The Best Way to Apply Polyurethane to Floors

Some of the basics of installing flooring, particularly in commercial spaces with heavy traffic, are visual appeal and durability. Different types of floor finishes add both to the beauty and strength of your floors in discrete ways. A perfect polyurethane finish and you’ll never want to carpet your floors again! 

This article is your ultimate guide to polyurethane for floors, taking you step by step through the basic components of polyurethane, the differences between oil based polyurethane and water based polyurethane, the equipment needed to achieve the best finish, the number of coats required, as well as essential safety considerations. 

Let us begin at the beginning. 

What is polyurethane?

Polyurethane is a synthetic floor finish composed of raw materials derived from crude oil. It is a liquid resin that is principally used to coat wooden flooring. The best polyurethane for floors involves easy application and rapid curing. They also offer water resistance, strength, and longevity to flooring.

What are the two types of polyurethane for floors?

The foremost decision you will have to arrive at when applying polyurethane to floors is the kind that is best suited to your project. Do you need an oil based polyurethane finish or a water based one?

Being extremely resistant to wear and tear, oil based polyurethane boasts superb longevity. It offers more resistance to water and chemicals than its water based counterpart, making it an ideal choice for high-traffic spaces such as entrances and halls. However, this type of polyurethane has some flaws as well. It tends to become yellow with age. At the time of application, it produces a strong odour, is difficult to dry, and requires solvents for cleanup.

The upsides of water based polyurethane is that it produces less malodorous fumes during application and offers easier cleanup without solvents. However, it isn’t as robust as its oil based variant, making it ideal for lower traffic areas. 

How many Coats of Polyurethane are Required?

When you are sure of the type of polyurethane you need for your flooring project, your next task is to finalize how many coats of polyurethane you will require. This means that you shall have to take several factors under consideration including the present condition of the floor, the type of wood used, as well as a proximate of the extent of wear and tear expected. You must keep in mind that each coat of polyurethane for floors has to dry completely before the application of more coats.

As mentioned before, water based polyurethane exhibits quick-drying properties. However, they also require a greater number of coats. You shall have to apply two seal coats followed by two top coats for this variant of polyurethane finish. As they also offer excellent cures, the time between two coats usually does not exceed two hours. An oil based polyurethane finish, on the other hand, will typically demand a day between each coat.

Essential Equipment for the Best Polyurethane for Floors

While applying polyurethane finish to wooden flooring, you shall require an applicator for a smooth polyurethane finish. Duratool applicators, Lambswool applicators, and rollers are common choices for this purpose. The best applicators for water based finishes are rollers or t-bars.

Tips and Tricks for a Great Polyurethane Finish

There are certain things you need to keep in mind to achieve the best polyurethane for floors. Here’s what you need to do to attain the polyurethane finish of your dreams.

  • Ensure that your floor is well prepared for the polyurethane finish. It should be tacked, sanded, and cleaned. These steps are particularly important if you are using oil based polyurethane.
  • For the second and third coats of polyurethane for floors, keep in mind that you need to always work in the direction of the wood grain. You can abrade between coats but should never buff the last coat.
  • For a full finish, you should usually require 3-4 coats of polyurethane finish, 1-2 seals, and about 2 finish coats. If you are using a t-bar, ensure that you maintain a wet edge.

Polyurethane for Floors: Some Precautions to Consider

It is essential to follow certain safety measures and precautions while undertaking polyurethane finish for floors.

  • Firstly, reading finish labels is a must to take adequate precautions. Polyurethane can release potentially harmful fumes, making it imperative to work in spaces with good ventilation. This can entail keeping doors and windows open, turning on fans, and using a respirator, if required.
  • Keep protective clothing like gloves and goggles handy as you want to minimize contact with eyes and skin. 
  • Dried polyurethane is extremely difficult to remove. Therefore, if you do get it on your skin, wash immediately using soap and water.

Also Read: A Brief Guide to Polyurethane Flooring System

Finishing Touches

You are now an expert on polyurethane finishes for floors. Just choose your medium and applicator and give a new look to the floors of your office or any commercial space. 

For the best polyurethane finish for floors, reach out to our experts at Duphill Technical Solutions LLC. Let our polyurethane finish give a new lease of life to your floors.