10 Best Water Based Polyurethane for Hardwood Floors 2022

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Minwax Water Based Oil Modified Polyurethane Reviews

Minwax Water Based Oil-Modified Polyurethane


General Finishes High Performance Water Based Top Coat Satin

General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat


Minwax Water Based Helmsman Spar Urethane Review

Minwax Polycrylic Water-Based Protective Clear Finish

Miss the charm of your hardwood floor? Or has it become prone to wear-outs? Well, whether it’s a rustic oak, warm cherry, rich walnut, or deep oak, you’ll have to protect the hardwood

And regarding that, a polyurethane coating might take a sneak peek in your mind first, thus the oil-based one. But, people are more into water-based formulas these days. Why, you ask?

Well, because getting the best water based polyurethane for hardwood floors, you can ensure durability and excellent finish at a much cheaper rate than a oil-based one. Many of these formulas are also versatile, thus, ideal for applying on other surfaces.

However, to that concern, choosing the right coating for newly installed or old wood floors might hit you hard, but No Worries! 

Since the market is getting crowded with new brands and new water-based polyurethane products, it’ll leave you with a tough choice, but I shortened the list with the ten most renowned types – all sketched below.

I got your back. I’ve executed complete and thorough research – considering experts and buyer’s genuine opinions – so that you can get your hands on the right product.

Let’s get into it.

1. BEST OVERALL: General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat2. RUNNER-UP: Minwax 710330000 Water Based Oil-Modified Polyurethane3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Minwax Polycrylic Water-Based Protective Clear Finish4. UPGRADE PICK: Bona Mega Wood Floor Finish5. BEST HIGH-TRAFFIC: RUST-OLEUM 230031 Varathane Gallon Gloss Floor Finish6. BEST FOR SUNNY ROOMS: Minwax 710510000 Water Based Helmsman Spar Urethane

Related Post:

Top 10 Best Water Based Polyurethane for Hardwood Floors 2022

Regardless of your budget and requirements, going through the review section, you will be able to conclude how you can enhance the beauty of your hardwood floors and protect them from damages.

1. minwax water based polyurethane reviews (71033000)

Minwax Water Based Oil Modified Polyurethane Reviews

How about I start by saying that this Minwax topcoat is the best of both worlds? Well, you can enjoy a bit of both water-based and oil-based formula – killing two birds with one stone. 

With that superior hybrid formula, you can count on this reliable polyurethane to apply to your hardwood floors. Not only floors, but you may also apply them on your woodworks, doors, paneling, trim, cabinets, furniture, and other wooden materials for increasing protection tenfold. 

And not to forget, besides protecting, this Minwax water base polyurethane will surely light up a new charm on the surfaces.

Within a few moments of applying, the layer will nicely sit on your hardwood floor. As I’d suggest going for three coatings, at least for superior protection, you can do re-coating after every two hours. And if you have an area of 125 sq ft or up to that, this one would be just right for such coverage.

It does not come as a surprise as it truly dries super fast with a crystal clear look. Also, this topcoat prevents hazardous scuffing and scratches.

The formula produces a very low odor, so you don’t have to wring your nose, compared to traditional polyurethanes.

It won’t be pleasant if you’re counting on this one for outdoors cause it’s an interior guy. And be sure to prepare your floors from any foreign particles before you apply any coat.

Overall, the Minwax Polyurethane can be your go-to choice if you want a bang for the buck and superior protection at the same time.


  • It gives a nice finish
  • Produces little odor
  • Resists scratches and wearing out
  • Fast-drying formula
  • Easily removable


  • Not suitable for outdoor use
  • Due to a faster drying system, you’ll have to act quick

2. rustoleum water based polyurethane reviews (230031)

Rustoleum Water Based Polyurethane Reviews

When you’re a profound owner of a house or office that meets a lot of traffic daily, you wouldn’t want the hardwood to peel out just in a few days. And for that, the waterborne polyurethane from RUST-OLEUM can provide ultimate protection from all aspects.

The brand ensures a durable formula to withstand abrasion, scratches, scuff at higher traffic areas, bathrooms, hallways, and living rooms. You can say your worries farewell for once and all. 

