CLEAR hardwood finishes? -- moisture cure, etc.

Page 1 of 2  

I now have a new unfinished red oak hardwood floor installed in an apartment that I will be renting out.
What I want is a truly *CLEAR* finish to put down on the new unfinished flooring.
I have extra flooring that I have set up so I can test various finishes. I have already tested a number of stains and, if I have to, I will go with one of those. But, what I really want is to be able to put a completely clear finish over the new unfinished hardwood flooring. I like the way it looks now and I would like to be able to keep that look and coloration. All of the so-called "clear" polyurethane finishes I have tried so far are not really clear. They are amber color, and they also stain and darken the wood grain.
Here are my two questions:
1) I am interested in clear Moisture Cure Urethane (one brand is made by Garco) -- but I can't find anywhere to buy it. It is supposed to be truly clear. I know it is super volatile and maybe that's why it is not easily available. I can apparently buy it online, but then I have to wait 4 to 14 days for it to arrive. Does anyone know where I can go in person and buy this stuff? I am in New Jersey near Philadelphia, PA.
2) I haven't tested out water-based polyurethane products yet. I get the impression that they can be more clear than oil-based polyurethane. MinWax sells a clear water-based base coat and a clear water-based polyurethane that goes over the base coat. The clear base coat is supposed to seal the tannins (or something like that) in the wood so it doesn't darken, and then hopefully the top coat won't darken the wood when it is applied.
Are water-based polyurethane finishes okay for hardwood floors? Are they durable enough compared to oil-based polyurethanes? Are there any special cleaning requirements or instructions for water-based finishes that are different than for oil-based polyurethane finishes?
Can I later cover a water-based polyurethane finish with an oil-based polyurethane finish? I think the answer to that one is "no", but I thought I would ask anyway.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

water based are more clear than oil based, and have a slightly blue tint rather than yellow. they do use water based for floors, but you may have to recoat more often as they may not be as hard.
ask the rest of your questions on rec.woodworking.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
charlie wrote:

Thanks. I'll have to see how the water-based stuff looks, and see if it is clear enough and doesn't darken the wood grain like the so-called "clear" oil-based stuff does..
And, thanks for the tip about rec.woodworking. I'll post my questions there. Hopefully that group is as good as this one in terms of people providing answers and trying to help.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You need to use water based if you wish to avoid yellowing. Most people never really notice the yellowing though and oil based coating have been used for a really long time.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 6 Nov 2009 09:14:17 -0800 (PST), jamesgangnc

In a rental, the primary consideration should be durability, not slight yellowing. What will it look like in 5 years?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
jamesgangnc wrote:

Thanks. It's not really the slight yellowing that I am concerned about. It's the way it really darkens the grain of the unfinished hardwood -- almost like a stain -- that is what I am trying to avoid.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
JayB wrote:

I don't know of a clear coat that doesn't darken wood to some extend. Of course, a very light wood like maple will darken the least. I've refinished lots of wood and have not used sealers (only stain and varnish). What kind of wood is it? Pine and oak yellow considerably exposed to sunlight, regardless of whether water or solvent based finish.
Sealing in the tannins applies to color that bleeds through and stains a painted finish ... cedar, redwood have more tannins.

An old finish, if properly prepared, can generally be covered with the other type as long as instructions are followed for the product.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net wrote:

The wood is unfinished, #2 red oak.

Yep, it's red oak.

That's interesting. "Maybe" that means that I can do the job with clear water-based base coat and top coats for now. And then, sometime later on maybe cover that with clear oil-based polyurethane for more durability.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I'm thinking any red oak is going to darken a good bit when covered with oil or water based clears. You should choose the wood based on the finished appearance you are seeking.
Perhaps you can try white washing it a bit before sealing. I have some cabinets that are oak and have that finish. Basically just wipe down with a cloth and some white paint. Wipe as much paint off as you can. What's left will be in the grain. Let dry. When covered with clear coat the results are pretty light.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You want durability its a rental that will be abused, not your living room. Gloss is clearest and most durable , what makes a lower sheen makes finishes softer and cloudy. Water base is not as durable from what I have been told but has no color and doesnt amber like oil. dont bother staining you are making more work for yourself and oil poly ambers nicely. A few coats of gloss oil followed by a finish coat of satin looks great. With a rental more coats is better I try to get 3-4. If you stain then recoating in a few years if there is damage might mean sanding to wood, with no stain recoating is much easier when there is damage
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

....If you stain then recoating in a few years if there is damage might mean sanding to wood, with no stain recoating is much easier when there is damage....
Yes, that's one of the reasons that I was thinking of just using a clear finish and no staining. Unfortunately, the "clear" polyurethane finishes makes the wood look bad -- as if it was poorly stained.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
JayB wrote:

Can you elaborate on how it looks "bad"? Geesh...red oak should be beautiful! I don't know flooring or wood grades involved in new mfg. flooring, just lots of old furniture. Is the flooring a brand name?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I bought it at Lumber Liquidators ( http://LumberLiquidators.com ). It's unfinished #2 Red Oak (with their product number of RO22, I think). The way it looks bad is that the grain absorbs the clear polyurethane and what started out as a very light colored wood becomes dark, blotchy, grainy, junky-looking wood. When I apply any color of oil-based stain, the stain absorbs in a way that the wood grain looks and is whatever color the stain makes it. But applying clear polyurethane doesn't do the same thing.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
JayB wrote:

With clear finish, oak generally is a mid-tone to deep brown, even without any stain. And it is very "grainy". It might help if you upload some pix and post a link, at least for the areas you consider problems. A good way to get a close idea of how wood will look with a clear finish is to simply wet it with solvent. Any chance you can replace some of the worst looking boards?
I took a look at the link you provided and went to the product...RO22 is called "rustic", as opposed to other red oak called "select" and some called "natural". If some of the wood is much harder, accounting for the very light look, you can blend them using stain if you apply the stain and don't wipe it off the light spots. I haven't done flooring, but lots of furniture, and have mixed my own stains. If you apply half-strength stain to the entire floor, you can help blend very light spots by brushing on same stain, full-strength and not wiping it off. Sort of a half-assed way of fixing something you apparently didn't expect when you purchased. I'll cross-post this and see if woodworkers have some better ideas.
I assume you wipe the stain?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

What about using a wood filler that is supposed to reduce stain absorbtion and reduce blotchiness?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote:

I'll have to test that out. I assume you mean a wood sealer, but I'll try it.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
JayB wrote:

He said wood *FILLER*. One would assume that is what he means. Paste wood filler.
A sealer - a different thing - might help depending on what it is.
--

dadiOH
____________________________
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
dadiOH wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net wrote: ...

And the proper ones properly prepared and applied also for filling porous grain in woods like oak to help prevent excessive stain takeup if the stark contrast isn't the desired effect.
--
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Pardon me for jumping in, the main reason I see usually stated is to get a smoother surface, since the filled pores will not have "divots" after the topcoat is applied. Sometimes people will actually tint the filler to enhance the contrast. Not me, though.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.