Wood Floors

Best Water Based Polyurethane for Floors

The polyurethane coating helps to protect your floor and increase its longevity. Water-based polyurethane has become more common compared to oil-based polyurethane. Choosing between the two depends on the results you want to get from finishing. Both type and coating brand plays a very crucial role. Which is the best water polyurethane for my floors?

Water-based poly cures quickly with less smell, cost-friendly, and durable paints. They are easy to work with, DIY-friendly, and easy to apply on your floor. When applied to areas with kids and pets, you have little worry about dirty, messy, and sticky stains. Water-based poly finished floors are easy to clean, restore and rejuvenate.

7 Top Water Based Polyurethane for Floor

Here are 7 best water based polyurethane finish coating.

Product Name+ Brand Features My Rating Reviews
MinwaxWater Based Helmsman Spar Urethane, gallon, Semi-Gloss 710510000 Minwax 710510000 Helmsman Spar Urethane
  • Easy to apply with foam and synthetic bristle brush
  • It forms a protective barrier against moisture on your floor.
  • It has UV blockers that prevent fading and graying sunlight effects.
General-Finishes-High-Performance-Water-Based-Topcoat General Finishes High-Performance Water Based Topcoat
  • It takes 1 to 2 hours to dry.
  • Covers 500-600 square feet per gallon.
  • Brush, Roll, Spray application
Bona Mega Wood Floor Finish Satin 1 Gallon Bona Mega Wood Floor Finish
  • It’s an oxygen cross-linking polyurethane water-borne formula.
  • It has exceptional flow, leveling, and build.
  • It’s available in Gloss, Semi-Gloss, Satin, or Extra Matte.
RUST-OLEUM-200231-Paint-1-Gallon RUST-OLEUM 200231 Paint
  • It covers 185-370 square feet per gallon.
  • Extra fast drying time.
  • Protect the floor against scratches.
Deck-Premium-Semi-Transparent-Wood-Stain-for-Decks-Fences-Siding Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Wood Stain
  • Its dual-purpose; stain and a sealer.
  • Protect against graying and color fading.
  • Semi-transparent to show the grain and dry flat
DEFY Extreme 1 Gallon Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain, Cedar Tone DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Wood Stain
  • Easy to apply and maintain
  • Provides maximum durability
  • Low VOC 250 g/l.
General-Finishes-Enduro-VAR-Water-Based-Urethane-Topcoat-1-Gallon-Satin General Finishes Enduro-VAR Water Based Urethane Topcoat
  • Its amber satin and highly water-resistant
  • Self cross-linking, oil-modified water-based polyurethane, thus leaves oil varnish look.
  • Spray and brush application can be used.

Why water-based polyurethane floor finish? Water-based polyurethane smells less and does dissipate faster than oil-based polyurethane. They are just as effective and durable as oil borne polys. Unlike oil-based, water-based urethane has a lighter and clear shine on wood without yellowing effects. Water-based poly does comply with VOC and environmental standards and regulations. They provide clear results in little time- dry faster with less odor when applying.

https://amazon.com/dp/B000PSF9Q2 what to avoid on floor

1. Minwax 710510000 Helmsman Spar Urethane

  • Covers up to 500 sq ft per gallon.
  • Easy to apply with foam and synthetic bristle brush
  • It forms a protective barrier against moisture on your floor.
  • It has UV blockers that prevent fading and graying sunlight effects.
Best Water Based Polyurethane for Floors Minwax 710510000 Water Based Helmsman Spar Urethane, gallon, Semi-Gloss

Minwax Water Based is available in satin, gloss, and semi-gloss color shades. It contains special oils that allow the finish to expand as wood expands and contract due to temperatures and humidity changes in different seasons. Min-max water-based polyurethane has a low VOC (rating 275) and provides exceptional protection to your floor against sunlight, moisture, and temperature changes.

The mini-max floor polyurethane finish contains Ultra Violet blockers that help to reduce sunlight graying and fading effects of your wood floor. The min-max hardwood floor polyurethane finish can cover up to 500 square feet per gallon. The min-max water-based polyurethane is also suitable for application on windows, doors, kitchen countertops, and other outdoor furniture. It can be easily applied with a synthetic bristle or foam brush.

Best brand polyurethane for floors

2. General Finishes High-Performance Water Based Topcoat

Best Water Based Polyurethane for Floors General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat
  • It takes 1 to 2 hours to dry.
  • Covers 500-600 square feet per gallon.
  • Brush, Roll, Spray application
  • Low VOC (Flat: <170 g/L, Satin: <172 g/L, Semi-Gloss: <173 g/L, Gloss: <250 g/L)

General finish high performance water-based is one of the hardest durable polyurethane coat. The finish is so versatile and can be brushed or sprayed. It has limited use for indoor only, while the outdoor counterpart also exists. Select the type carefully to avoid confusing the two types.