Apart from the higher traffic areas, it becomes an excellent choice for houses with small children and pets. Moreover, the formula also protects the hardwood floors from chemical damages.

Anyways, with its ultimate protection, your hardwood floor will never crack, yellow, or fade. You can have the finish in satin, matte, gloss, and semi-gloss finishes.

Well, unlike any traditional solvents, the coating leaps multiple laps ahead of faster drying. Within three days of the entire coating session, it’ll be ready to meet warm footsteps. Nevertheless, for urgent usage, your floor can be ready in 24 hours.

Usually, the odor might haunt your mind. Well, while working the Varathane, you’ll indeed sniff some smell. But eventually, there’ll be no smell left when the coating drys out entirely.

Last but not least, a gallon of this Rust-Oleum Polyurethane can cover around 400 to 600 sq ft area. 


  • Ideal for commercial places and higher traffic areas
  • It covers a greater space with one gallon
  • Adds a luxurious hue to the floor
  • Leaves no odor
  • Protects against scratches and chemical damages


  • You might smell a bit odor at first, but soon it fades away
  • Must give it a good stir before applying

3. bona hardwood floor finish Reviews 

Bona Mega One Floor Finish Reviews

When you’re pretty tight on your wallet but don’t wish to compromise the quality of polyurethane, the finish from Bona Mega can be your pick. Most experts consider this piece as the best water-based polyurethane due to its budget-friendly price tag and superior protective layer. 

This floor finish yields the top results due to the atmospheric oxygen – basically the oxygen-crosslinking polyurethane waterborne formula. You’ll notice great results as soon as you start applying it. 

Furthermore, this formula meets certain industry values like VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds), which lets you fill an area of 600 sq. ft. with one gallon. 

Regarding the applying process, the product dries ultra-fast. You can walk over a newly applied polish after 4 – 5 hours.

You can have your socks on, but don’t wear your shoes while applying the polyurethane. Otherwise, you might get permanent shoe marks.

I’ve seen people with smelling or breathing difficulties. If you’re one of those, no worries; this piece does not leave any odor. You can apply it without any complications. 

And lastly, you won’t have to be a professional to pull this one off, making you the jack of all trades. Plus, you can have the piece in various options, including gloss, semi-gloss, and satin, to improve the beauty of your wooden floor.


  • Produces no odors
  • Easy to apply
  • Quick-drying formula
  • The valuable choice for mid traffic areas
  • It tends to last over years


  • Without executing three successful coatings, you won’t get the desired result
  • It seems challenging to apply with a brush or roller when the temperature is high

4. Bona Traffic HD Commercial Extra Matte

Bona Traffic Hd Reviews

Do you love the matte finish on your floor? If your floor is worn out or needs refurbishing with your preferred matte finishes, undoubtedly, the Bona Traffic HD will live up to your choices. It makes hardwood floors smooth and durable to use for years.

The item comes available in gloss, semi-gloss, and satin finishes. Plus, it’ll maintain the natural look of your wooden floor without any compromise.

If you apply this polyurethane on up 400 sq. ft. area, you will find it just right for this specific coverage. 

Whether office, stores, theatres, garage, shopping malls, hallways, this piece can hold up the wood’s charm along with supreme durability. Plus, this water-based polyurethane will hold up the wood’s natural color without making it yellow or somewhat fade.

Two coatings are supposedly enough to give your floor nice and smooth protection. But if your floor faces a lot of traffic, three coatings with proper sanding are required. You wouldn’t wish grains to show up beneath the layers.

And surprisingly, each layer dries within 3 hours. You might want to give the layer a sanding in between the coating sessions.

If you are concerned about its durability, well, your hardwood floors will be protected from chemical damages, scuffing, and scratches.


  • Ideal for hardwood floors
  • Ensured durability
  • It doesn’t produce any odor
  • Faster drying process
  • Prevents scratches 


  • Requires three coats for better results
  • It makes the floors slippery to some extent

5. Minwax Water Based Helmsman Spar Urethane (710510000)

Minwax Water Based Helmsman Spar Urethane Review

Here I’m back with another water-based urethane from Minwax. If your hardwood floors don’t have the texture like before and have taken a lot of damages, the Minwax 710510000 has your back to make it look like new again.

