The Flooring Lady
The Flooring Lady
helps you figure out what to put
under your feet

Polyurethane Flooring

Polyurethane flooring is a protective coating that adds longevity to many floors. Consider lightweight polyurethane flooring for your next hard-surface floor to reduce damage from moisture, dirt and grime, and daily wear and tear.

Wood floors are the main type of flooring that needs polyurethane as a top coat, but polyurethane can be used in other situations too. For flooring that needs to be protected, polyurethane is an excellent choice.

You need to educate yourself about polyurethane before you make your purchase. You don't want to purchase the wrong kind of polyurethane because it could ruin your flooring. There are several pros and cons when it comes to polyurethane flooring, the pros including:
* Polyurethane protects almost any type of floor
* Inexpensive
* Durability

The problems associated with polyurethane flooring include:
* Dangerous to use
* Hard determine the best match for your floor
* Off gassing

Polyurethane is created by a very scientific process. It begins by reacting a polyol (an alcohol with more than two reactive hydroxyl groups per molecule) with a diisocyanate with of course the suitable additives to go along with it. Polyurethane is not only a chemical resistant coating but also it can be turned into specialty adhesives, foams of all kinds, and more. Our interest is in polyurethane, the floor coating.

Polyurethane is the toughest floor coating that you can find for any type of floor. It was created to resist chemicals, which means that it is strong enough to resist most liquids that hit your floor. This designed resistance makes cleaning polyurethane a breeze. Another advantage of polyurethane is the way it strengthens floor surfaces for a longer life. This coating will protect various floor surfaces and keep them looking good longer than many other coatings will.

Otto Bayer and his co-workers discovered polyurethane in 1937. Ever since its creation, polyurethane has been developed further. Otto Bayer discovered that it was more than just a floor coating, it could be much more because it can take many forms.

Polyurethane is a great coating for any type floor because of the strength that it contains. If it can resist chemicals and moisture of all kinds, it is a good choice in your laundry room, kitchen or bathroom. The best part about polyurethane is that is quite affordable. Wood of course, is the most common flooring that polyurethane is used for.

Polyurethane can be dangerous. You need to be careful to not inhale too much of it because the toxins can make you ill. It's also flammable, so be careful when using it near flames. Once it is applied, it's safe. It does off gas for awhile, so chemically sensitive people need to be aware of that as they make decisions about flooring sealants.

Polyurethane is a great choice to coat your floor with because it protects and strengthens the flooring surface. The added resistance will help your flooring survive almost anything that comes its way!


Do the new floating floors have a Polyurethane coating ? or can we do this after its been laid?

We are doign this in our kitchen which is HIGH TRAFFIC and we have a dog that sometimes has accidents. I dont want to lay this floor if i will have stain issues
Thanks so much
Penny Armstrong
Decatur, IL USA

penny at August 6, 2007 7:46 AM

I just installed an engineered hardwood floor in my dining room and want to know if you can put an additional coat of polyurethane on the floor for added protection.

Renee Watson at June 5, 2008 11:33 AM

Hi Renee,

It's hard to say, according to the directions from different brands, some polyurethanes need raw wood to adhere to while some claim that they'll adhere to just about anything. I would think too that it's going to depend on what the engineered hardwood floor already has on it.

Most likely, the best thing to do is give the flooring manufacturer a call -- their website probably also has a webform or email address to contact somebody for support. If nothing else, they can probably advise you if this will violate your warranty or not and have recommendations for polyurethane brands.

After you get an idea of what brands will work with your floor, call those manufacturers to see if they actually recommend use on prefinished engineered hardwood floors.

Remember too, that these floors are exactly the same (on the surface!) as a traditional hardwood floor. That means that later on, if you ever want to, you can strip, sand, stain (if you want to), basically refinish these floors. You obviously don't want to get down deeper than the hardwood layer though. ;~)

The Flooring Lady at June 6, 2008 10:20 AM

Dear sir,
I am in the construction material business and have used Polyurethane foor in a kitchen. It puzzles me why many obvious white spots appear on the floor surface. Based on your exprience, can you please shed light on the causes and what steps can be taken to eliminate such white spots?

