Today we’re going to help you understand the pros and cons of oil-based and wax wood flooring finishes. If you missed our previous blog about water-based hardwood flooring finishes, click here.
What surprises most homeowners looking at wood flooring finishes for the first time is that there are actually three types of oil-based finishes. The most common is oil-based polyurethane. The other two are UV-cured oils and Tung oil. Of the three, we utilize oil-based polyurethane most often. It provides a smooth, durable and protective layer on your wood. However, some of the reasons homeowners opt for another option include:
- Application of oil-based poly is not a quick process. Dry time between coats is about 8 – 10 hours. However, it will take 24 hours before its truly dry to the touch.
- You will want to wait about a month before laying area rugs as it takes roughly that long for the floors to completely cure.
- With UV exposure, some wood species finished with an oil-based poly will develop a yellow hue.
- It gives off a lot of VOCs (and smells) so you won’t want to live in your home during the refinishing process or for about a week afterward.
UV-cured oil finishes aren’t installed on site. They are found on prefinished flooring. They are a great option as they are among the most durable types of wood flooring finishes and you don’t have to worry about smell or curing time. The last oil-based product is Tung oil which is a natural product. It can be used with or without stain as it actually hardens the wood rather than sealing it. The biggest benefit of Tung oil is that you can repair minor scratches fairly easily.
The U.S. doesn’t use hard wax oil finishes as much as other parts of the world. We speculate that’s because they require much more maintenance and frequent applications in order to achieve the look and type of protection that you can easily get from a water or oil-based polyurethane. Wax provides no UV protection so you may notice changes to the color of your hardwood. However, they have no VOCs and most of the time require just one coat at the initial installation.
What is the Best Wood Flooring Finish?
Like choosing the wood species and installation pattern for your floors, choosing the right wood flooring finish is an individual decision. Of all the wood flooring finishes, we recommend water-based polyurethane the most. If you’re looking for new wood floors in the greater Tampa Bay area or need your current hardwood or engineered wood flooring refinished here or in Sarasota, call Seer Flooring. We offer in-home consultations and will answer your questions clearly and completely. You can reach us at (727) 469-7963 or (941) 242-7337 for an appointment wherever you are located within our service area.