The general finish water-based topcoat can be sprayed, applied with a brush or roller on your floor. For durability and longevity, 3 coats application is recommended. You have a choice to select between satin, gloss, and semi-gloss for the desired flooring outlook.

One not so impressive feature, do not apply on other clear coat, white or light paints since it may cause yellowing. Applying on a clear coat may cause existing finish tannin and staining, or the dye bleed through.

3. Bona Mega Wood Floor Finish

Best Water Based Polyurethane for Floors: Bona Mega Wood Floor Finish Satin 1 Gallon
  • It can cover up to 500 to 600 square feet area.
  • It takes …… hours to dry.
  • It’s an oxygen cross-linking polyurethane water-borne formula.
  • It has exceptional flow, leveling, and build.
  • It’s available in Gloss, Semi-Gloss, Satin, or Extra Matte.

Bona Mega is an oxygen-crossing linking polyurethane waterborne-formula with an extraordinary performance. The finish has exceptional flow, leveling, no additives to mix, no limited pot life, and no wasted finish.

It is has a proven performance that adds value to your house with three color choices; satin, semi-gloss, or gloss. The Bona finish is VOC Compliant with an area Coverage of approximately 600 sq ft per gallon. For high traffic commercial area, you may opt for Bona Traffic HD Commercial Satin.

4. RUST-OLEUM 200231 Paint

Best Water Based Polyurethane for Floors; RUST-OLEUM 200231 Paint, 1-Gallon
  • It covers 185-370 square feet per gallon.
  • Extra fast drying time.
  • Protect the floor against scratches.
  • It has UV absorbers, thus offers unbeatable protection.

Rust-oleum water-based floor finish leaves your hardwood floor with a natural beautiful shine. The hardwood finish provides a maximum scratch and stain resistance for your floor with low odor. It provides an easy to clean the wood floor with just water and soap.

For maximum benefit for rust-oleum, its recommended you apply at least 4 coats. The finish can also be used in the furniture doors and windows. It’s available in satin, gloss, and semi-gloss colors to choose from. The topcoat finish is meant for indoor use only. However, the Rust-oleum outdoor version also exists; https://amazon.com/dp/B0018NIG68

5. Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Wood Stain

Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Wood Stain for Decks, Fences, Siding
  • Its dual-purpose; stain and a sealer.
  • Protect against graying and color fading.
  • Semi-transparent to show the grain and dry flat.
  • Low VOC 50 g/l
  • Available in cedar, driftwood gray, natural, light, and dark walnut shades.
  • Covers 100-150 square foot per gallon

Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Wood Stain is a beautiful semitransparent finish for your hardwood floor, especially if you like seeing the aesthetic wood grains on your floor.

6. DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Wood Stain

DEFY Extreme 1 Gallon Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain, Cedar Tone
  • Easy to apply and maintain
  • Provides maximum durability
  • Low VOC 250
  • Resists graying and fading.

DEFY extreme wood stain is a water-based top coat finish is a good quality durable wood stain. It is made with the finest quality resins jointly with zinc nanotechnology to resist damage, fading, and darkening. The finish allows the wood stains to show through the semi-transparent finish, so if you like the natural wood look like floors, here your choice.

The finish allows easy maintainability of the wood floor since its environment-friendly and low VOC finish.  

7. General Finishes Enduro-VAR Water Based Urethane Topcoat

General Finishes Enduro-VAR Water Based Urethane Topcoat, 1 Gallon, Satin
  • Its amber satin and highly water-resistant
  • Self cross-linking, oil-modified water-based polyurethane, thus leaves oil varnish look.
  • Spray and brush application can be used.
  • It meant for use over water stains, raw wood, and dye stains.

The enduro-Var wood finish is a self-cross-linking, oil-modified, water-based polyurethane topcoat finish. The finish looks more like an oil varnish than a water coating. The finish is highly water-resistant, ambers slightly, and can be applied with brush or spray.

Enduro-Var water-based topcoat is meant for use over water stains, dye stains, and raw wood.

In conclusion, we recommend applying 3 layers of the water-based polyurethane, but for Oleum 4 layers to effectively protect your floor.

Considerations when buying polyurethane [ Buyers guide]

1. Project type

The flooring project determines the type of polyurethane to use for your floor. The floor area that has heavy use requires more protection than the one with less wear and tear. Be sure to consider applying a clear protective finish for longevity.

2. Exposure to sunlight

Some indoor and outdoor flooring may be prone to sunlight exposure, temperature changes, and humidity. For flooring projects that might have these conditions, you need to protect the floor finish with polyurethane that is ultraviolet absorbent and special oils that can expand and contract with temperature and humidity changes.

3. Smell

4. Curing time

5. Cost

6. Desired Look

(Crystal clear or amber tone)

7. Cleaning and Maintenance

8. Ease of application

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