Polyurethane Flooring

Polyurethane is a protective coating that will add longevity to your floors. Polyurethane coating can be used in many different applications, from cabinets to furniture, and a coat of polyurethane will save you money that would otherwise be spent repairing and polishing your current floor. Check out the following article for information you should consider when investigating whether to use polyurethane on your flooring.

What Is Polyurethane?

The chemist Otto Bayer and his co-workers discovered polyurethane in 1937. Since its creation, polyurethane has been improved upon further. It has since been discovered that polyurethane can be used as a protectant for floors, but it can also be used as more than just a floor coating; because it can take many forms, the options for how polyurethane can be used are practically endless.

Polyurethane is created by a very scientific process. It begins by reacting a polyol (an alcohol with more than two reactive hydroxyl groups per molecule) with a di-isocyanate with of course the suitable additives to go along with it. What this means for the resulting product, in practical terms, is that polyurethane is not only a chemical resistant coating but also it can be turned into specialty adhesives, foams of all kinds, and more. Our interest here, obviously, is in polyurethane as used for a protectant and sealant on flooring.

Polyurethane is hands-down the toughest floor coating that you can find for any type of floor. It was created to resist chemicals, which means that it is strong enough to resist most liquids (drink spills, oil splashes, even paint splatters!) that hit your floor. This designed resistance makes cleaning polyurethane a breeze.

Another advantage of polyurethane is the way it strengthens floor surfaces for a longer life. This coating will protect various floor surfaces and keep them looking good longer than any other coating option will. You can comfortably use it on any floors that you think may be treated roughly. The innate resilience of polyurethane can take care of most things; even if it means things are thrown at it regularly. You cannot think of a better floor coating for your kitchen, which witnesses regular oil spills and water spills. A polyurethane floor coating will prevent any of these things harming your floor.

Why Use Polyurethane On Your Wood Floors?

Hardwood floors need some kind of surface protectant, and polyurethane is far and away the most popular choice these days for protecting wood flooring. It is easy to see why polyurethane is the popular choice. It provides a long lasting protective layer of coating to wood flooring, thus making it a universally accepted solution to many problems. Polyurethane is a great coating for any type wood floor in any area of the home, because of the strength and resistance that it provides. If it can resist chemicals and moisture of all kinds, it is a good choice in your laundry room, kitchen or bathroom.

All in all, the biggest selling points of using polyurethane floor coating are:

  • Polyurethane protects the floor from all types of damage.
  • Polyurethane is comparatively inexpensive, and can save money in floor repairs in the long run.
  • A polyurethane coating will increase the lifespan and durability of your flooring significantly.
  • A flooring coated in polyurethane is very easy to clean.
  • The polyurethane coating is simple to apply and does not need to be re-applied as often as other flooring sealant options.

One of the chief reasons polyurethane is so popular is that it is quite affordable. Since it is produced in bulk by a lot of chemical companies, availability of polyurethane is never going to be a problem. Also, most suppliers keep regular stock of this product and you can easily get it from any reputed one.

Of course, coating your floors in polyurethane will cost a bit of money on the front end. But the peace of mind and lasting protection it promises makes it totally worth the money spent. Lightweight polyurethane flooring can reduce damage from moisture, dirt and grime, and daily wear and tear.

Things To Consider When Choosing A Polyurethane Finish

There are a few things you will need to consider when choosing a polyurethane finish for your floors. You will want to consider the final desired appearance, whether to use an oil or water based polyurethane, and the application method you would prefer to use.

The Look

Do you want your floors to be shiny (high-gloss), or matte (satin)? Or is your preference something in between? With a polyurethane finish, you have the option of choosing the gloss level, similar to when choosing paint for your walls. Something to keep in mind when choosing the finish is that a higher gloss look will show more imperfections in the flooring, while a satin finish hides those marks better.

The Application Process

Your choices when it comes to how you will be applying the polyurethane finish to your floors are spray on, wipe on, or brush on. The best choice for your project depends on more than just your preference here. The application style here depends more on the type of polyurethane you have chosen, the room (and room size) where you are applying the finish, and the humidity level in the area where you will be applying the polyurethane. Choosing the right method of application is extremely important, as a bad application will result in some pretty noticeable problems like bubbles and streaks and will mean the polyurethane will not protect your floors as well. Repairing a bad polyurethane application means stripping and refinishing, which is a very involved process, so it’s important you know what you are doing on the application before starting.

