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.