This piece will provide your wood several layers of protection against nature’s wits, and that’s what makes it stand out among other polyurethanes.

For outdoor floors, UV rays do all the damages, be it making the floors fade or damaging the protective layer. I’m pretty sure that’s a headache for you too, but this product provides a top-notch defense against UV rays with UV blockers in it. It’ll help prevent fading out as well as excessive damages.

Next off, frequent rains and moist temperatures weaken your hardwood floors. Well, this Helmsman Spar creates a barrier against these damages, which gives your floor much more secured protection.

However, as Minwax mentioned at first, this one also brings a combo of both oil and water ingredients. And here, the oil becomes a deal-breaker, which lets the finish expand naturally on the surface whenever the temperature and season change. 

Moreover, you can get the poly for your doors, trims, bar tops, bathroom cabinets, everyday cabinets, kitchen countertops, windows, etc. Especially, this item can work on outdoor furniture as well. So, in a sentence, it is not limited to only wooden floors.


  • Suitable for outdoor furniture
  • Included oil formula to combat temperature changes
  • Prevents fading
  • It can be used for multiple wood projects
  • Easily applicable


  • Produces a yellowish finish

6. General Finishes High-Performance Water Based Topcoat

General Finishes High Performance Water Based Top Coat Satin

When you just don’t want to set coating boundaries only to your hardwood floors and go beyond that for more choice, General Finishes is the name to call – a brand to put your trust and money in. For its durability, it’s more popular among homeowners as well as professionals.

This urethane contains all consumer-friendly properties to offer a superior look and safeguard to all your tough wood job, especially the hardwood floors. Within three layers of coating, you’ll get soothing results. That being said, per square can cover around 120 to 150 square feet area with great efficiency. 

Anyways, you can have the poly in four shades, including semi-gloss, gloss, flat, and satin, giving you a various amount of sheen, luster, and amber. Also, there’s a chance that you can mix the shades without any hesitation. 

Another top salable reason for this General Finish is that it requires much less time to dry, which is around an hour or two. But this applies to a fast application process.

Moreover, the brand says that you need to wait 21 days to use the area with high traffic. Undoubtedly, it’s a hell of a time. But, you won’t be disappointed with the results.

However, this piece isn’t entirely odorless, which might be repulsive for some people. But soon after the application, the smell wears off in a matter of few days. 

Last but not least, the true deal breaker of this piece is the UV stabilizer. It’ll safeguard your wooden floors as well as other materials from fading away or losing their colors. And for your information, this item serves only the interior projects.


  • Dries quickly
  • It offers a crystal clear look in multiple shades
  • Leaves no grains or debris
  • You can use multiple tools can be used to apply the polish
  • Protects against UV rays


  • It produces a bit of odor at the beginning
  • Only ideal for indoor projects
  • If overlapped on bright white paint, it may become yellow

7. RUST-OLEUM 200231 Paint

Rustoleum Polyurethane Review

Yellowing over time is a pain in the neck for most wood lovers, especially those who have hardwood floors. The Rust-Oleum Paint eliminates all the yellowing issues compared to other similar products on the harbor.

Sometimes people mistakenly crawl for multiple coating without knowing the havoc it will raise later. Only four coatings of this piece can get your desired result. Each gallon of this piece can cover around 185 to 370 square feet. If you have a room like that or an apartment covered with hardwood floors, this polyurethane is going to be a solid choice for you.

Remember that as it’s a water-based solution, it can deal with grains on the first coat. So, a bit of sanding will keep you on track.

However, sometimes you may get it in the wrong place or accidentally drop it. Chill out if something happens like that because a mixture of soap and warm water can easily remove it.

Plus, the brand says each coating can dry out in a window of 30 minutes to 2 hours. So, you’ll have to act fast with sanding as well. Apart from just floors, you can apply it on interior projects, like cabinets, trim, doors, furniture, and others.

I’ve known people who said that traditional polyurethanes require additional tools to level it evenly and make the task more challenging afterward. Thanks to its self-leveling formula, you won’t have to seek any further help. 

Last but not least, low odor makes it the ultimate deal as no one loves strong or rancid smells. You won’t experience such inconvenience applying this polyurethane. 