Water vs Oil Based Polyurethane

You have two choices when it comes to the type of polyurethane you will use. There are a number of differences between oil based and water based polyurethane, including:

  • Appearance: Oil based polyurethane has an amber appearance, while a water based finish is clear.
  • Drying times: An oil based polyurethane takes much longer to dry fully.
  • Cost: A water based polyurethane can be as much as twice the cost of oil based.
  • VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds): The gases omitted from an oil based polyurethane are significantly higher than from water based.
  • Thickness: An oil based polyurethane coating is thicker and will need less coats applied to the flooring.

Water based polyurethane is improving these days, and is becoming more popular, though oil based polyurethane is still the industry standard, I do see that changing with all of the benefits a water based polyurethane can offer.

The Downside To Polyurethane Flooring Coating

As with any major home improvement decision, you should educate yourself about polyurethane before you make your purchase. Primarily, you want to be careful not to purchase the wrong kind of polyurethane because it could ruin your wood flooring.

The main problems associated with polyurethane flooring include:

  • Safety: It is a dangerous chemical to use.
  • Compatibility: Can be hard to determine the best match for your floor.

Off-gassing from polyurethane can be dangerous. You need to be careful to not inhale too much of it because the toxins can make you ill. It’s also flammable, so be careful when using it near flames. Once it is applied, it’s comparatively safe, though the levels of VOCs are a worry for many. It does off-gas for a while, so chemically sensitive people need to be aware of that as they make decisions about flooring sealants.

As is quite clear from the above, choosing the right polyurethane is crucial to the success and overall happiness of your flooring.

So how do you know which polyurethane to go with? The best way to ensure you are happy with the final product is to buy the polyurethane from reputed agencies. There are quite a lot of suppliers out there who claim to deal with the best quality polyurethane, but obviously they cannot all be the best. Check out customer reviews, get advice from professionals, and don’t let the price be the primary factor in your decision. By purchasing your polyurethane from a well-reputed supplier, you will not have to worry much about the quality of product you are receiving and can rest assured you are making a worthwhile investment in the life of your flooring.

Polyurethane is a great choice to coat your floor with because it protects and strengthens the flooring surface. The added resistance will help your flooring survive almost anything that comes its way!

86 thoughts on “Polyurethane Flooring

  1. Do the new floating floors have a Polyurethane coating ? or can we do this after its been laid?
    We are doign this in our kitchen which is HIGH TRAFFIC and we have a dog that sometimes has accidents. I dont want to lay this floor if i will have stain issues
    Thanks so much
    Penny Armstrong
    Decatur, IL USA

  2. I just installed an engineered hardwood floor in my dining room and want to know if you can put an additional coat of polyurethane on the floor for added protection.

  3. Hi Renee,
    It’s hard to say, according to the directions from different brands, some polyurethanes need raw wood to adhere to while some claim that they’ll adhere to just about anything. I would think too that it’s going to depend on what the engineered hardwood floor already has on it.
    Most likely, the best thing to do is give the flooring manufacturer a call — their website probably also has a webform or email address to contact somebody for support. If nothing else, they can probably advise you if this will violate your warranty or not and have recommendations for polyurethane brands.
    After you get an idea of what brands will work with your floor, call those manufacturers to see if they actually recommend use on prefinished engineered hardwood floors.
    Remember too, that these floors are exactly the same (on the surface!) as a traditional hardwood floor. That means that later on, if you ever want to, you can strip, sand, stain (if you want to), basically refinish these floors. You obviously don’t want to get down deeper than the hardwood layer though. ;~)

  4. Dear sir,
    I am in the construction material business and have used Polyurethane foor in a kitchen. It puzzles me why many obvious white spots appear on the floor surface. Based on your exprience, can you please shed light on the causes and what steps can be taken to eliminate such white spots?
    Yours sincerely, Mr John Lim

  5. Good day Mr. Lim!
    Actually, I’m a ma’am, that’s why this site is called The Flooring Lady.
    A little more information would be most helpful. What kind of flooring material is this? What kind of a finish does the polyurethane provide – matte, satin or gloss?

  6. We are installing unfinished Brazilian Cherry flooring throughout our first floor (1000 sq. ft.). We are very confused about whether to go oil based or water based polyurethane. Is there a preferred?

