Flooring and Carpeting/floor refinish


Hi My wife and I bought an old house which we are just starting to go through. We pulled up the carpeting today and found a nice hardwood floor underneath. We are going to sand it of course and apply sealer. But here is where we disagree and we seek your advice. I want to finish the sanded floor with linseed oil. It not toxic, smells nice and I think it would do the job- although I am not sure about the difference between boiled and raw linseed oil. She disagrees and wants to seal the floor with polyurethane-which  I feel may be too toxic. It smells terrible when it's drying and we have allergies. But she claims it forms a hard shell where linseed oil doesn't.  What is your opinion of linseed oil as a floor sealant? thanks


Today they make low VOC water based poly urethane and Poly acrylic products that are completely non toxic.
The EPA has made a huge impact on the industry over the past decade or two. Linseed oil actually be more harmful if you don't read the label carefully. They add drying agents and other things.

The issue with linseed oil on a wood floor is the long drying time. And possible sticky / tacky texture that stays with it no matter how long it may have dried. I experienced this one time in a home in old Pasadena, Ca. However the owner was not going to change their mind at this stage in life.
Linseed oil offers no UV protection...poly does. Poly dries rapidly and will actually protect your floor and can be removed mechanically in the future for re application. You can not remove linseed oil and later apply poly without a major project and likely replacement of the wood.

Here is a just one small article about the uses and limitations.

One of the reasons Oil based finishes like lacquer was invented... it surpassed the capabilities of Linseed oil finishes. Now today we have the benefits of the product ( poly ) without the toxicity.

Scanning the internet looking for more pros and cons I see many articles. In the end it is a very personal choice. It really depends on what type of maintenance you will provide over time. Linseed oil can be easily re coated by the homeowner annually Paste wax can be applied over that as well and buffed.
But you need to maintain it regularly.

Poly is a once and done, at least for 10 years anyway. Minor scratches can be sanded/ screened out and touched up.

I wish you the best in this endeavor,


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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

H.S. diploma A.S. agriculture Mt San Antonio JR. College

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