Paint Brush Refinishing Wood

Wood Finish Options: What you need to know

At Reclaim Everything, in Northport, NY, we help our clients from consultation to finished-product, choosing reclaimed barn boards and lumber to build customized woodworking projects that add character and creativity to your home or office. When remodeling or updating your hardwood floors one of the most important steps is choosing the appropriate finish to accent the room. Typically there are three types of finish categories; oil-based polyurethanes, water-based polyurethanes, and natural oils. Let’s take a look at the attributes of each to see what option fits your project needs.


Refinished Upcycled Wood Flooring

 

Wood Finish Options:

Oil-Based Finish Water-Based Finish Natural-Oil-Based Finish
Look & Feel
  • Sits on top of wood; acts as protective layer.
  • Has a hint of an golden amber-colored tint to the finish; darkens slowly over time.
  • Sits on top of wood; acts as protective layer.
  • Applies and dries clear. This is a great option to showcase natural wood while still protecting from damage.
  • Absorbs into the wood and then hardens.
  • Offers a low-sheen finish.
  • Can be clear or stained with colors to compliment wood.
Application
  • Can require 8-20 hours to dry, per coat.
  • Offers some forgiveness with mistakes, as it can still be manipulated when wet.
  • Prominent odor.
  • Quick drying rate; a single coat can be completely dry within 1 hour.
  • Allows little room for error because of its quick drying rate.
  • Significantly less odor.
  • Most forgiving finish, as excess oil is easily removed.
  • Once dry, floors are buffed, correcting dried imperfections.
  • Little to no odor.
Durability
  • Strong ability to protect wood below.
  • Does show scratches, and wear & tear.
  • Strong ability to protect wood below.
  • Does show scratches, and wear & tear.
  • Shows almost no scratches or wear & tear.
  • Vulnerable to dents and dings.
Repair & Renew
  • Can be buffed and re-coated.
  • Can be completely refinished, with a full sanding and re-application of finish. This can only be done a limited number of times.
  • Consider surface texture when deciding finish renewal method.
  • Can be buffed and re-coated.
  • Can be completely refinished, with a full sanding and re-application of finish. This can only be done a limited number of times.
  • Consider surface texture when deciding finish renewal method.
  • Best option for being buffed and re-coated.
  • Typically not completely refinished.
  • Consider surface texture when deciding finish renewal method.
Eco-Impact
  • Releases the most VOC’s into the air while being applied, as well as for a little time following.
  • Does release VOC’s into the air while being applied, as well as for a little time following.
  • Considered the most “Eco-Friendly” option in regard to VOC emission; some brands are very low quantities, while some are VOC-free.
Cost
  • Generally the least expensive option.
  • Can be up to 3x the cost of oil-based and require up to 2 additional coats.
  • Can be up to 5x the cost of oil-based, but only require 1-2 additional coats.

Now that you know the ins-and-outs of wood finishes, it’s time to do a little research to see what option is the best choice for your budget and flooring. If you’re still unsure of what route to go in, contact one of the Reclaim Everything woodworking experts to help consult on your re-finishing project!