  7. I think it’s going to depend more on what the rooms are used for, how much foot traffic they’re going to have and preferred cleaning methods. Diamond Coat Varathane Polyurethane has some very good products, you might want to look them over to help you make a decision.
    I think too that there used to be a preference for one over the other, because of off-gassing/VOC’s, though many manufacturers now have low or no VOC products – mainly due to customers preferring not to breath in the fumes while products are off-gassing.

  8. Dear Ms. Floor Lady: I am having the same problem as Mr. Lim. I have a hardwood floor which has gloss polyurethane on it. After a couple of years, it has developed MANY white bubble spots in the polyurethane. How do I get rid of these so I can have beautiful hardwood floors again.

  9. Sometimes the solution can be to lightly sand the spots with steel wool, apply a coat of gloss to the areas and let dry. The white spots should now be gone. However, if this is happening all over the floor, it may be a sign that it’s time to refinish your floor. Sometimes, all that’s necessary is to lightly sand the whole floor and reapply your poly, sometimes you need to totally strip your floor (either chemically or thru sanding) and reapply your poly. If your flooring had a wood stain applied, you may need to do that too, but let’s hope not……
    I’d suggest to try the steel wool sanding/poly on just a spot or two first to see how that looks. Good luck!

  10. Sometimes, all that’s necessary is to lightly sand the whole floor and reapply your poly, sometimes you need to totally strip your floor (either chemically or thru sanding) and reapply your poly.Thanks for the tips!
    Best regard!

  11. help
    i just sanded my hardwood floor and put on some water based semi gloss poly. now my floor is turning white and has no sine at all. what can i do?

  12. There could be a few reasons why this has happened. Did you make sure to totally remove all the residue – not just on the floor, but on window sills, walls, light fixtures, etc.? What grit of sandpaper did you finish sanding with? Did you make sure to mix the poly once in a while (but don’t get a bunch of air bubbles in it)? You didn’t use a damp rag on it after sanding, right? (Raises the grain in the wood = dull spots)
    Chances are that lightly sanding then leaving the finish to dry will make the white may come out. Sanding tends to break the surface and allow the interior of the finish to dry more thoroughly, it may be all you need. If that doesn’t work, you could spray the surface with blush eliminator, which you can find in aerosol cans. A lacquer retarder will also work.
    Be careful too about placing bare hands or knees on the floor as you go – your body oils can keep the poly from adhering correctly.

  13. Dear Ms. Flooring Lady-
    We have a poly-u treated floor. No problems, just does not shine quite enough for me. What do you think about using Orange Glo Clean and Shine?
    I’ve used Murphy’s Oil Soap in the past and it is clean, but no shine.

  14. Great resource on polyurethane. I’m wondering if you know of any polyurethane substitutes, maybe something that’s somewhat durable but doesn’t have the outgassing and so forth. Not necessarily an “all natural” protectant, but something less chemical-ish?

  15. Hi Jim,
    Actually, the number of products that are becoming more ‘green’ are growing in numbers all the time. It’s what customers want and the manufacturers have listened! There are now many products that are low-VOC, keeping off-gassing to a minimum. Much better healthwise than they used to be! Diamond Coat Varathane Polyurethane products have listened to their customers as well as other manufacturers.

  16. I have poly wood floors and the shine is gone. We bought the house about 3 years ago and they were beautiful. What do I need to do to make it shine again. The house was built in 1940 and has the original wood floor, but has been refinished and coated with poly by the previous owners,like I said, it was beautiful. Do I need to sand it and apply another coat or just please help!
    Thank you

  17. You could probably get by with sanding and reapplying the poly, but do you know if the previous poly is water-based or solvent-based. You need to use the same type — if you don’t know then I would recommend stripping the old poly off first. Granted, you have a 50/50 chance, but if you guess at the wrong one you’re going to have a mess and will have to strip and start over anyway.
    You might be able to get away with using a product like Varathane Renewal No Sanding Floor Refinishing Kit. I hope so, because it’s easy to use and provides excellent results under the right circumstances. I presume that this is Low VOC like the other products they manufacture.
    If you wind up needing to strip the floor, there are products out now that are environmentally friendly, so you don’t have to worry about health concernes from breathing in fumes, exposure to chemicals, etc. One such product is SoyGreen PolyStripper Polyurethane Coating Stripper, Soy Gel, SoyGreen, etc. There’s lots of them out there now.

