question about water-base polyurethane

I am planning to refinish my hardwood floor at home. One of the contractors said he is going to use water-base polyurethane for the finish coating. I heard somewhere that oil-base coating is much better than water-base urethane. And water-base ployurethane tends to be more toxic and could trigger allegric reaction. Is it true? I don't want to get my kids sick. I don't know whether I should ask the contract to use oil-base coating for the finish. Any comments would be appreciated. Thanks.
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would seem to me that water quick dry would be the better of the two on the alergy/toxic thing...once it's dry I would think the products are the same...yet everybody I talk to that has gone through major remodeling tells me that the "pros" are sticking to oil. As far as I can tell it comes down to predicability of the final color but will be curious to see what other posts come in on this one.

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I am a big fan of water base for furniture. The ease of application and the clear coat are really attractive. I had the floors in my rental unit done with water base and find it not as durable as oil base. I did not notice any health issues. max

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max wrote:

My floors are done with water base. The main difference I've noticed between mine and my neighbor's (oil based), is that mine have not yellowed over time. I've not had any durability issues, but I have no kids, no pets, etc. I always thought water based was less toxic as well - you know, fewer VOCs, etc. Just my $0.02, I'm certainly no chemist.
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You can't digest the plastic, so it's certainly not a toxicity issue once _either_ is cured.
Water-based still has some problems with white/blue cast, something we're not accustomed to, having seen warm amber finishes most of our lives. It is also less flexible, so microcracks might become an issue more quickly. Drops and pet nails might be more of a problem with water.

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Wife noticed the bluish cast of WB poly on some dark wood but that's the only time. Posters have commented about the odors and longer dry time when using oil based on floors. WB can be tinted with dyes for the ambering if desired.

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snipped-for-privacy@vcoms.net wrote:

As far as the toxicity, water based is safer than oil, but neither should be a problem is adequately cured.
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We add 1 oz. per quart "amber additive" to our finish to impart that warm amber finish.
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Rumpty

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Waterbase is actually more pliable than the oil when cured. It is also more durable. The commercial products only. You can peel off dried finish from the container and it is flexable, oil is brittle. How do I know? I am a pro floor finisher for the last 21 years. BUT the pro finishes are not sold to the general public, and you cannot just walk in off the street. The distributors will not sell to you. The pro finishes go for $60 to $100 per gallon, not the Home Depot quality. I believe Bona "Traffic" is the most durable along with Basic "street shoe" The finishes use a different process to apply than oil. This is why most old timers do not use it, unwilling to change. I use both types of finish, depending on the look the customer wants.
I do sell it on the internet, but will not mention the site here out of respect. Just do a Google search to find it.
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It will be hard to say which actual product he will be using, but just about any finish when cured will be safe.

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I REALLY like 2-3 coats of McCloskey Gymseal or Waterlox Original on floors. They are oil base varnishes with Tung Oil. They're durable, easy to apply, look GREAT, and nowhere near as bad smelling as oil polyurethanes. Both are also repairable, a nice feature on floors. I usually lightly sand with 220 grit in a 5" ROS between coats.
Both will impart an amber tint, which is nice on pine, oak, and darker woods, but may be less desirable on maple, ash, or birch.
The only downside to me is cost. Both run about $44 a gallon.
Barry
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I used the oil based Varathane Floor Finish Poly. It dried fairly quickly, surprisingly (I had wanted to go w/water based because it dries faster - I was working by myself and didn't want to be shut out of my house while the oil stuff was drying; I was talked out of the water based stuff, and was glad for it in the end).
Comparing oil based poly to water based poly on oak, the oil based stuff looks better. The amber hue poly adds becomes oak.
I actually compared the two finishes side by side. I never really paid attention til I got the two side by side, showing a customer the differences so she could make her choice of finish.
Renata
As others have said, I think you've got the toxicity thing backwards.
Renata

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rp wrote:

Hi, They behave differently when applying them. If the contractor you have chosen wants to do water-borne, it might be because that's what he's familiar with and good at. If I really wanted a solvent-borne finish, and my contractor wanted to do WB, I'd ask to see floors he has done with both types. (Well, no, I wouldn't; I'd refinish them myself, but that's another story.) Water-borne, although it does have some volatile solvent, has much less solvent content than solvent-borne. I can't imagine where you got the notion that it would be more likely than solvent-borne to cause allergic reaction; I think the opposite would be the case. As to whether solvent-borne is "better," I don't really think so. There are some people who will swear that it has better long-term durability; others will swear there is little or no difference in durability. Personally, I like water-borne because it is more pleasant to apply (in terms of odor and fumes) and because it fully cures in days rather than weeks. <pedant>BTW, "oil-based" and "water-based" are really misnomers whentalking about polyurethane coatings.</pedant>
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"Typically" the solvent used in Water Borene products is the same product used in liquid cleaners such as 490, etc. MSDS shows no cancer/toxic risks.
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It is my humble opinion the water based finish is more durable and I put it on *most* of my floors. At least my subcontractor does. Especially maple floors. However, that being said, I am building a house now that will have American cherry floors and will more than likely have them use an oil based finish to bring out the richness of the cherry wood. Water based finishes are clear and has no amber richness in it. You can add amber additive though but any time you add something, you run the risk of it not being the same. We call it "batch" difference. The reason I don't use it on maple is my clients want the stark clarity of the white maple and don't want to darken (amberize) it. This is my theory. There are many others. <g>. Once either of the finishes (oil or water based) cures, there is no danger of allergins. SH
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