  • Evenly distributes on the surface
  • Not a bit of odor
  • Easy to clean
  • A decent area can be covered
  • It doesn’t yellow at all


  • You’ll have to work fast as it dries quickly

8. Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Wood Stain

Deck Premium Semi Transparent Wood Stain

When it’s all about the deck of your home, office, or any other place, I couldn’t agree more than the Deck Premium. This one sits between the sweet spot of providing a nice outlook and durability, which calls for the best overall water-based polyurethane on the list.

Well, not just deck, the Deck Premium can give a good run to the fence, sidings, and other outdoor as well as indoor wood applications.

This semi-transparent wood stain comes in multiple gradients, including Cedar, Dark Walnut, Light Walnut, Driftwood Gray, and Natural to enhance the beauty of your wooden surfaces.

Basically, the wood stain can work on multiple wood types, including cedar, fir, pressure-treated pine, redwood – these are all softwoods. Each hardwood will need more coatings compared to softwoods.

Anyway, this solution offers you a dual purpose of sealing and staining – which is scarce to find in other products. This piece adds a pleasant hue to your wood by serving a dual purpose and perfectly seals it. Likewise, it confirms proper protection against all-natural damages.

Well, your health concern is always the brand’s top priority. So, the brand ensured VOC Content lower than 50 g/L, which is eventually safe for the environment and your health. 

Plus, you can clean it up with ease. Just a mixture of warm water and soap will do the trick.

With each gallon, you can cover up to 150 square feet. So, pick single or multiple ones to fully cover the entire project.


  • It covers a decent amount of area
  • Easily cleanable
  • No sanding required
  • Minimizes working period
  • Performs as both sealing and staining agent


  • Not ideal for use on a newly installed wood

9. DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain

DEFY Extreme Semi Transparent Exterior Wood Stain

While talking of water-based polyurethanes, the wood stain from DEFY Extreme hits the market hard with its environmentally friendly properties. 

It’s a great choice for indoor and outdoor projects. Primarily outdoor projects such as siding, wood decks, fences, outdoor patio furniture, playsets, etc, are ideal for treating with the formula.

The water-based polyurethane comes in a semi-transparent look paired with a pure matte finish. And it also happens to be available in a few color variants, such as Cedar Tone, Driftwood Gray, Natural Pine, Dark Walnut, Redwood, etc. You can adjust any shade to meet your home’s appearance.

UV rays peel out the color of your wood items and fade away eventually. But thanks to the zinc nanoparticle technology of this wood stain, it helps to reflect UV rays and prevents color loss as well as premature graying. 

This exterior wood stain made out of the highest resins outperforms all other polyurethane in durability, which boils down to premium longevity. Plus, it enhances ultimate resistance to darkening, fading, and scratches. 

Maintaining a coat is a tough call when you’re playing with polyurethane. Notwithstanding, you’re free from all maintenance hassle once you apply this product. It doesn’t crave any sanding or stipping in between coatings. 


  • Premium look 
  • Easy to clean
  • It doesn’t cause any havoc
  • Resists scratches, fading and darkening
  • Prevents UV rays 


  • Longevity isn’t that satisfying for the price

10. General Finishes Enduro-VAR Water Based Urethane Topcoat

General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat

The last doesn’t mean it’s the worst – it’s still one of the best products out there. Not to forget, it’s yet another simple but powerful polyurethane from General Finish Brand. So, what makes it to be in the top 10?

Well, to brag, the outstanding water-resistant feature comes first in action. Once the solution dries out, you can call rain on your wooden floors or other surfaces; nothing will happen. 

Just so that you are sure, be aware that this solution produces a bit of amber, but when the coatings completely dry, the issue goes away. However, you can bank on this one to give a good finish to the water stains, raw wood, and dye stains. 

A total of 3 coatings are recommended to achieve the top-notch result on your wooden objects. It might take up to 2 hours to dry at the average temperature. 

Though the layer dries super quick, you can’t say the same for the curing time. It’ll cost you around 21 days to be cured fully and become user-friendly for higher traffic.

And don’t forget to sand in-between each coat; or else you may leave some buildups, drops, bubbles, and residues left behind.