  18. we have 8 year old hardwood floors that have a poly coating on them. unfortunately we used murphy’s oil soap on them for about a year and it turned them very dull. we want to re-poly our floors but our hardwood floor company is telling us that the poly will not adhere to the floor due to the wax build up from the murphy’s oil soap. is there a stripping agent that can be used? we are wanting to avoid sanding and creating a huge dusty mess. thank you!

  19. Hi Michelle,
    I don’t think you’re going to be able to get around stripping the whole thing. You’ll have to use a stripping agent and THEN sand because of the Murphy’s build-up. If nothing else, it’s a valuable lesson learned – don’t clean with products that leave a build up.
    For cleaning wood floors plain water is best (make sure not to let it soak into the wood…spray it on with a mister bottle and wipe it up with a microfiber mop) or a cleaner recommended by a hardwood floor professional. A weak vinegar/water solution works well too on ocassion, you shouldn’t need to do this every time you clean your floor – 3 or 4 times a year would be ok. At any rate, after cleaning your floor, go back over it with a dry microfiber mop (I always keep a few different mop heads handy for mine!) to ‘shine’ it.

  20. my house is 2yrs old I have 2dogs we’ve tried floor cleaners, vinegar&water,just water, ammonia & water windex everything there is always paw prints our foot prints what should I use ?please help!

  21. Hi Sandy,
    What kind of flooring do you have? I would assume it’s wood, but don’t know for sure since you haven’t said. Poly is frequently used on other flooring types as well.
    I’m worried that you may have used some floor cleaners previously that has left a residue that is difficult/impossible to remove. Have you used any products such as Orange Glo, or something of that ilk? I hate to say it, but sometimes the only thing that really helps is to strip & refinish – then use only a vinegar and water solution after that. Some green cleaners (environmentally friendly types) are also usually safe, but it’s best to check them out first.
    I could probably be of more help if you let me know what kind of flooring you have, what brands of cleaners you’ve used and what kind of poly was used.

  22. We recently purchased a home that has handscraped bamboo wood flooring throughout. Since we have 3 small children, I paid a flooring company to come in and put a protective coat on the floors, we moved in 3 days later and for some reason the bottom story of our home, the floors look terrible. The coating is peeling up everywhere and looks scratched up everywhere. Is there a way to strip off this coating without damaging the handscraped look of the bamboo flooring?

  23. Hi Holly,
    I don’t think you should have to do anything – the flooring company should take care of it. It sounds like the product that they used wasn’t compatible. The finish certainly shouldn’t be peeling after just a few days!

  24. Hi, I have hardwood pine floors. The previous owners started the floor by sanding and applying 1 coat of poly. I want to apply more coats of poly but I am unsure of what kind of poly and what instruments are needed to do the job. Everyone is telling me most of the work has already been done. The second coat is all that is needed. Please help.

  25. My house was built in the 1950’s and has oak floors. I just recently sanded them and applied a stain that went on horrible! It showed all the over laping marks when it dried. When I went back to the store I purchased the stain, they tld me I needed to use a conditioner first. Well, they didn’t tell me that to begin with, so they said to use the polyshades (stain & polyurethane in one) in a darker color and apply two coats. So I did.The floors look great now and have an even color but my floors are still not as shiny and as sealed as I would like. Can I apply a polyurethane on top of the polyshades? Please help!

  26. Hi Kia,
    Any possibility of contacting the previous owners to find out? If that can’t be done, I’d recommend testing in a small, inconspicuous spot to see which kind of poly works. If there aren’t any closets or anything, choose a spot that would always be covered by furniture or an area rug. That’s really about all you can do. Good luck!

  27. i want a proffesional company to sand, restain and repoly my floors. i have 3 little kids 5 , 3, 4 months. is the sanding dangerous for the air in my house, meaning is it like lead that they warn you about on all paint cans? my house was built in 1940. are there any other health risks. i am having the guy use water based poly
    also he said he was going to put on three coats of poly is that enough?
    finally, if my kids play on the floor will it come off on their hands and toys
    thank you very much!!!!!!!!!!