Yours sincerely, Mr John Lim

Mr John Lim at July 17, 2008 2:24 AM

Good day Mr. Lim!

Actually, I'm a ma'am, that's why this site is called The Flooring Lady.

A little more information would be most helpful. What kind of flooring material is this? What kind of a finish does the polyurethane provide - matte, satin or gloss?

The Flooring Lady at July 17, 2008 11:05 AM

We are installing unfinished Brazilian Cherry flooring throughout our first floor (1000 sq. ft.). We are very confused about whether to go oil based or water based polyurethane. Is there a preferred?

Richard Swert at July 24, 2008 12:16 PM

I think it's going to depend more on what the rooms are used for, how much foot traffic they're going to have and preferred cleaning methods. Diamond Coat Varathane Polyurethane has some very good products, you might want to look them over to help you make a decision.

I think too that there used to be a preference for one over the other, because of off-gassing/VOC's, though many manufacturers now have low or no VOC products - mainly due to customers preferring not to breath in the fumes while products are off-gassing.

The Flooring Lady at July 24, 2008 12:54 PM

Dear Ms. Floor Lady: I am having the same problem as Mr. Lim. I have a hardwood floor which has gloss polyurethane on it. After a couple of years, it has developed MANY white bubble spots in the polyurethane. How do I get rid of these so I can have beautiful hardwood floors again.

Nancy at August 19, 2008 1:05 PM

Sometimes the solution can be to lightly sand the spots with steel wool, apply a coat of gloss to the areas and let dry. The white spots should now be gone. However, if this is happening all over the floor, it may be a sign that it's time to refinish your floor. Sometimes, all that's necessary is to lightly sand the whole floor and reapply your poly, sometimes you need to totally strip your floor (either chemically or thru sanding) and reapply your poly. If your flooring had a wood stain applied, you may need to do that too, but let's hope not......

I'd suggest to try the steel wool sanding/poly on just a spot or two first to see how that looks. Good luck!

The Flooring Lady at August 19, 2008 3:30 PM

Sometimes, all that's necessary is to lightly sand the whole floor and reapply your poly, sometimes you need to totally strip your floor (either chemically or thru sanding) and reapply your poly.Thanks for the tips!

Best regard!

Polyurethane coating at August 22, 2008 12:21 AM

You're most welcome. I wish you luck and hope that all you need to do is lightly sand it and reapply......

The Flooring Lady at August 22, 2008 12:56 PM

i just sanded my hardwood floor and put on some water based semi gloss poly. now my floor is turning white and has no sine at all. what can i do?

jeff at August 27, 2008 2:27 PM

There could be a few reasons why this has happened. Did you make sure to totally remove all the residue - not just on the floor, but on window sills, walls, light fixtures, etc.? What grit of sandpaper did you finish sanding with? Did you make sure to mix the poly once in a while (but don't get a bunch of air bubbles in it)? You didn't use a damp rag on it after sanding, right? (Raises the grain in the wood = dull spots)

Chances are that lightly sanding then leaving the finish to dry will make the white may come out. Sanding tends to break the surface and allow the interior of the finish to dry more thoroughly, it may be all you need. If that doesn't work, you could spray the surface with blush eliminator, which you can find in aerosol cans. A lacquer retarder will also work.

Be careful too about placing bare hands or knees on the floor as you go - your body oils can keep the poly from adhering correctly.

The Flooring Lady at August 27, 2008 7:50 PM

Dear Ms. Flooring Lady-

We have a poly-u treated floor. No problems, just does not shine quite enough for me. What do you think about using Orange Glo Clean and Shine?

I've used Murphy's Oil Soap in the past and it is clean, but no shine.

