5 Best Polyurethane for Hardwood Floors of 2020

Best Polyurethane for Hardwood Floors

When you are done installing the hardwood floors in your house, it’s time to apply polyurethane finish to make it stunning and durable. The best polyurethane for hardwood floors works as a shield against scratches and spills that happens during day to day use.

Applying a good quality finish onto the floors will also make them look more attractive as well. There are oil and water-based solutions that people use for different purposes. Some of them provide glossy finishing, while some make a dope looking matte finish to the floors.

If you are to get a polyurethane finish for your hardwood floors, be sure to check these top 5 picks.

Quick Pick Recommendation
Best water based polyurethane for floors


Rust-Oleum Waterborne Diamond Floor Finish is the editor’s choice due to its excellent crystal clear finish that doesn’t hide the natural grain of the wood. Also, you will get superior durability due to its abrasion and scuff resistance. The finish will handle daily stains, minor scratches, and pet marks with ease.


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5 Best Polyurethane for Hardwood Floors Reviews

There are both oil and water-based polyurethanes on the list that provide great protection to your hardwood floors and woods and make them look more attractive.

1. MinwaxPolyshades – Stain & Polyurethane in 1 Step

Best oil based polyurethane for wood floors

Whether you want to give the finishing touch to the bare wood of your hardwood floors or furniture, this product from Minwax got both stain and polyurethane to make the woods look more beautiful while adding a protective layer as well.

You no longer need to worry about pet scratch marks and spills once you coat the entire floor with the Polyshades. Even if you need to color an already finished wood, this finish can do it without even removing the existing finish. Thus, it doesn’t require you to spend time sanding the finish.

The manufacturer included a color transformation guide that tells you how this finishing coat changes the colors of an already polyurethane coated or stained wood. So, even if you want to experiment, you cannot go wrong with this.

You can either choose its stain or gloss finish option. No matter which one you choose, it will give an ultimate finish on the wood surface compared to the conventional stains. The color that comes out after applying a few coatings is a rich wood color, which looks stunning on all types of furniture as well as floors.

In addition to that, the coat will protect the wood surface from dirt, debris, and other things. You can easily apply it on the surface without asking for professional help.

Key Features

  • Rich wood color
  • Beautifies the wood surface
  • Great protection against spills and scratches
  • Easy to apply
  • Oil-based formula

2. MinwaxSuper Fast-Drying Polyurethane for Hardwood Floors 350 VOC

Best polyurethane for wood floors

Once you install the hardwood floors successfully in your house, the next big challenge is to get a high-quality polyurethane for wood floors that protects the beauty. With this fast-drying polyurethane from Minwax, you are assured about the beauty as well as the protection of the floors.

Unlike most oil-based polyurethane finishes, this one takes fairly less time to dry. So, you can recoat on the floors much faster as you don’t have to wait too long in between coats.

Conventional polyurethane requires you to sand between coats to provide a good looking finish. In contrast, you no longer need to sand between coats whatsoever using this formula to get a top-notch finish on the floors. It saves you both time and effort.

Both professionals and DIYers have to stir polyurethane formulas so that there are minimum highs and lows across large surfaces. You can rest assured about not doing this hassle as this formula has anti-settling properties that cause much fewer highs and lows while you coat in on your hardwood floors.

As far as the durability is concerned, it will make your floors durable like no other. No matter how many times your kid spills food on it, and your pet scratches on its surface, you will find it withstanding those hassles with great results.

Key Features

  • Durable protection for hardwood floors
  • Doesn’t require sanding between coats
  • Fast drying formula
  • Much less highs and lows

3. Rust-Oleum FBA Varathane Gallon Gloss Waterborne Diamond Floor Finish

Best water based polyurethane for floors

If you are looking for the best water based polyurethane for floors, look nowhere else; this floor finish provides excellent results and offers you great advantages that are hard to find in other water-based ones.

