you need to use.

Varathane requires not less than 4 coats, and also you additionally must sand between coats. That’s a double whammy! It makes up for this with its superior drying time, however that is nonetheless an issue.

The Bona Visitors HD doesn’t want sanding between coats, however you first have to combine the 2 completely different elements collectively after which undergo the effort of high-quality straining it.

Bona Mega doesn’t require sanding between coats, though you possibly can if warranted. It additionally is available in only one tub, making it the simplest to use.

What’s the Greatest Water-based Polyurethane for Flooring

We’ve come to the tip of our water-based polyurethane opinions.

It’s so unfair that there will be just one, however the very best water-based flooring polyurethane is Bona Mega Wooden Flooring End. We had been leaning in the direction of the Visitors HD, however it’s fairly costly.

The Normal Finishes can be a worthy contender, however it’s also costlier than Bona Mega and that you must sand between coats.

Regardless that the Bona Mega solely gained one class, it performs properly sufficient within the others to be topped the very best.

Tell us what you consider our record, or bounce straight to our assessment of the very best oil-based polyurethane for hardwood flooring.

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