Karen at August 30, 2008 10:19 AM

How long has it been since it was urethaned? Was it shiny after it was first applied? Have you tried buffing it?

The Flooring Lady at August 30, 2008 11:07 AM

Great resource on polyurethane. I'm wondering if you know of any polyurethane substitutes, maybe something that's somewhat durable but doesn't have the outgassing and so forth. Not necessarily an "all natural" protectant, but something less chemical-ish?

Jim at September 1, 2008 11:24 AM

Hi Jim,
Actually, the number of products that are becoming more 'green' are growing in numbers all the time. It's what customers want and the manufacturers have listened! There are now many products that are low-VOC, keeping off-gassing to a minimum. Much better healthwise than they used to be! Diamond Coat Varathane Polyurethane products have listened to their customers as well as other manufacturers.

The Flooring Lady at September 1, 2008 9:19 PM

I have poly wood floors and the shine is gone. We bought the house about 3 years ago and they were beautiful. What do I need to do to make it shine again. The house was built in 1940 and has the original wood floor, but has been refinished and coated with poly by the previous owners,like I said, it was beautiful. Do I need to sand it and apply another coat or just please help!

Thank you

Tiffany at September 4, 2008 9:14 PM

You could probably get by with sanding and reapplying the poly, but do you know if the previous poly is water-based or solvent-based. You need to use the same type -- if you don't know then I would recommend stripping the old poly off first. Granted, you have a 50/50 chance, but if you guess at the wrong one you're going to have a mess and will have to strip and start over anyway.

You might be able to get away with using a product like Varathane Renewal No Sanding Floor Refinishing Kit. I hope so, because it's easy to use and provides excellent results under the right circumstances. I presume that this is Low VOC like the other products they manufacture.

If you wind up needing to strip the floor, there are products out now that are environmentally friendly, so you don't have to worry about health concernes from breathing in fumes, exposure to chemicals, etc. One such product is SoyGreen PolyStripper Polyurethane Coating Stripper, Soy Gel, SoyGreen, etc. There's lots of them out there now.

The Flooring Lady at September 4, 2008 11:03 PM

Thanks. I will try to contact the previous owner to see which it is, water or solvent based.

Tiffany at September 5, 2008 8:28 PM

can you put polyurethane on laminate flooring

mara at September 24, 2008 9:47 AM

we have 8 year old hardwood floors that have a poly coating on them. unfortunately we used murphy's oil soap on them for about a year and it turned them very dull. we want to re-poly our floors but our hardwood floor company is telling us that the poly will not adhere to the floor due to the wax build up from the murphy's oil soap. is there a stripping agent that can be used? we are wanting to avoid sanding and creating a huge dusty mess. thank you!

Michelle at October 9, 2008 10:08 AM

Hi Michelle,
I don't think you're going to be able to get around stripping the whole thing. You'll have to use a stripping agent and THEN sand because of the Murphy's build-up. If nothing else, it's a valuable lesson learned - don't clean with products that leave a build up.

For cleaning wood floors plain water is best (make sure not to let it soak into the wood...spray it on with a mister bottle and wipe it up with a microfiber mop) or a cleaner recommended by a hardwood floor professional. A weak vinegar/water solution works well too on ocassion, you shouldn't need to do this every time you clean your floor - 3 or 4 times a year would be ok. At any rate, after cleaning your floor, go back over it with a dry microfiber mop (I always keep a few different mop heads handy for mine!) to 'shine' it.

The Flooring Lady at October 9, 2008 2:12 PM

my house is 2yrs old I have 2dogs we've tried floor cleaners, vinegar&water,just water, ammonia & water windex everything there is always paw prints our foot prints what should I use ?please help!

sandy at October 28, 2008 9:03 AM

Hi Sandy,

What kind of flooring do you have? I would assume it's wood, but don't know for sure since you haven't said. Poly is frequently used on other flooring types as well.