With each gallon, you can cover around 120 to 150 square feet – a sweet deal indeed. And finish? Well, you’ll be able to enjoy semi-gloss, gloss, and flat shades to make the floor more enriched in appearance.


  • Easily applicable with a brush or other tool
  • Dries fast
  • Included instruction for the easy application process
  • Protects from water damages


  • Limited to a few hardwood types only

How to Choose the Best Water based Polyurethane for Hardwood Floors

It doesn’t matter if you’re refinishing your previous floors or protecting newly installed ones; you have to make sure you are applying the right one for the floor type and your preferences. To get your hands on the best water-based polyurethane, you’ll have to aim for a few things. Let’s discuss them. 

Luster or Sheen

At some point, you might ask yourself that how you’ll know the difference among various polyurethane finish7es. Well, the primary way is to check out the sheen or luster level. As different hardwood finishes have a variety of sheens, it is quite a convenient way to know the differences. 

For example, matte polyurethanes have almost no luster. Satin polyurethanes have a light glow. The sheen level in semi-gloss hardwood finishing has a medium luster level. Finally, high gloss finishes contain the highest sheens.

The role of sheen is to determine the shine of your hardwood floor. Usually, people are more comfortable with the low luster and matte floors now. Because these options can really give it a natural look, it can also conceal scuffs or scratches.


Oil-based polyurethanes get yellowish with time, whereas this yellowing is not a problem with water-based polyurethanes, as they don’t have any pigment. That is the reason they are preferable for gray and light type hardwoods. 

Water-based polyurethanes are applicable straight away over a stain. But if you’re about to update your floorboard’s color, you’ll have to ensure it before applying the polyurethane you have chosen.


When it comes to durability, water-based polyurethane is the name to rely on. Most of them can resist scratches, scuffs, and abrasions. They’re also very suitable for commercial, and high traffic areas. If you have kids and pets in the house, these are the best way to treat the floors for added protection. 

A handy and popular feature of water-based polyurethanes is that they are effortless to maintain. Before applying, remember that water-based ones provide the best results.


It would be best if you also kept in mind how much coverage you’ll have per gallon of polyurethane while choosing the product. You can measure your space with a measurement tape to have a close estimation of how much of it you’re going to need for your project. 

Usually, most of the water-based polyurethanes available in the market cover around 400 – 500 sq ft per gallon. You’ll have to pick your product considering the coverage rate based on the coating amounts you’ll be applying and the application technique.

Odor/VOC Content

Most of the water-based polyurethane products are likely to be low in VOCs and odorless. But yet it is always safer and better to check before buying. 

Though they come low in VOC, you’ll still be needing proper ventilation while using the water-based polyurethane products. 


Usually, comparing with oil-based polyurethanes, water-based polyurethanes are a bit costly. But, see what you’re getting for those extra bucks. Water-based polyurethanes are nearly odorless, fast dry, and takes minimal prep work. 

Pot life

Don’t forget to investigate the pot’s life of your purchased product. After opening the can, some may last more than 12 months or so. So, before proceeding to buy, don’t forget to consider this aspect also.

The Polyurethane Application Process for Wooden Floors

Well, as soon as you got your hands on your preferable product, you may be eager to know the application process, right? Well, let’s check out the things you need and the process you’ll have to follow.

Material to Use

Deciding between water-based or oil-based polyurethane is not really a problem. The actual problem is to choose the brand with which you’ll go. To solve this problem, you’ll have to do quite a bit of research. Check out all the details, and choose one that suits you best. 

Get an Orbital Sander

After you’re done with the material, you’ll have to collect an orbital sander. You can rent one from any local maintenance warehouse. If you have previous experience working with polyurethane, you probably have one already.

Gather Sandpapers

If you have arranged an orbital sander, it’s time to stock sandpapers of different levels, such as 60, 120, and 220-grit sandpapers. You can also improvise by making a pole sander with a broom handle and sanding block.

Collect Brushes

Now it’s time to have suitable brushes. Try to find urethane-rated ones, lamb’s wool, or synthetic applicator. With all these, having a T bar will help you to reach every part of the floor.

Preparation of the Wooden Floors

Preparing the floor is the most tiring part of the entire process. But with all the types of equipment, you won’t need to spend much time on it. 