  28. Hi!
    We have laminate flooring throughout our house. I would love for it to have a nice deep shine. Could I polyurethane it, or are there any other products I can use to give it that “look”?
    Thank you and Happy Holidays!

  29. i had a guy come to polyurethane my floors but he said there are water damaged spots and he cant do it are there any ways to get around this problem?
    also on my other room he wants to use oil poly for how long is the fumes dangerous for little kids or for my husband and myself?

  30. Hi Ark,
    It might be a good idea to out of the house while your workers sand, but other than that you’ll be ok. Most poly manufacturers are even making their products more environmentally friendly now too so that there is little or no off-gassing. Coming in physical contact with the poly isn’t a problem.
    3 coats sound good – it really depends on what the manufacturer’s recommend. You really want a good coating on your floor – especially with it being in a room that’s going to have lots of activity.

  31. Hi Cathy,
    Without knowing what your flooring is, I really can’t recommend anything. Much of the laminate flooring made today is already sealed and often using additional sealers voids the warranty. Your best bet is to call the manufacturer, see what they recommend if anything. If you don’t care if you void your warranty, the manufacturer might still be helpful in figuring out what kind of product to use or at least give you info about what kind of finish your floor has so YOU can figure out what types of products will be compatible for you to use. Good luck!

  32. Hi Rina,
    I think I’d get a second opinion, especially since water-based polys are very good too. What are the water damaged spots you’re referring to – a bit more info would be most helpful. What kind of flooring do you have and what room is this in?

  33. Hi, we had our floors sanded, stained, and polyed. Trouble is there was little shine after their 2 coats, so I applied 2 more coats (pretty heavy coats) to the first floor and 1 to upstairs. (I used a lambs wool). Recently I noticed little peel spots. They appear to be starting at the joint between boards and seem to be started anywhere there is flex in the floor. Is there any way to keep this from getting too bad, or stop it. I thought about using a utility knife and very easily cut the poly between boards. Good idea?, bad?

  34. Hi Paul,
    I would recommend wiping these areas with a product that will dissolve the poly. Don’t take it all off, just enough to take care of the peeling. It may look whitish afterwards, but this should clear up. Did you buff the poly? This can make a big difference in the final outcome of your project.

  35. hi so we finally got some body to scrape our floor.
    is the dust dangerous? he thinks that the finish on floor is the original one from 65 years ago(however he doesnt know for sure) and that its a wax finish? is this dangerous?
    finally how long do you have to wait for the oil polyurethane before bringing my wife and young kids back home?

  36. Hi Ark,
    I would have no way of knowing if the dust is dangerous or not as there’s no way to know what the finish contained. Any time that you’re working on a project that creates dust, you should wear protection to keep it out of your eyes and mouth – just common sense. Be sure to shop vac well. There is no ‘set’ time to wait before taking up residence again after applying oil polyurethane. Many of them now have lower VOCs than they used to. I would suggest that you see what the manufacturer recommends (remember to ventilate well!). It’s a bit of a personal thing too – some people are super-sensitive to VOCs.

  37. Hi: I have just replaced 4 oak treads to a short staircase off my kitchen and in addition, added an oak handrail. This is off an existing floor that was done professionally. I plan on applying the poly myself to the new stairs and rail. What base is best to use for durability – water or oil? Do I need to buff the stairs?

  38. Hi Field,
    Water-based poly would be ok and will give you less problems with off-gassing. They are both very good. For your stairs and handrail, it shouldn’t matter much which one you choose. You should buff at least after the first coat or whatever the directions state. It really won’t be necessary for the handrail, not to mention a bit more difficult, but it can be achieved with a buffer wheel attached to an electric drill.

  39. Our floors were sanded and finished a few years ago and still look very good, except for approximately one area where an area rug had been was cleaned with a rug cleaner and this 3×4 part must have gone through. Is there any product to restore the shine or can I rag on some poly urethane that I have in a jar from the original job?

  40. Hi Nancy,
    You can try what you have in mind, though I’d use a brush or applicator rather than a rag. Hopefully it’ll look good enough to live with it. You might have to add another coat to the whole floor though, but let’s hope not. ;~)

  41. We just had our hardwood floors refinished. The first coat of polyurethane was put on yesterday and we slept in the house last night. Due to colder temps the windows were not open. I am not sure if the company had the windows open while applying. Is this harmful?