I'm worried that you may have used some floor cleaners previously that has left a residue that is difficult/impossible to remove. Have you used any products such as Orange Glo, or something of that ilk? I hate to say it, but sometimes the only thing that really helps is to strip & refinish - then use only a vinegar and water solution after that. Some green cleaners (environmentally friendly types) are also usually safe, but it's best to check them out first.

I could probably be of more help if you let me know what kind of flooring you have, what brands of cleaners you've used and what kind of poly was used.

The Flooring Lady at October 30, 2008 8:13 AM

Hi there,
I am interested in putting polyurethane on vinyl flooring that i am doing myself. is this possible?


Lisa at November 10, 2008 12:12 PM

Yes, it is! I recommend Diamond Coat Varathane Polyurethane - good stuff!

The Flooring Lady at November 12, 2008 8:08 AM

We recently purchased a home that has handscraped bamboo wood flooring throughout. Since we have 3 small children, I paid a flooring company to come in and put a protective coat on the floors, we moved in 3 days later and for some reason the bottom story of our home, the floors look terrible. The coating is peeling up everywhere and looks scratched up everywhere. Is there a way to strip off this coating without damaging the handscraped look of the bamboo flooring?

Holly at November 17, 2008 9:21 PM

Hi Holly,
I don't think you should have to do anything - the flooring company should take care of it. It sounds like the product that they used wasn't compatible. The finish certainly shouldn't be peeling after just a few days!

The Flooring Lady at November 17, 2008 10:33 PM

Hi, I have hardwood pine floors. The previous owners started the floor by sanding and applying 1 coat of poly. I want to apply more coats of poly but I am unsure of what kind of poly and what instruments are needed to do the job. Everyone is telling me most of the work has already been done. The second coat is all that is needed. Please help.

kia at November 18, 2008 5:09 PM

My house was built in the 1950's and has oak floors. I just recently sanded them and applied a stain that went on horrible! It showed all the over laping marks when it dried. When I went back to the store I purchased the stain, they tld me I needed to use a conditioner first. Well, they didn't tell me that to begin with, so they said to use the polyshades (stain & polyurethane in one) in a darker color and apply two coats. So I did.The floors look great now and have an even color but my floors are still not as shiny and as sealed as I would like. Can I apply a polyurethane on top of the polyshades? Please help!

Sarah at November 18, 2008 5:13 PM

Hi Sarah,

Yes you can, but make sure that the product you buy is compatible with the type of polyurethane in the polyshades (is it water based, oil based? Use the same type!).

The Flooring Lady at November 19, 2008 8:27 AM

Hi Kia,

Any possibility of contacting the previous owners to find out? If that can't be done, I'd recommend testing in a small, inconspicuous spot to see which kind of poly works. If there aren't any closets or anything, choose a spot that would always be covered by furniture or an area rug. That's really about all you can do. Good luck!

The Flooring Lady at November 19, 2008 8:30 AM

i want a proffesional company to sand, restain and repoly my floors. i have 3 little kids 5 , 3, 4 months. is the sanding dangerous for the air in my house, meaning is it like lead that they warn you about on all paint cans? my house was built in 1940. are there any other health risks. i am having the guy use water based poly

also he said he was going to put on three coats of poly is that enough?

finally, if my kids play on the floor will it come off on their hands and toys

thank you very much!!!!!!!!!!

ark at December 6, 2008 5:03 PM

We have laminate flooring throughout our house. I would love for it to have a nice deep shine. Could I polyurethane it, or are there any other products I can use to give it that "look"?
Thank you and Happy Holidays!

Cathy at December 7, 2008 8:55 AM

i had a guy come to polyurethane my floors but he said there are water damaged spots and he cant do it are there any ways to get around this problem?

also on my other room he wants to use oil poly for how long is the fumes dangerous for little kids or for my husband and myself?

rina at December 7, 2008 5:28 PM

Hi Ark,
It might be a good idea to out of the house while your workers sand, but other than that you'll be ok. Most poly manufacturers are even making their products more environmentally friendly now too so that there is little or no off-gassing. Coming in physical contact with the poly isn't a problem.

