04:00AM | 06/07/01
Member Since: 06/06/01
3 lifetime posts

I have red oak hardwood floors that were completely sanded down and finished with an oil-based urethane (no stain) 3 years ago. The floors need to be screened and re-urethaned due to some wear patterns and light scratches (not into the wood).

I am getting differing opinions on which urethane can be applied. On one hand, I am being told that since there is already an oil-based finish down that is what needs to be reapplied. On the other, I am being told that since the finish is already cured and it will be screened a latex finish will work without any problems.

Does anyone know what the correct answer is? If possible I would prefer to use the latex since it does not yellow as the oil-based poly will. Plus I find latex easier to work with and the dry time between recoats is less. Also, is there a difference in the durability between the latex and oil-based poly?

Thanks in advance for the help!


05:21PM | 06/07/01
Member Since: 09/01/00
312 lifetime posts
I could never remember or make sense of this either until it was properly explained to me.Oil based products are absorbed to some degree into the wood.Latex products put a "skin" on the surface of the wood.Once latex is put onto a surface,an oil product will not penetrate the latex and therefore is not advised.Latex over oil is fine.Which to use for your application is your choice.Although probably more durable,I dislike cleaning up after using oil and would be willing to recoat with latex more often if necessary.


02:58AM | 06/08/01
Member Since: 06/06/01
3 lifetime posts
Now that makes perfect sense to me. Thanks for the explanation! Like you, I'll choose latex and recoat more often.

Thanks again!!

Jay J

07:08AM | 06/08/01
Member Since: 10/26/00
782 lifetime posts
Hi JayC,

'Matches' did an EXCELLENT job of explaining the difference. I just want to add a side-note ...

Under optimal drying/house conditions, you'd only want to put on about 3 coats of poly. As Matches said, latex-based poly will 'sit' on TOP of the floor. Thus, it builds up REAL QUICK! And with that, it can get 'soft'. And when it's soft, almost ANYTHING will 'ding' the finish, especially high-heels, scratches, weighty furniture, and so on.

Not to lecture you (but mainly for the benefit of others that may read this), the poly's purpose is to protect the underlying wood and finish. Poly is meant to get worn off (because you can refinish hardwood flooring to a certain extent.) Personally, I do like the oil poly because it is more durable and is harder when it dries. As an aside, pre-finished hardwood has MANY layers of poly because, in the factory, drying conditions are man-made and optimized to the poly's drying specs. (So that's a different story.) Most Pro finishers I know stop at 3 coatings anyway (and they're the pros.)

So, in short, make sure your 'poly expectations' are in check. My best to ya and hope this helps.

Jay J -Moderator


05:21PM | 06/08/01
Member Since: 06/06/01
3 lifetime posts
Thanks for the input Jay J, it is much appreciated. Do you happen to know if there is any additive that can be put into an oil-based poly to countereffect the "yellowing" associated with the oil-based product. I really want the floors to look as "natural" as possible. The rest of the house was sanded down the same but finished with a latex poly instead and the difference in color between the floors is remarkable. The furniture in the room is all natural beech and maple and I want as close a match as possible.

Thanks again to everyone.. You guys are great!!


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