  42. Hi Lori,
    It would depend on the product they used. Good news is, most of the polys today have lower VOCs making them much more environmentally friendly. Without knowing what product was used, there’s no way that I can tell you anything definite.

  43. I had my wood floors sanded and polyurethaned last week using an oil based poly. When the first coat dried, the floor looked fine but appeared to need a second coat of poly. The second coat has dried, but now I notice that there are sporadic rough patches throughout the floor with what appears to be tiny little bumps or bubbles. When I walk over the surface with socks, it feels like the fibers on my socks actually get snagged. Is there anything I can do to repair this and leave a smooth finished look?

  44. Hi Beary,
    Yes, this can be fixed. The floor needs to be lightly sanded with fine sandpaper and another coat of poly applied. Actually, you’re supposed to sand between coats anyway, especially if you want a nice shine. ;o)

  45. I am thinking of getting a steam vacuum cleaner to clean my polyrethaned wooden floors. Would you recommend this?

  46. Is there any way to speed up the off gassing from polyurethane?
    Anything I can apply over the surface. It has been 6 weeks and the smell is still bothersome. Thank you.

  47. Hi Nancy,
    Well, not really. Leaving windows open helps a lot. If it’s that bothersome, you might be better off stripping the poly and looking for one that is low or no VOC. Something like PolySoy would be a good choice.

  48. Thanks for the advice 5/17.
    I covered a couple of floor boards with shellac as a test. They don’t smell!!! It is shiny, but that’s ok. The floors are in my bedroom and adjoining computer room, so they won’t get too much wear. What do you think? Is this something you think I could do? Thank you so much.

  49. Thank you for getting back to me so soon!
    I used Zinsser Bulls Eye Shellac. The polyurethane I used was Zar Ultra Max. I should have used the waterbourn, but used the “Ultra Max Waterborne oil-modified polyurethane”. The smell is is giving off is an oil smell. Today marks the 7th week since it went on. Is there any real disadvantage to putting the shellac over this, such as water marks? Perhaps problems like that can be addressed as they happen? Someone said it might crackle, but the manufacturer says (in it’s written material) that it can go over polyurethane.
    I truly appreciate the help/advice.

  50. Hi Nancy,
    If the written material from the manufacturer says that it can go over polyurethane, then yes, it should be able to go over the poly. One thing that’s nice is that the Zinsser Bulls Eye Shellac is non-toxic.
    As per their literature: If there are water spots or white rings in the finish, the
    discoloration can usually be removed by rubbing gently
    with an alcohol-dampened rag.
    If damage is too severe for correction by this remedy, or
    where the spot is the result of a cigarette burn or
    other physical damage, remove the old film in the
    affected area by sanding. Then apply two or more coats,
    using either Bulls Eye Clear Shellac Spray or liquid
    shellac thinned to a 2-lb. cut.

  51. I haven’t forgotten to report to you about the shellac treatment. I had hoped the other stuff would still burn off. It hasn’t. I put the first part of shellac down this afternoon. So far, so good. I’ll keep you posted.

  52. Ok.. It is Tuesday evening ~ 5:28 as I type this.
    The first coat of shellac went down on Friday and Saturday (6/5,6/09). On Sunday I hand sanded the entire floor – lightly. This is an old floor (1937) with lots of curved pieces of wood and lots of nail heads. A machine wouldn’t have done the job. I found that there were many spots around the perimeter of the room that had bubbled. It has been suggested that these spots were spots where the floor was still off gassing. Could it have been from formaldehyde left from the backing of the rug that was removed? I don’t know. Could it have been from a mix of polyurethane and other chemicals in the wood from previous owners? I don’t know. The bubbles were soft and gooey. I started to sand them but then just scraped down to expose the bare wood. After that I stained the spots. On Monday morning I gave the floor a second coat of shellac. Tuesday afternoon I checked again for bubbled spots. There were several. I scraped them and just now finished staining the wood. Tomorrow morning I will apply shellac around the perimiter of the room and over the few spots that popped up in the middle of the room. Some of these were around nail heads. I will let you know how this works.
    All in all, I think this has been a success! I hope it has. I’ve been out of my house for 9 + weeks now. The only smell I’m getting at this point, after scraping, is a hint of alcohol.
    If this doesn’t work, I am considering painting the floor.
    If that doesn’t work, the floors will be torn out!
    Thank you, again.
    I appreciate all of your advice.