3 coats sound good - it really depends on what the manufacturer's recommend. You really want a good coating on your floor - especially with it being in a room that's going to have lots of activity.

The Flooring Lady at December 8, 2008 11:59 AM

Hi Cathy,
Without knowing what your flooring is, I really can't recommend anything. Much of the laminate flooring made today is already sealed and often using additional sealers voids the warranty. Your best bet is to call the manufacturer, see what they recommend if anything. If you don't care if you void your warranty, the manufacturer might still be helpful in figuring out what kind of product to use or at least give you info about what kind of finish your floor has so YOU can figure out what types of products will be compatible for you to use. Good luck!

The Flooring Lady at December 8, 2008 12:05 PM

Hi Rina,
I think I'd get a second opinion, especially since water-based polys are very good too. What are the water damaged spots you're referring to - a bit more info would be most helpful. What kind of flooring do you have and what room is this in?

The Flooring Lady at December 8, 2008 12:18 PM

Hi, we had our floors sanded, stained, and polyed. Trouble is there was little shine after their 2 coats, so I applied 2 more coats (pretty heavy coats) to the first floor and 1 to upstairs. (I used a lambs wool). Recently I noticed little peel spots. They appear to be starting at the joint between boards and seem to be started anywhere there is flex in the floor. Is there any way to keep this from getting too bad, or stop it. I thought about using a utility knife and very easily cut the poly between boards. Good idea?, bad?

Paul at January 15, 2009 5:51 PM

Hi Paul,
I would recommend wiping these areas with a product that will dissolve the poly. Don't take it all off, just enough to take care of the peeling. It may look whitish afterwards, but this should clear up. Did you buff the poly? This can make a big difference in the final outcome of your project.

The Flooring Lady at January 16, 2009 8:15 AM

hi so we finally got some body to scrape our floor.
is the dust dangerous? he thinks that the finish on floor is the original one from 65 years ago(however he doesnt know for sure) and that its a wax finish? is this dangerous?
finally how long do you have to wait for the oil polyurethane before bringing my wife and young kids back home?

ark at February 2, 2009 12:41 PM

Hi Ark,
I would have no way of knowing if the dust is dangerous or not as there's no way to know what the finish contained. Any time that you're working on a project that creates dust, you should wear protection to keep it out of your eyes and mouth - just common sense. Be sure to shop vac well. There is no 'set' time to wait before taking up residence again after applying oil polyurethane. Many of them now have lower VOCs than they used to. I would suggest that you see what the manufacturer recommends (remember to ventilate well!). It's a bit of a personal thing too - some people are super-sensitive to VOCs.

The Flooring Lady at February 3, 2009 7:49 AM

Hi: I have just replaced 4 oak treads to a short staircase off my kitchen and in addition, added an oak handrail. This is off an existing floor that was done professionally. I plan on applying the poly myself to the new stairs and rail. What base is best to use for durability - water or oil? Do I need to buff the stairs?

field at February 25, 2009 2:11 PM

Hi Field,
Water-based poly would be ok and will give you less problems with off-gassing. They are both very good. For your stairs and handrail, it shouldn't matter much which one you choose. You should buff at least after the first coat or whatever the directions state. It really won't be necessary for the handrail, not to mention a bit more difficult, but it can be achieved with a buffer wheel attached to an electric drill.

The Flooring Lady at February 25, 2009 10:32 PM

Our floors were sanded and finished a few years ago and still look very good, except for approximately one area where an area rug had been was cleaned with a rug cleaner and this 3x4 part must have gone through. Is there any product to restore the shine or can I rag on some poly urethane that I have in a jar from the original job?

nancy at May 2, 2009 12:20 PM

Hi Nancy,
You can try what you have in mind, though I'd use a brush or applicator rather than a rag. Hopefully it'll look good enough to live with it. You might have to add another coat to the whole floor though, but let's hope not. ;~)

The Flooring Lady at May 3, 2009 12:43 AM

We just had our hardwood floors refinished. The first coat of polyurethane was put on yesterday and we slept in the house last night. Due to colder temps the windows were not open. I am not sure if the company had the windows open while applying. Is this harmful?

