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Flooring and Carpeting/oak floor refinishing


We have floors of red oak that, after 20+ years, could use refinishing. My question concerns what to put on as the final stage, after the sanding etc. I want something that will serve well for a good length of time, as the oil-based polyurethane products do, but that do not entail the kind of fumes that come with that finish. Do you have anything to recommend, that's less smelly (and toxic?) than the oil-based polyurethane AND that gives a good and durable finish?  I've heard mixed things about water-based polyurethane: some who have experience say it would do fine, some have said that it is not durable for being walked on for any length of time.  Do you have knowledge about which is right?  Thank you for whatever help you can give.


Born and raised in California we were heavily monitored by the EPA regulations and I only had the experience with water based products.

I only used 2 products which I now forget their names, I have moved and reside in Utah now. I also have not kept abreast of the latest products on the market for the past 4-5 years.

I do know this, oil based products last longer and take more wear / abuse. They also turn a golden amber over the years giving a warm honey color as time goes on. Some people desire that aspect and seek oil based products for that reason.

You can not do an oil base and then decide to do water base some 10 years down the road unless you sand all the way down to the wood. Even then it might react adversely.

Depending on what state you are in you may have both choices available to you. But I would stick with an oil base since your floors are 20+ years old.

Best regards,


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20+ years flooring installation ...carpet,wood,tile and vinyl. Residential and commercial. I do not sell the products , just install what ever the shop / customer has purchased. I actually love seeing the finished project completed and it gives me great satisfaction to help others acheive that goal. If I don't know the answer I will say so, and then I will recommend another expert for you. I may even research the subject and answer to the best of my ability ...including links to my sources. I wish you all success Chris


20 years as an independant contractor

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