I’ve been in the hardwood flooring business for many years and have refinished 3,500+ hardwood floors and stairs and have completed more than 6,500 hardwood installations. Each day I answer many hardwood staining questions from savvy customers doing research.  One question I’m often asked is “should we use oil-based or water-based polyurethane finish for our hardwoods.”  To help make this decision easier I’ve created a side by side comparison of oil-based stain and water-based polyurethane finish.

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There are pros and cons to both oil-based and water-based poly finishes and at the end of the day every situation is different.   For example, If you’re looking for a cost effective, quality solution oil-based may be the best fit – if you require a finish that dries quickly water-based is most likely the better choice.  I recommend making a list of the qualities and characteristics that are most important to you then use the comparison above as a guide to help you make the right decision.