Lori at May 7, 2009 8:12 AM

Hi Lori,
It would depend on the product they used. Good news is, most of the polys today have lower VOCs making them much more environmentally friendly. Without knowing what product was used, there's no way that I can tell you anything definite.

The Flooring Lady at May 7, 2009 8:53 PM

I had my wood floors sanded and polyurethaned last week using an oil based poly. When the first coat dried, the floor looked fine but appeared to need a second coat of poly. The second coat has dried, but now I notice that there are sporadic rough patches throughout the floor with what appears to be tiny little bumps or bubbles. When I walk over the surface with socks, it feels like the fibers on my socks actually get snagged. Is there anything I can do to repair this and leave a smooth finished look?

Beary at May 9, 2009 8:24 PM

Hi Beary,
Yes, this can be fixed. The floor needs to be lightly sanded with fine sandpaper and another coat of poly applied. Actually, you're supposed to sand between coats anyway, especially if you want a nice shine. ;o)

The Flooring Lady at May 11, 2009 11:21 AM

I am thinking of getting a steam vacuum cleaner to clean my polyrethaned wooden floors. Would you recommend this?

Gemini at May 11, 2009 4:00 PM

Hi Gemini,
Should be ok so long as the poly hasn't worn away anywhere.

The Flooring Lady at May 14, 2009 9:03 PM

Is there any way to speed up the off gassing from polyurethane?
Anything I can apply over the surface. It has been 6 weeks and the smell is still bothersome. Thank you.

Nancy O'Neill at May 16, 2009 5:44 PM

Hi Nancy,

Well, not really. Leaving windows open helps a lot. If it's that bothersome, you might be better off stripping the poly and looking for one that is low or no VOC. Something like PolySoy would be a good choice.

The Flooring Lady at May 17, 2009 11:24 PM

Thanks for the advice 5/17.
I covered a couple of floor boards with shellac as a test. They don't smell!!! It is shiny, but that's ok. The floors are in my bedroom and adjoining computer room, so they won't get too much wear. What do you think? Is this something you think I could do? Thank you so much.

Nancy O'Neill at May 21, 2009 10:43 AM

Hi Nancy,
What kind of shellac is it? Do they have a satin finish available?

Yes, I think you can do this. ;~)

The Flooring Lady at May 21, 2009 11:13 AM

Thank you for getting back to me so soon!
I used Zinsser Bulls Eye Shellac. The polyurethane I used was Zar Ultra Max. I should have used the waterbourn, but used the "Ultra Max Waterborne oil-modified polyurethane". The smell is is giving off is an oil smell. Today marks the 7th week since it went on. Is there any real disadvantage to putting the shellac over this, such as water marks? Perhaps problems like that can be addressed as they happen? Someone said it might crackle, but the manufacturer says (in it's written material) that it can go over polyurethane.
I truly appreciate the help/advice.

Nancy O'Neill at May 21, 2009 12:34 PM

Hi Nancy,
If the written material from the manufacturer says that it can go over polyurethane, then yes, it should be able to go over the poly. One thing that's nice is that the Zinsser Bulls Eye Shellac is non-toxic.

As per their literature: If there are water spots or white rings in the finish, the
discoloration can usually be removed by rubbing gently
with an alcohol-dampened rag.

If damage is too severe for correction by this remedy, or
where the spot is the result of a cigarette burn or
other physical damage, remove the old film in the
affected area by sanding. Then apply two or more coats,
using either Bulls Eye Clear Shellac Spray or liquid
shellac thinned to a 2-lb. cut.

The Flooring Lady at May 25, 2009 11:39 AM

I'll let you know how this all works!
Appreciate your help very much......