Anyway, the idea is to clean the surface thoroughly. So, start with vacuuming. Keep the windows open for cross ventilation. 

To remove the previous finish, use rougher sandpaper first to sand the floors. Vacuum the surfaces to clean the dirt. After that, use a damp cloth, and wipe the floors. You can also use mineral spirits if you want.

The Application of Polyurethane to Wooden Floors

You’ll have to mix polyurethane properly so that there aren’t any air bubbles. You can use a paintbrush for stirring. Start applying the mix from one part of the room. Don’t forget to tap off any excess paint while dipping the brush into the polyurethane. Use the grain direction to guide yourself through the brushing. 

Let it Dry

After you’re done with the first coat, give it a few hours to dry properly. Try to follow the advisable drying time. If there are any imperfections, go with wet sanding.


After the first coat, apply another one. Have at least three coats with proper drying time. After you’re done, try to have it checked by a professional.

Tips and Tricks for the Application Process

I’m sharing some valuable tips and tricks so that you don’t make any mistakes while treating the floors. 

Never shake polyurethane

Almost every other liquid needs to be shaken before use. Polyurethane is one of those scarce products that you should never shake before use as shaking can produce air bubbles, severely hampering the finished look of the floors. That’s why please do not make the mistake of shaking polyurethane before use.

Clean working place

A crucial fact to keep in mind while working with polyurethane is that you keep the surface you’re working on clean. It would be best if you never worked in a dusty workplace with polyurethane. Instead, opt for a place with good airflow or ventilation. 

Dust can really hamper the finished look of the floor. It can also affect your floor during the drying time. So, be cautious about that.

Let the Coating Dry

Also, give it enough time to dry. It’s better if you know the exact advisable drying time. And maintain proper ventilation while working with polyurethane as it has a powerful smell.

Ensure a Well Coated Area

While applying polyurethane, maintain thinner coats. In order to have the best results, work on a flat surface. This will prevent drips and help you to achieve and maintain the finest finishing you desire so much. 

If you finally end up with drips, use a shard blade to scrap that out. Also, use a spray finish brush or wipe on so that you can evenly coat the floors. 

Keep Checking the Floors

Have proper lighting on the newly worked floors. This will allow you to check out any imperfections. You can also check the coating for a thicker or thinner coat that needs to be fixed. Do also check out for air bubbles or any spot that missed your brush. 

Water-based vs Oil-based Polyurethanes

Polyurethane is the best product in terms of durability to apply to your hardwood floor. Both the water-based and oil-based polyurethanes offer goodies. There are some differences, which make people prefer one over the other. Let’s check out the basic difference between these two.

Water-based Polyurethane


  • It provides a natural look, like maple, to your hardwood floor. 
  • These keep your hardwood floor safe from the amber-tinted shell. 
  • Quick dry


  • It costs almost twice more than oil-based polyurethanes.
  • The surface doesn’t get a rich glow like oil-based ones. 

Oil-based Polyurethanes


  • It gives you an amber glow.
  • Fewer coats than water-based ones.
  • Costs less than water-based polyurethanes.


  • Strong odor. 
  • It takes a long time to settle in.
  • As the dry time is very long, it takes a lot longer than water-based ones to have multiple coats of it.

Lacquer vs Polyurethane

These might seem the same water of a sea but still, keep a few margins between them. Let’s buckle them up.


  1. Lacquer is a durable substance. But comparing with polyurethane, it is not that much solid.
  2. It penetrates the wood surface. That’s why the coat is thinner.
  3. This one comes in three types—nitrocellulose, acrylic, and water-based.
  4. It takes a few minutes to dry.
  5. Among the three types, nitrocellulose is toxic.
  6. To apply multiple coats doesn’t take much time.
  7. You can apply it with a high-volume low-pressure sprayer.


  1. It is more durable.
  2. The coat of polyurethane is very thick.
  3. Polyurethane can be water-based and oil-based.
  4. Usually, polyurethane takes a long time to dry. In other words, it is time-consuming.
  5. Between the two variations, Oil-based polyurethanes are toxic, and water-based ones are safe.
  6. As it takes a long time to dry, applying multiple coats takes a significant amount of time.
  7. To apply polyurethane, you have to use a bristle brush or a foam brush.

