This is one of the most frequently asked questions when working on a timber flooring project. There is no direct answer to this question because both have their pros and cons. Both oil and water-based finishes protect the wood from damage, but which one is better for your floor? Not to worry, we’re here to help you out.
Let’s take a look at everything you should take into consideration when choosing between oil-based and water-based coatings.
Differences in Appearance
One of the biggest differences between the two finishes is in their appearance. An oil-based finish will boast a warm amber tone and more depth and dimension in its appearance. Oil-based polyurethane will also continue to darken over time.
Water-based finishes dry clear and remain clear for the lifetime of the floor. Many people prefer the oil-based finish on their wooden floor because of its richness.
That said, if you’re going for a white-washed, grey stained, or white stained hardwood floor, you will need to use a water-based coating because the oil-based coating will make the floors look yellow. Water-based finish is also an excellent choice for hardwoods that naturally have a yellow tone to them, such as Ash, Fir, or Pine. This will bring out their natural tones.
Thickness and Hardness
Since the finish is applied to the floors in order to protect the wood, the thickness and hardness of the layer is an important point to consider. Of course, the thickness of the layer will depend on how many layers you apply. A water-based finish is thinner than the oil-based one, so more layers will be required to achieve the desired protection level.
When considering the thickness of the coating, keep in mind that rooms with more traffic will benefit from extra protection. However, while oil-based coating could be a good option for prevention of surface scratching, it’s also softer than water-based, which makes it more susceptible to denting.
Oil-based finishes typically dry overnight, and the second and third coats are usually done the next day. Water-based finishes, on the other hand, often dry within two hours, which allows you to do all the coats on the same day. So if you don’t have much time to complete the project, you might want to consider opting for a water-based finish.
Your budget could become one of the main determining factors when choosing between the two finishes because the pricing is different. Oil-based floor finish costs less, while single-component water-based finish costs significantly more. Two-component water-based finish is going to cost you even more because of an added hardener.
Both finishes have their own advantages and depending on all the points listed above, you can now make an informed decision for your floors.
Are you looking for flooring experts in Perth?
Allen Brothers Flooring specialises in timber floor sanding and polishing in Kallaroo and the whole Perth Metro. For more information, call us on 0407 983 020 or fill out our contact form. Receive a FREE quote within 24 hours!