Finish Wood Floors


We have carpet that we want to rip up. We want to have the floors sanded and finished. It's strip floorimg - about 45 years old and seems to be in good condition judging from the corners of the carpet I lifted up.
It's about 800 square feet to be done. I've had a few people in to give estimates.
Person 1 wants to put down an alcohol-based sealer and then 2 coats of oil based polyurethane. He'll put a third coat of poly if I want him to (another 30 cents per SF) but says it's not necessary.
Person 2 wants to put down three coats of oil-based poly and doesn't use a sealer. He says he used to use it and stopped because's he's learned over the years that the problem with a sealer is that over time, it dries up and crystallizes and causes the polyurethane to flake off the floor.
Both people came highly recommended and both do nice work. Prices are very similar so there's not much differene there.
Which method is better? Which is more durable? Does anyone have experience with the sealer after say 10 to 15 years? Does it really flake? Also, is 2 coats of poly over a sealer as good as three coats of poly with no sealer?
If it makes a difference, I'm on Long Island (NY) about 3 miles from the Atlantic Ocean.
Thanks!
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do oyu know the specific products proposed to be used?
does the first guy have any local customers with 15+ years old jobs?
cheers Bob
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ftres wrote:

I'd choose the #2 guy. I have no idea if a sealer (shellac?) dries up after 15 years but - unless the floor was previously finished with something else - a sealer shouldn't be needed. If it was previously finished the best thing is to sand it; next best thing is a coat of shellac as a barrier coat if the old finish is incompatible with poly.
I like 3-4 coats of poly. Durablity - "wearability" - increases with the number of coats.
--

dadiOH
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