Urethane vs Polyurethane

From the names, you can guess that there may be a close relationship between these two. Often, they are used interchangeably. Well, these two have similarities but not interchangeable. Let’s see what the differences are.

  1. Polyurethane is an ester of carbonic acid and is a crystalline compound. The chemical formula is C3H7NO2.
  2. Polyurethane is a polymer of urethane units. Multiple urethane units get joined by the polymerization and thus creates polyurethane. 
  3. Both of these are used as hardwood floor finishes. Urethane is used as a protective coat against temperature, scratches, and extreme weather. Urethane is also used in veterinary medicines and insecticides. Polyurethane is also very well known to be used as wood stains and finishers.
  4. Urethane is toxic to small animals though not that significant. It can create nausea as a side-effect. In polyurethanes, oil-based ones are toxic.

Minwax vs Varathane

Minwax and Varathane are two brands that produce polyurethane stains. Both have their own products with dominating effects on the hardwood floor sector.


  1. Varathane wood stain is very thick. You can have a very thick and full appearance with just one coat of it. 
  2. The drying time of Varathane is short. It takes only around an hour to dry, meaning that it’ll save your time. You can have multiple coats within a short time in comparison to others.
  3. Varathane triple-thick polyurethane is three times thicker than other polyurethanes available in the market.
  4. Also, it has self-leveling capabilities. That means the chances of getting a furnished finish are higher with it.


  1. Minwax wood finish gives you a more controllable color. The color remains lighter and thus gives your hardwood floor a more natural look.
  2. It takes a significantly longer period to dry. Every coat of Minwax takes around 5 to 6 hours to dry. This means, to have a final coat, you’ll have to wait a lot longer.
  3. Minwax polycrylic finish comes with a crystal-clear formula.
  4. This Minwax protective finish takes around 2 hours to dry.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to apply polyurethane to wood floors?

You can simply do it within two easy steps. First of all, broom the floor normally, give it a good wipe with damped cloth in a mixture of white vinegar and water. Then, use a brush of 3” – 5” to apply the polyurethane to the edges and corners of your floors. When it’s done, get a nice roller to coat polyurethane in the center. You’re all set.

How to finish hardwood floors?

The method involves removing the highest layer of the building material employing sandpaper. This paper digs down past any stains, scratches, or imperfections which may exist. In the end, you get a smooth surface for further staining, painting, or treating using the right formula. 

How to remove polyurethane from wood floors?

Polyurethane is renowned for shielding and giving hardwood floors a glossy finish. However, like all coats, it ages with time and can be removed and replaced through the following steps –

  1. Clear all movable items from the space, and clean the ground.
  2. Apply chemical stripper to the ground. 
  3. Scrape the polyurethane off. 
  4. Sand the ground lightly to get rid of any remaining polyurethane. 
  5. Sweep or wipe down the ground to eliminate any remaining polyurethane.
  1. How many coats of water-based polyurethane on hardwood floors?

It depends on the sort of product you’re using. For oil-based products, it’s always enough to apply two coats or a maximum of three. But mostly, I’d recommend you going for at least three coats of water-based polyurethane for all your hardwood floors, or one coat more. 

But any hardwood floor won’t require 4 to 5 coats. 

How to apply water-based polyurethane?

Use a cloth, bristle brush, or foam pad to apply a very thin coat. Follow the grain direction, and try not to use too much polyurethane. 

The primary coat may take a couple of hours to dry. After that, check for blemishes or air bubbles, or any spot that has escaped your brush. 

When the first coat has dried, you can apply another 2 or 3 coats.

Final Verdict

When you’re out there to choose the best water based polyurethane for hardwood floors, quality, durability, and longevity aren’t the only things to be concerned about; the time it takes to get the work done is also a prime concern. With all these, you’ll also have to reconsider the odor to deal with. 

Considering all the facts, “Minwax 710330000 Water-Based Oil-Modified Polyurethane” is the best product to go with, in my opinion. It covers a nice amount of area, provides greater shields to your floors and other wood objects, odorless. Also, the price isn’t much considering all that you will get from the product.

Good luck!

Article source: www.wikihow.com

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