floor sanding and polishing

Solvent Based Polyurethane vs Water Based Polyurethane

Floor polishing and sanding can revamp your floors and make them look modern and fresh. The different appearance regarding the pros and cons of both polyurethanes are not widely known.
At Abacus Flooring in Sydney, we are often asked which polyurethane finish is better- solvent-based polyurethane or water-based polyurethane. We compare the two here and outline the differences including the end result, safety, health aspects, and durability.

These two finishes give you a viable choice when it comes to restoring your timber floors. There are pros and cons of both. We outlined them here, to help make your decision easier.

Solvent Based Polyurethane

Solvent-based polyurethane finishes have a strong odour when applied, which can last for some weeks. These finishes are often considered to be the traditional or standard finishes. These finishes do a great job and work quite well.

• Solvent-based finishes are naturally slightly yellow and will darken over the time to the amber colour. This will affect timber appearance over the time.
• Any sections of floors protected from the daylight i.e. under carpets or furniture – will maintain their original colour while any sections exposed to the daylight will yellow. This could be of concern if rugs or furniture are re-arranged or removed – as the floor will have distinct colour differences between those sections.
• Application brings up and enhances colour of the timber
• Durable. This finish does their job well and gives a shine that will last for years – recoates to maintain your floors won’t be as often.
• The finish is available in gloss, semi-gloss and satin finishes. The finish can be very glossy when compared to water based products.
• The product contains harsh chemicals which give off dangerous fumes and odours. There are question marks in regards to the negative effects of those products on health
• High scratch resistance
• One or two coats per day can be applied. You can walk on the floors within 24 hours and move furniture back into the room within 72 hours.
• These finishes are non re-coatable. This means that next time when your floor needs to be re-done you will need to fully re-sand and repolish your floors, which is a costly and messy exercise.

Water Based Polyurethane

There are many advantages to selecting water-based polyurethane products for your floors. Firstly the look of the flooring, secondly, the protection of the product on your floors and importantly the wellbeing of you and your family. Water-based polyurethanes contain less harmful products and are therefore better for the environment and the health of you and your family.

These products are popular because of their safer application, quick drying properties, and low odour. When the finish is applied the water evaporates polyurethane forms a film. Once it hardens the finish is waterproof. The look and protection for your floors are similar to that of a traditional finish.

Water Based Polyurethane Products:

• Are low in odour
• Are easy to maintain
• Maintain the natural colour of the timber
• Are available in gloss, semi-gloss, satin and matt finishes
• Are highly durable
• Do not yellow over time
• Have a good scratch resistance
• Up to 3 coats can be applied in a day. Flooring can be used 24 hours after the final coat is applied.
• These finishes can be re-coated which means they will save you cost and hassle of re-sanding floors next time when it is needed. You may simply apply another coat of the same product on top of the existing coating. This is a big money saver!

When choosing what type of polyurethane to use, solvent-based option is the cheaper alternative. Upgrade to water-based finish will add to the initial outlay but will save much money on the longer term. Our team have the expertise to guide you in the right direction and 28 years of experience to achieve the best results with finish of your choice.

When you need a floor polisher in Sydney, Abacus Flooring can help with the sanding, polishing and finishing process. We can give you an obligation free consultation to help you choose the best finish for you. Contact Abacus Flooring for more information on sanding and polishing your floors today.

Tel: 02 8425 8999 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm)

Email: info@abacusflooring.com.au

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