Nancy O'Neill at May 25, 2009 6:39 PM

Thanks Nancy - I'd be very interested in hearing how it works too! ;o)

The Flooring Lady at May 27, 2009 8:14 PM

I haven't forgotten to report to you about the shellac treatment. I had hoped the other stuff would still burn off. It hasn't. I put the first part of shellac down this afternoon. So far, so good. I'll keep you posted.

Nancy O'Neill at June 5, 2009 6:33 PM

Great and thanks. Much appreciated. Good luck!

The Flooring Lady at June 6, 2009 1:25 PM

Ok.. It is Tuesday evening ~ 5:28 as I type this.
The first coat of shellac went down on Friday and Saturday (6/5,6/09). On Sunday I hand sanded the entire floor - lightly. This is an old floor (1937) with lots of curved pieces of wood and lots of nail heads. A machine wouldn't have done the job. I found that there were many spots around the perimeter of the room that had bubbled. It has been suggested that these spots were spots where the floor was still off gassing. Could it have been from formaldehyde left from the backing of the rug that was removed? I don't know. Could it have been from a mix of polyurethane and other chemicals in the wood from previous owners? I don't know. The bubbles were soft and gooey. I started to sand them but then just scraped down to expose the bare wood. After that I stained the spots. On Monday morning I gave the floor a second coat of shellac. Tuesday afternoon I checked again for bubbled spots. There were several. I scraped them and just now finished staining the wood. Tomorrow morning I will apply shellac around the perimiter of the room and over the few spots that popped up in the middle of the room. Some of these were around nail heads. I will let you know how this works.
All in all, I think this has been a success! I hope it has. I've been out of my house for 9 + weeks now. The only smell I'm getting at this point, after scraping, is a hint of alcohol.
If this doesn't work, I am considering painting the floor.
If that doesn't work, the floors will be torn out!
Thank you, again.
I appreciate all of your advice.

Nancy at June 9, 2009 3:59 PM

Hi Nancy,

You are welcome. Please let me know what the final outcome is.

The Flooring Lady at June 10, 2009 10:44 AM

Can I put polyurethane on engineered hardwood floor?

Jean at June 22, 2009 1:54 PM

Hi Jean,

Yes, and I recommend Diamond Coat Varathane Polyurethane.

The Flooring Lady at June 23, 2009 11:08 AM

My hardwood floor installer is suggeting a product called Classic 50 by Synteko as an alternative to the polyurethane finish.
He told me the product is oil based, dries more quickly and will be harder than the Polyurethane.
I'm concerned about safety following installation -offgasing etc.
I have a one year old.
Any thoughts?

Leatrice at August 2, 2009 8:26 AM


If you are concerned about the finish on the flooring Synteko's Classic series is less likely to chip or peel away. There's also no need to apply acrylic type waxes on a monthly basis.
If you are truly concerned consult your pediatrician.

The Flooring Lady at August 3, 2009 8:10 AM

Shellac over waterbourn/oil modified polyurethane. As reported back in June, I put down two coats.
I do not recommend this!
I am tearing the floors out down to the joists and starting again.
A real bad experience.
Live and learn!

nancy at August 11, 2009 2:45 PM

Thank you Nancy for reporting back!

The Flooring Lady at August 11, 2009 4:19 PM

We have Mohawk engineered flooring. It is kind of a matte finish and I have always liked shiny. But more importantly, when water or liquid gets spilled, it soaks into the floor and warps and makes feel ripply. We have only had the house for 2 years and have already replaced the diningroom floor. My question is, can I put polyurethane on the floor now? We have the wood in high traffic areas so it would be great and I was hoping it would seal the floor too. What are your thoughts and is there a science to application or do you do it with a brush or mop or what? Sorry, I'm a rookie.

Thanks so much,


Carrie at September 2, 2009 8:53 AM


Yes you can! I would give Mohawk a call to determine if in doing so you would void your warranty or perhaps even consult with them as to why the floor continually is having issues.
I've had Mohawk flooring and it survived an overflow from a faulty washing machine!

