Best Polyurethane for Hardwood Floors – [Reviews & Guide 2020]

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Our Choice
The Minwax polyurethane is a product that was formulated for its specialty when it comes to hardwood flooring. With its super fast-drying quality and durability, you can be sure that you are buying the right tool intended for the job.

The quality of workmanship matters a lot when it comes to finishing your hardwood floors but beyond that, the quality of the materials used matters more! Polyurethane is the protective coating for hardwood floors and the brand of polyurethane will have a huge impact on the durability and aesthetic properties of your floors. In this article, I am going to walk you through the best grade polyurethane products available for the best results.

1. Minwax 13022000 Super Fast-Drying Polyurethane For Floors – Best For Floors

Minwax Polyurethane is a crystal clear satin, ultra-fast drying protective topcoat for hardwood. This exclusive Minwax formula is known to be an effective and high-quality polyurethane product for hardwood floors. It is made to have a relatively thin consistency which gives it the super-drying quality. The fast-drying time this product has makes it a great choice as you do not have to wait for extended periods between coats when there is a need to make multiple coats. The Minwax super fast-drying polyurethane also has a self-leveling quality which means that no sanding is required between coats.

This Minwax product has a low odor, dries fast, and is crystal clear. In addition to protecting the natural beauty of the hardwood floor, it adds on to the beauty of the wood. It has little volatile organic compounds and can be recoated in as little time as two hours which is a great feature when compared to other polyurethanes.

Pros
  • It has a super-fast drying time.
  • It dries in a perfectly smooth coat.
  • It requires no extra sanding between coats.
  • It is specialized for use on hardwood floors.
  • It can be re-coated more quickly than most other products.
  • It gives good value for every penny spent.
Cons
  • It is prone to hardening in the can if not stored correctly.
  • It may slightly affect people with breathing problems during application.

Overall Impression

This product gives an excellent finish and high standard protection to your hardwood floors. More amazing is the fact that absolutely no time is wasted during its application on waiting and sanding as the formula eliminates that through an ultra-fast drying time with an evenly smooth spread. With excellent performance and minimal flaws, it is undeniably the best polyurethane for hardwood floors.

2. Varathane Premium Oil-Based Clear Floor Finish – Best with sanding

The Varathane Premium oil-based Floor Finish is painstakingly formulated to provide optimum protection for hardwood floors. Manufactured by Rust-Oleum, the Varathane Premium Floor Finish is made with a special Aluminum Oxide Nano Technology that gives your floors maximum scratch resistance and a lustrous finish. Varathane Premium Oil-Based Clear Floor Finish provides outstanding scratch and stain resistance to keep your interior hardwood floors looking great. It is recommended for interior bare hardwood floors as it would not give good results when used on surfaces such as linoleum, vinyl, glazed tiles or metal. It has astonishing durability hence, it is ideal for high traffic areas in kitchens and hallways.

The Varathane Premium oil-based Floor Finish improves the quality of wood by improving its appearance and value of wood. It has an attractive semi-gloss finish that highlights the natural beauty of the wood. This product is designed to resist stains and household chemicals making it versatile and suitable for hardwood floors and keeping it in good condition for extended periods.

Pros
  • It gives an elegant finish.
  • It has a low odor emission.
  • It is durable and scratch-resistant.
  • It is suitable for high traffic areas.
Cons
  • It takes a longer time to dry out.
  • It is slightly higher in price.

Overall Impression

Overall, this product brings a different definition of durability. It is a very good choice which gives you a perfect finish on your floors with long-lasting goodness. It is suitable for houses with pets or children as you can be assured they wouldn’t be making a mess of your really expensive hardwood floor.

3. ZAR Oil-Based Polyurethane Wood Finish – Best for Kitchen Floor

For those who detest the sight of brush strokes or any irregularities, this is another great product as its self-leveling feature is top-notch. It is manufactured specifically for interior use and suitable for an array of wooden surfaces and furnishings. It brings out the natural beauty of the wood as it applies a clear, smooth, and self-leveling finish to the surface. With this product, particular caution should be taken in its application so as not to make it too smooth to reduce the risk of accidents and falls.

