Durable Finishes For Hardwood Flooring


What is the most durable finish to use on hardwood, my contractor wants to use waterborne, is it as durable? I have no pets but I do have two children and the wood will be installed in the kitchen, which is used quite a lot.



Dear Kerry

Amongst the most durable commercial floor finishes on the market, are some catalyzed water borne finishes. There are three I could recommend at this time. The Dura Seal 2000, Bona Kemi’s Traffic, and Basic Coating’s Street Shoe. They are are about the same type of finish, with similar durability. It’s what they use on gym floors. You will need 5 coats on your floor, but the first two coats should be a weaker acrylic sealer to prevent side bonding on new floors. This will be and expensive job, it’s a pricey finish.

But several warnings come with it. The azridine hardener that makes these finishes so durable, is a skin irritant, highly poisonous, and carcinogenic. Your floor guys will be risking their very lives using this stuff. This is why it is only sold to professionals. At least the Dura Seal product has a dispenser system built into the bottle, so you don’t have to touch this stuff. Don’t let them pour the waste down the drain. You will need the floor recoated every 2-4 years in any case to keep all the seams sealed up. These finishes have a pale color to the film, because the emulsifier stays in the dried film. It will get paler every year, until you recoat. Yes, this is the most durable finish on the market, but it’s not without fault.

If you want to use a water based finish try the next generation of oxygen cross linking finishes, and the Dura Seal 1000 is one of these. Read the article in the Floored News about this stuff, it’s far less toxic than the above finishes. Not as durable, but OK. The emulsifier in the film may still be an issue here also, but only time will tell.

Moisture cured urethane and Swedish finishes are out because toxins they release months after the job is done.

If it were my own kitchen ( and I would never put a wood floor in a kitchen, way to fussy a floor), I would still use 4 coats of Fablulon Brand heavy duty satin finish. It ages really well (nicely amber), stays clear and is proven to repel water over decades of use. I would still be recoating this floor every 2-4 years, but this finish is inexpensive, and anybody can to the job themselves.

It sure makes for an expensive floor when you have to hire pros every 2 years to recoat your kitchen floor.

As always your Most humble servant, Joseph, the Wood Floor Doctor.