Just be sure you wait it out and give the oil finish time to dry and become fully cured. These tips and techniques for applying oil-based polyurethane produce virtually flawless results. Others remain crystal clear. as you work, shine a light at a low angle across the surface. This type of varnish emits a low number of VOCs. If you are sanding a floor for a clear finish (some call it a natural finish) you must sand the floor at least 3 times. Brush on three thin coats with a foam brush. Originally, it had to be brushed on, but different formulations mean it can now be applied as a spray or by wiping it on with a rag. Pads are fine for applying finishes to floors, particularly if using a waterborne finish. This is the basic difference between these two types of polyurethane refinishes. Unlike water-based polyurethanes, you don't have to wo… Step 1: Sweep the floor and then damp-mop it with water and white vinegar (10:1 ratio) or go over it with a tack cloth. These products are also self-leveling and faster to dry. I recommend applying 3 to 5 coats of polyurethane. Applying Wipe-On Polyurethane : Wipe-On (also called oil-based) polyurethane blends the best of both worlds of finishing: the high durability and protection of polyurethane with the simple wipe on application of an oil finish. Whereas oil based polyurethane’s require mineral spirits, naphtha or paint thinner for clean up. Start out with 36-grit paper, then 60 then 100 grit. And it is a great way to give your woodwork project long-lasting protection from everyday wear and tear. If you are after a safer and more environmentally-friendly option, then a water-based polyurethane is best. They include using a roller, using wipe-on poly and above all controlling dust. Oil-based polyurethanes are easy to apply but take too long to dry while water-based polyurethanes usually require multiple applications and have a whitish consistency upon application which disappears once dry.. Water-based polyurethane also tends to dry faster. However, if your project is a light color—whether stained or unfinished wood—it is best to protect it … But lets start from the beginning. Applying a water-based polyurethane coat onto a Danish oil finish is perfectly fine. Step 2: Use the 5″ to 3″ brush to apply polyurethane to wood flooring edges, and use the roller or pad to apply it to the center of the floor. Each of these materials has advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the advantages that come with oil-based polyurethane: After the final coat, do this: To reveal flaws (bubbles, brush marks, etc.) (You can use a natural bristle brush with oil-based poly, but keep an eye out for loose brush hairs.) Second, thinning of today's VOC compliant finishes is very important. Definitely 5 if it’s a surface that needs additional protection, like a table top. Polyurethane is so durable and water-resistant, it has largely replaced shellac and varnish as a wood finish. Crystal clear or amber tone: Many clear finishes add a rich, warm, amber tone to the wood. Applying Polyurethane to Hardwood Floors: Step by Step. In the article below, I have explained every major advantage and disadvantage of oil and water-based polyurethane. Water-Based Polyurethane. Thinning the polyurethane makes it flow on more smoothly and reduces brush marks. Quick Tip! Overall, Polyurethane is the easiest form of finish that even first-timers won't have difficulty in applying. Oil-based Polyurethane. So these thick coats requires more dry time, but fewer coats overall. But, I don't like it for oil based finishes where you want top appearence. Oil-based polyurethane varnishes can be cleaned up using mineral spirits. Even though I’ve built dozens of cabinets and furniture pieces, I don’t consider myself a high-end finisher. The way to a smooth finish is careful application paying attention to "tipping off" as Steve indicates. 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