This polyurethane toggles a tough abrasion-resistant layer on your hardwood floor, offering it unbeatable protection. Although it is an oil-based product, it tends to give a lighter finish to the hardwood surface, so be sure you love just that light natural look. The fast-dry nature of this product coupled with its durability makes it a great choice. In terms of cost, it is also a great deal as it sits comfortably between the extremes of ‘cheap’ and ‘expensive’.

Pros
  • It is made to a fast-drying formula.
  • It is self-leveling and gives a smooth finish.
  • It is specially formulated for hardwood floors.
  • It gives a strong finish to wood surfaces.
Cons
  • It doesn’t darken the wood.
  • The floor may become too smooth.
  • It is relatively an expensive product.
  • The formula is highly inflammable.

Overall Impression

In a world where there are several products out there to choose from, The ZAR Oil Based Polyurethane Wood Finish is truly a product that lives up to its advertisement and promise to keep your wooden floors in great shape and high quality for years to come ensuring that the formula remains clear. I would say it is a great product to go for if you seek quality results.

4. Rust-Oleum 260165 Ultimate Polyurethane – Best for Patios

This is another great product when it comes to hardwood floors protection. It is specially formulated to protect and improve the appearance of interior hardwood surfaces. The Rust-Oleum Ultimate Polyurethane gives a protective matte finish that conceals fingerprints and smudges. It is made with a water-based acrylic formula that dries out quickly and can be cleaned with soap and water

Rust-Oleum Ultimate Polyurethane provides a long-lasting protective finish for hardwood floors with a distinguished soft-touch texture providing resistance to scratches and stains. It has an easy-to-clean water-based formula with low odor. So, if you ever need to have this soft-touch feel on your floors, all you need is this product and an application brush to start you out.

Pros
  • It is very easy to use.
  • It is easy to clean.
  • It gives a nice matte finish.
  • It is water-based.
  • It is scratch and smudge resistant.
Cons
  • Its matte design tends to alter the natural wood grain appearance.

Overall Impression

Overall, this Polyurethane product is perfect for users who want to opt-in for outstanding beauty, easy application and long-lasting protection. This product is user friendly and relatively affordable while delivering amazing results. It is very easy to work with and smooth to the feel. Very much recommended!

5. Dura Seal 1G Satin 310 Polyurethane – Best Satin for Hardwood floors

If you ever have had to deal with hardwood floors, this product must ring a bell. Being a household name, this polyurethane product is one of the best products out there with maximum durability. It has an awesome coverage capacity as one gallon could cover up to 500 square feet. For this particular reason, it is very useful if you have a large surface to cover. The reviews from customers of this product are equally amazing as it rains praises of its durability and an ability to form uniform coats with minimal troubles.

The pricing of the Dura Seal 1G Satin 310 Polyurethane is fair enough and relatively cheaper although the price tag appears massive compared to others at first glance. This is because this product comes in a one-gallon size whereas its close substitutes come in one-quartz, which is equivalent to one-quarter of the gallon size. The product may require more coats to achieve the advertised potential but this does not bring about an increase in cost. It is ideal for large projects or several small projects because of its increased content.

Pros
  • It gives very good value for money.
  • It has a very large coverage capacity.
  • It gives a durable finish.
Cons
  • It is not ideal for small projects.
  • It requires more coats to get the desired results.

Overall Impression

The DuraSeal Satin Polyurethane gives a perfect finish to your floors. More importantly, it gives real value for your money. So if you have a large project or need several projects to be done on hardwood floors or perhaps, you handle hardwood floors on a commercial scale, this is a great product for you. You just have to scale your projects properly and cover more with less.

6. Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane, gallon, Semi-Gloss – Best Semi-gloss for Hardwood

With this polyurethane, you can be sure to give your hardwood floors the best treat in a beautiful state by keeping them in a long-lasting thick film. This product gives your surfaces a semi-gloss finish with one of the hardest protective layers there is. You can add a lot of value also to your furnishings as it can be used on both finished and unfinished wooden surfaces. It has a super-fast drying quality and levels out evenly on application.

This Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane is easy to use and makes wood easy to be cared for as it offers maximum protection against an array of potential damages. Upon application, this polyurethane dries very fast and is assured to bring long-lasting beauty on different wood surfaces. It gives a durable finish while enhancing the natural beauty of the wood grains. This particular product comes in a one-gallon container and is suitable for large projects.

Pros
  • It is very durable.
  • It gives wood surfaces a sparkling semi-gloss finish.
  • It is convenient for all types of wood.
  • It is suitable for large projects.
Cons
  • It is not suitable for small projects.
  • It can dry out in the can if not stored properly.

Overall Impression

When your project is one that demands quality delivery and time is of the essence, this is a go-to product. The semi-gloss property is guaranteed to improve the appearance of wood that would not depreciate in quality even over time. This polyurethane provides an elegant finish to all wooden furnishings with a scratch-resistant property.

7. RUST-OLEUM FBA 230031 Varathane Gallon Gloss Waterborne Diamond Floor Finish – Best Sealer for Hardwood

Varathane Gallon Gloss Waterborne Diamond Floor Finish will give your surfaces a glossy protective finish. It also improves the appearance of hardwood by highlighting its natural beauty. Because strength does matter, this polyurethane is specifically built to resist household stains and household chemicals keeping the wood surface in top form for longer periods. It is manufactured with a water-based formula which increases its versatility and uses for a variety of surfaces especially hardwood floors.

It has a gloss finish and can greatly improve the appearance of your hardwood floors and generally increase the value of your home. This product is ideal if you want to improve the appearance of your home and keep your wooden surfaces or furnishings protected for longer periods. It is suitable for hardwood floors with high traffic because of its scuff-resistant feature.

Pros
  • It gives a high gloss finish to hardwood.
  • It makes fast application possible with its quick drying time.
  • It is scuff and abrasion-resistant.
  • It is a water-based formula and is easy to apply.
  • It is very durable.
Cons
  • It has a little odor although ‘no odor’ is advertised on the manufacturer’s read.

Overall Impression

This is a water-based polyurethane finish with an elegant design. It provides world-class protection for hardwood floors with superior durability, abrasion resistance, and scuff resistance. It provides a clear finish and although some users claim it doesn’t live up to what is advertised, the reviews are overall great and it’s a product I would recommend for excellent results.

FAQ

What is the best polyurethane for stairs and how many coats are required for each step?
It is advised to use the same product for both stairs and floors to maintain a uniform effect. It is equally important to note that since stairs generally get the most traffic with gravity putting some extra force to it, it is necessary to choose polyurethane that is strong, resistant to abrasion and is durable. For steps, I would recommend applying at least three coats of protective covering (polyurethanes) to ensure that it can withstand the high traffic.
What kind of formula is best for my home?
Polyurethanes come in basically two classifications; the water-based formula and the oil-based formula. The choice on which to use depends on what you intend to achieve in your surfaces. The water-based formula is ideal if you wish to maintain the natural beauty and grain of the wood because they generally give clear finishes to the wooden surfaces. The oil-based formula, on the other hand, may alter the natural look of wood by making it appear a little darker but yet offers better durability and is ideal for external use. Water-based formula has less odor and is ideal for interior use. In the end, the choice on which to use depends on what you wish to achieve in your hardwood floor.
What is the lifespan of polyurethanes?
Polyurethanes generally have a long life span. In fact, in some cases, under normal use and regular wear and tear, wear and tear, polyurethanes exceed the lifespan of the products/surfaces it is being used on. They have a general long life span and keep surfaces protected for very long periods maintaining beauty and purpose.
Are polyurethanes expensive?
The answer is NO! Affordability is one of the greatest advantages of polyurethanes. It is such that the major reason they are getting really popular is that with the many advantages they have, one should expect to have some ‘deep pockets’ to afford them. But on the contrary, they are a relatively inexpensive choice. In terms of their performance and what is saved during their lifetime, polyurethanes are very competitive in price.

Conclusion

The brand of polyurethane you get to use on your hardwood floors can have a great impact on the appearance and durability of your floors. This article has been painstakingly prepared using professional advice, customer reviews, and component ingredients to provide you with the best products when you want to make a choice on which polyurethanes to use for your hardwood floors. I believe that having gone through this piece, you can make the right choice for your hardwood floors with keen precision and achieve great results.