  53. My hardwood floor installer is suggeting a product called Classic 50 by Synteko as an alternative to the polyurethane finish.
    He told me the product is oil based, dries more quickly and will be harder than the Polyurethane.
    I’m concerned about safety following installation -offgasing etc.
    I have a one year old.
    Any thoughts?

  54. Leatrice,
    If you are concerned about the finish on the flooring Synteko’s Classic series is less likely to chip or peel away. There’s also no need to apply acrylic type waxes on a monthly basis.
    If you are truly concerned consult your pediatrician.

  55. Shellac over waterbourn/oil modified polyurethane. As reported back in June, I put down two coats.
    I do not recommend this!
    I am tearing the floors out down to the joists and starting again.
    A real bad experience.
    Live and learn!

  56. We have Mohawk engineered flooring. It is kind of a matte finish and I have always liked shiny. But more importantly, when water or liquid gets spilled, it soaks into the floor and warps and makes feel ripply. We have only had the house for 2 years and have already replaced the diningroom floor. My question is, can I put polyurethane on the floor now? We have the wood in high traffic areas so it would be great and I was hoping it would seal the floor too. What are your thoughts and is there a science to application or do you do it with a brush or mop or what? Sorry, I’m a rookie.
    Thanks so much,

  57. Carrie,
    Yes you can! I would give Mohawk a call to determine if in doing so you would void your warranty or perhaps even consult with them as to why the floor continually is having issues.
    I’ve had Mohawk flooring and it survived an overflow from a faulty washing machine!
    If you decide to take the leap and use a poly I recommend Diamond Coat Varathane Polyurethane. They have directions on the product and on their site to determine the best way to apply the polyurethane. I would love to hear how it goes!

  58. Hi,
    I’m converting an office into a bath. It has beech floors that I am going to keep. I’d love to use a water-based poly, but I keep getting advice to use an oil-based for durability (especially in the bathroom environment). I’m going to go right through the entire house and want to be consistent. Is there a water-based poly that meets/exceeds the durability/wear/value of oil?

  59. I have raw red oak floors laid down. I am concerned about the off gassing of oil based polyurethane because of a large 7 person family and had two questions for you:
    1. How long does a professional grade polyurethane off gas for?
    2. What do you think about the durability of AFM’s polyurasil BP? It is water based and the company AFM is supposed to be the gold standard in green healthy floor products.

  60. Courteney,
    There are now many products that are low-VOC, keeping off-gassing to a minimum. Much better health-wise than they used to be! Diamond Coat Varathane Polyurethane products have listened to their customers as well as other manufacturers. I recommend their water-based poly. I am not familiar with the AFM’s polyurasil BP.
    I have cabinets in the pantry that were finished with the oil-based version — five years later I can get a whiff of the product in cabinets that aren’t opened often.

  61. I have wide pine floors, they are 5 yrs old ,minimun wear but I want to re do them do i need to sand the floor first before I put on poly?

  62. Mary,
    Unless the floors are unfinished you will need to screen or sand them so that they can accept the new finish.
    Since pine is soft, and the floor is not in bad shape, I would recommend a light screening.

  63. I have unglazed (un sealed) porcelein tiles much like the ones in the malls. I am tired of trying to strip and wax them every year. Can I use polyurethane on them and will it last?

  64. Anne,
    Polyurethane will protect the floors, and will last longer than wax. However, it will eventually wear down. I would be sure to door mats to the areas that get heavy traffic, to keep off any excess dirt or grit to help it last longer.

  65. I am buying a 1947 home. The owner that had the house 14 years ago said she removed carpet, sanded the floors down very thin, and they can’t be sanded any more. They had polyurethane applied to them at the time. Before I move in should I “re-polyurethane” them? If so, how?

  66. Gloria,
    You shouldn’t have to re-polyurethane unless the finish is worn and scratched.
    But, if needed, you may still be able to screen the surface of the floor without removing any of the actual wood. The best way would be to remove the old finish and reapply.

  67. Our office at work has a gym on the first floor, they are redoing the floor and using polyurethane. There alot of fumes that reach our offices, even though we open the doors it still is giving everyone headaches. They have been working on it for 2 wks and won’t be done for a while yet. I had to stay home from work one day because I had a bad headache. What can I do to protect myself.

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