Floor Varnish Question

Hi all,
I would like to ask a couple of questions about varnishing a floor..
I have sanded back my dining room floorboards using 60 grit as recommended in my DIY books, (fixed the vandalism that the plumbers did when they fitted the central heating - why do they just rip up the boards) and am not ready to varnish the floor.
As I've no reference to go on do folk recommend a gloss, silk or matt finish?
Also I have an 18month old and want to avoid subjecting him to the usual varnish stink that many of the polyurethane varnishes give off... Do any of the brands give of less toxic fumes?
Thanks for any advice,
Regards,
Paul.
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Paul Waites wrote:

Only 2 options IMO
Rustins acid catalysed varnish. Horrendous fumes but very short lived (a couple of hours at most). Crystal clear finish, 100% water resistant and virtually indestructible. Apply with a rag to avoid the high gloss look.
Water based acrylic. Little smell, but what there is hangs around longer. Slightly cloudy, plasticky appearance, and not as hard wearing or waterproof.
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I use OSMO Poly-X. It's an oil/wax finish so isn't quite as hardwearing as acid-cat, or indeed plain old poly or acrylic, but it is pretty impressively tough for a drying oil finish. The great advantage which more than compensates for what it lacks in ultimate toughness is that it is patch repairable and recoatable, so when it wears, you just brush some more finish on, and wipe off - at most with a gentle sanding with high grit first.
With the others, the bits that take the worst battering will last longer, but when they do get scratched up etc, you have to sand the whole floor down to remove the finish and start again. Boring.
The other advantage of Poly_X is that it looks nicer - more 'natural', as it isn't a thick plastic coating which the others (especially water borne acrylics) tend to look like, to some degree. It's expensive, but then so is acid-cat.
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Cheers for the replies. something to think about there. I like the idea of a more natural finish... Thats why I asked about the gloss,matt finish. Many do have quite a plasticy look.
Cheers,
Paul.
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