- Q.Which type of floor finish
provides the most durable coating, oil-based
polyurethanes or water-based polyurethanes?
finisher Michael Purser, of the Rosebud Co. in
Atlanta, responds: Both products are good, but
my preference is for waterborne urethanes, which
were introduced for residential use around 1987.
They stumbled out of the starting blocks with a few
problems, but those were dealt with fairly quickly.
Since then, waterborne urethanes have consistently
gotten better and better. I have no qualms about
saying that some of the waterborne products
available today are the finest coatings ever
formulated for use on wood floors. And the
technology continues to improve.
Specifically, these waterborne products wear
better and are more easily maintained than
oil-modified urethanes. They have excellent drying
and curing times, and good color stability. And,
for me, the lack of noxious and hazardous vapors
makes them a no-brainer. I admit that there can be
problems if you aren't careful about the moisture
content in wood, application technique, temperature
and relative humidity, and air movement during the
curing, but I will gladly pay attention to those
variables to work with such good products.
Waterbornes are also more expensive than
oil-modified urethanes but not prohibitively
I occasionally look at new products and
manufacturers in the market, but by and large, I
use waterborne products by companies with a proven
track record and product line. I have had good
results over the years with products from Basic