Like most durable water-based polyurethane formulas, it takes quite less time to dry. So, there will be less waiting in between coats. In addition to that, you can apply on the floors very easily all by yourself — no need to ask for professionals and spend money unnecessarily.

This one provides transparent finishing performance, and once you are done applying it, it will look crystal clear when it dries completely. The finish exceptionally enhances the beauty of hardwood floors. It contains fairly less chemical odor, unlike most other polyurethane formulas out there in the market.

Due to its superior durability, you don’t need to bother about food spillage and day to day household stains at all. The finish is resistant to abrasion and scuff that makes it a durable protective shield for your beautiful wood floors. Even if you have a couple of pets in the house, there will be much fewer scratch marks on the surface.

As it’s water-based polyurethane, you can conveniently wash the floors with soap and water to make it cleaner whenever you want.

Key Features

  • Excellent crystal clear finish
  • Great protection against stain and marks
  • Water-based formula
  • Dries quickly
  • No chemical odor

4. Zar Ultra Polyurethane Clear Interior Wood Floor Finish

Best polyurethane finish for wood floors

This is another great oil-based polyurethane for floors on the list. You can use this finish to coat your interior hardwood floors to enhance the beauty and add a layer of protection against stains and marks. It also looks great on cabinets, furniture, as well as other wood pieces.

Where most oil-based polyurethane finish takes longer to dry, this one only takes 2 hours to dry completely. You don’t have to wait for too long to add another layer of coating on floors or furniture.

Stain finishes tend to leave brush marks on the floors, which you don’t expect. The marks ruin all your effort and time; sometimes, it requires further coating to make it smooth and even. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen with this finish. Its self-leveling formula works great and smoothens on its own when you apply it on wood surfaces.

Many people prefer not using oil-based polyurethane due to a bit orange color effect on the floors. This is something you will not see from this one. It provides a clear finish on your hardwood floors and as well as other wood pieces.

If you want the glossy oily finish without changing the actual wood color, it is definitely worth considering.

The polyurethane also adds a protective abrasion-resistant layer on the surface you apply it on. As a result, there will be no issue with minor scratches and pet marks at all.

Key Features

  • Clear oil-based finish
  • Dries within 2 hours
  • Easy to apply
  • Self-leveling, no brush marks
  • Ideal for hardwood floor

5. Eco-Poly Polyurethane Wood Floor Finish & Sealer, Water-Based

Best polyurethane finish for wood floors

Although it comes in the last position, it’s a great polyurethane finish for wood floors, furniture, and even concrete surfaces. If you are looking for a finish for versatile use, this product will bring great value out of your money.

This water-based polyurethane formula is almost odorless and dries much faster than typical oil-based counterparts. You can conveniently apply it on your hardwood floors, furniture, cabinets, desks, masonry, concrete surfaces, and other surfaces.

The formula can make the surface scratch, crack, UV, chemical, and moisture resistant. Whether you are to finish your indoor or outdoor woodworking project, it will provide a great, long-lasting sheen on whatever surface you apply it on.

This sealer is highly formulated to be durable enough to protect your floors from stain and marks. Compared to its competitors, the finish requires fewer coats to bring superior protection on the hardwood floors.

At the same time, this polyurethane is great for getting a glossy finish as well. Its formulated properties also allow you to use it as a tile floor finish.

Whether you want the finish to use as a sealer on wood, concrete, or brick paver, be sure to lightly sand the surface before applying it. It will bring the texture back from the surface to improve chemical bonding for the finish, resulting in a great looking durable surface.

Key Features

  • Versatile use on various types of surfaces
  • Great sealing properties
  • Water-based low odor finish
  • Adds a protective layer on the applied surface
  • Provides glossy finish
  • Fast drying formula

You should also read: Best Wood Filler for Hardwood Floors Reviews

Best polyurethane for wood floors

What to Look for Before Buying?

Different polyurethane finishes act differently on woods. Therefore you need to consider a few things to make sure the one you get suits your wood type as well as staining requirements.

