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The plant-based, zero-VOC oil finish being used on this yellow pine floor really makes the natural wood grain pop. We’re not going out on a limb when we say hardwood floors are one of the most popular, value-adding features in your home. Wax is the time-tested, old-fashioned way to refinish wood floors and was routinely used before polyurethanes became available in the 1970s. Oil-based polys are the mainstay of floor finishing and widely used by professional finishers. The Cadillac (or Volvo) of floor finishes, acid-cured Swedish finishes are for pro application only.
This is a durable finish that’s a step up in toughness and longevity from water- and oil-based polyurethane. Polyurethane floor products have surpassed the usefulness of this time-honored wood finish.
John Riha has written seven books on home improvement and hundreds of articles on home-related topics. Daily woodworking tips to improve your accuracy, better organize your shop, make your tools work harder, and help you work safer.


Membrane (film-forming) finishes, such as lacquer, polyurethane, and friction polish, rub off with use, leaving the piece unprotected and unattractive. I have been evaluating a water based epoxy and thought I would see how well it worked as a wood sealer. Blocks were cut from a 2 X 3 so the two major block faces were 'end-grain' and thus extremely porous.
How much wear and tear your floors get determines how often you need to refinish them and what product you use. Water-based varieties used to have a reputation for being eco-friendly (still true) but not as durable as regular polys. Although they’re tough, long-lasting, and less-expensive than water-based polys, oil-based polys have a higher VOC content and stronger odor during application. Houses built before 1970 may have hardwood floors finished with shellac, and you can maintain and refinish them with another coating of shellac. Stop back daily for more woodworking tips from the editors at WOOD magazine and our enthusiastic readers. It has a high VOC content, making a respirator and good ventilation a must during application.


Because it penetrates the wood, an oil sealer enhances grain patterns and deepens the color of the wood. It requires special refinishing techniques, like sanding with milder grits before using heavier grits. Two to three coats are recommended.Professional floor refinishers report some problems when using an oil-based poly over a water-based poly. It’s not as tough and durable as polyurethanes, and is susceptible to stains from water and other spills. Mohawk's Ultra Penetrating Stain offers the user the best combined characteristics of water, alcohol, and lacquer type dyes.



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