If you decide to take the leap and use a poly I recommend Diamond Coat Varathane Polyurethane. They have directions on the product and on their site to determine the best way to apply the polyurethane. I would love to hear how it goes!

The Flooring Lady at September 2, 2009 9:30 AM

I'm converting an office into a bath. It has beech floors that I am going to keep. I'd love to use a water-based poly, but I keep getting advice to use an oil-based for durability (especially in the bathroom environment). I'm going to go right through the entire house and want to be consistent. Is there a water-based poly that meets/exceeds the durability/wear/value of oil?

Chris at September 18, 2009 8:27 AM

Hi Chris.

The problems with oil based poly are that tends to yellows with age, and it's *really* bad for the environment and indoor air quality, which means it's bad for the people using that air.

I would recommend Diamond Coat Varathane Polyurethane to complete your floor.

The Flooring Lady at September 21, 2009 7:33 AM

I have raw red oak floors laid down. I am concerned about the off gassing of oil based polyurethane because of a large 7 person family and had two questions for you:

1. How long does a professional grade polyurethane off gas for?

2. What do you think about the durability of AFM's polyurasil BP? It is water based and the company AFM is supposed to be the gold standard in green healthy floor products.

courteney at September 22, 2009 7:41 AM


There are now many products that are low-VOC, keeping off-gassing to a minimum. Much better health-wise than they used to be! Diamond Coat Varathane Polyurethane products have listened to their customers as well as other manufacturers. I recommend their water-based poly. I am not familiar with the AFM's polyurasil BP.

I have cabinets in the pantry that were finished with the oil-based version -- five years later I can get a whiff of the product in cabinets that aren't opened often.

The Flooring Lady at September 23, 2009 2:20 PM

I have wide pine floors, they are 5 yrs old ,minimun wear but I want to re do them do i need to sand the floor first before I put on poly?

mary at October 12, 2009 7:50 PM


Unless the floors are unfinished you will need to screen or sand them so that they can accept the new finish.

Since pine is soft, and the floor is not in bad shape, I would recommend a light screening.

The Flooring Lady at October 14, 2009 8:55 AM

I have unglazed (un sealed) porcelein tiles much like the ones in the malls. I am tired of trying to strip and wax them every year. Can I use polyurethane on them and will it last?

Anne at October 14, 2009 1:18 PM


Polyurethane will protect the floors, and will last longer than wax. However, it will eventually wear down. I would be sure to door mats to the areas that get heavy traffic, to keep off any excess dirt or grit to help it last longer.

The Flooring Lady at October 19, 2009 8:47 AM

I am buying a 1947 home. The owner that had the house 14 years ago said she removed carpet, sanded the floors down very thin, and they can't be sanded any more. They had polyurethane applied to them at the time. Before I move in should I "re-polyurethane" them? If so, how?

Gloria at October 22, 2009 10:33 PM


You shouldn't have to re-polyurethane unless the finish is worn and scratched.

But, if needed, you may still be able to screen the surface of the floor without removing any of the actual wood. The best way would be to remove the old finish and reapply.

The Flooring Lady at October 26, 2009 8:50 AM

Our office at work has a gym on the first floor, they are redoing the floor and using polyurethane. There alot of fumes that reach our offices, even though we open the doors it still is giving everyone headaches. They have been working on it for 2 wks and won't be done for a while yet. I had to stay home from work one day because I had a bad headache. What can I do to protect myself.

Barb at November 9, 2009 12:35 PM


The best thing is plenty of fresh air. Not just in the area you are in, but the office as a whole. If it is giving everyone headaches, there are too many fumes in the building.

The Flooring Lady at November 13, 2009 9:53 AM

Copyright © 2005 - 2016 by Sage Blossom Consulting, Ridgway Colorado.
All Rights Reserved worldwide. May not be copied, stored or redistributed without prior, written permission.