Type

Polyurethane finishes are of two types;

Water-Based

Although oil-based finishes were the most commonly used ones, the situation has changed as there are more water-based formulas available in the market. They provide different results, so you need to choose one according to your preference.

Water-based polyurethanes provide most crystal clear results, and they dry very fast. The odor is negligible in these formulas. If you love the natural grain of the wood, stick to a water-based solution.

People think that water-based formulas don’t last as long as oil-based ones. But, due to a lot of testing and huge improvements in the formula, water-based polyurethanes are found to provide a great durable finish to withstand day to day stains and scratches.

Oil-Based

If you want a more glossy type of finish, oil-based polyurethanes are for you. Even though it takes more time to dry, it’s still worth waiting an extra few hours when you see the expected better results on floors.

As far as durability is concerned, these are the most durable ones that last way better than most expensive water-based polyurethanes. Due to this reason, people use oil-based polyurethane on exterior wooden furniture and floors. Some of them have less odor than typical ones.

Finish and Look

Different types of finishes tend to provide different appearances on woods. The polyurethanes mostly deliver matte, clear, stain, and glossy finish, whether it’s furniture or your hardwood floors.

Depending on the wood type and your taste, you need to get the right formula. If you are about to get one for the tabletops, glossy polyurethanes will suit the best in this case; it will improve the appearance and make the natural color more vivid.

Consider the fact that even though polyurethanes claim to provide clear color, it will turn into yellowish color over time.

Durability

Polyurethanes are formulated to make the wood durable. However, not all of them are equally durable when you compare the results side by side. The durability highly depends on the wood type that you will apply the formula on. Some formulas work great on floors, whereas some provide excellent durability for doors and furniture.

The best polyurethane finish for wood floors will add more to the overall durability of the coatings. Abrasion-resistant formulas easily withstand the day to day marks and scratches. Some are great at handling household stains and chemicals and protect the wood from damage.

Think about the biggest threat to your wood, and consider getting a finish that can battle the threat with protective properties.

Ease of Use

If you are a DIYer, you need to make sure that the polyurethane is easy to apply so that you don’t have to rely on a professional and spend extra money on applying it. Most finishes on the list are very easy to apply. Before you proceed, make sure you have the necessary tools in your hand to be able to apply the finish onto the wood.

Odor

In case you are highly sensitive to odor, it’s a big issue for you, then be sure to check whether your desired finish has any odor or not. Pretty much all of them contain odor more or less. Don’t go with one that has a very strong odor.

Best polyurethane finish for wood floors

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Which polyurethane finish will keep the natural grain of the wood?

Water-based polyurethane provides crystal clear coatings that don’t hide the natural grain of woods. Oil-based ones tend to hide the grain due to the additional oily effect.

Q: Which finish is best for outdoor furniture?

As outdoor furniture is exposed to weather, it requires the most durable finish that can withstand weather issues such as rain, snow, and UV. Consider getting an oil-based finish in this case. This is the most durable when it comes to handling outdoor environments.

Q: What can polyurethane be used for?

You can use the finishes on any type of wood. Some finishes create a strong bond with the wood texture of all kinds. However, some polyurethane can also be used on concrete and tiles, but the durability will not be as good as on wood.

Q: How many coats are required for hardwood floors?

You will need to apply 3 to 4 coats on hardwood floors depending on the brand and quality of adhesiveness.

Q: Do you sand the final coat of polyurethane?

You shouldn’t sand the final coat. Consider either spraying or laying the finish nice and evenly. You can sand the previous coats to make the wood perfectly flat and prepare the texture to create a solid bond with the finish.

Best oil based polyurethane for wood floors

Final Words

Floors are expensive, and it’s one of the crucial parts of the interior that requires your special attention. Get the best polyurethane for hardwood floors to enhance its beauty and make it more durable so that you don’t need to invest money in repairing it soon.

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