Water Based Wood Floor Finish

The water based wood floor finish, another popular floor refinishing product in Chicago, is perceived as stronger than polyurethane, softer than the Swedish finish and cleaner than both.

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Let's analyze this hardwood floor finish, from the same criteria we did the others and see where it stands…


One of the strongest points of the water based wood floor finish it's found in its look.

The water based floor finish has a clear look that enhances the natural look of the hardwood floor, bringing out the entire beauty of the wood.

If you are looking to refinish your floor and want to keep the natural look of the hardwood, without staining it, water based floor finishes along with the Swedish floor finish are your best bets.

Staining the Wood Floor

The water based floor finish and most stains don’t go together very well.

While waterbased finishes can be applied on top of oil based stains, it requires a completely different approach that polyurethane floor finishes, in order for it to work properly and not peel off. Allowing the stain to dry for at least 24 hrs, prior to applying the floor finish is one of them.

However, if you are a DIY-er, I would strongly suggest that you don't apply waterbased floor finish on top of a stain, since your chances of success will be drastically reduced.

So, if staining the floor prior to finishing is something that you have in mind, I suggest you go for either polyurethane floor finish or monocoat.

floor-staining-chicago Man Staining a Hardwood Floor

Polyurethane is probably the most used type of floor finish when it comes to wood flooring stains, while monocoat has its own line of flooring stains therefore you won’t have any incompatibility issues there.

The Swedish floor finish would be another option for floor stains, but this finish is a little tricky when applied on top of a hardwood flooring stain.

Odor and Toxicity

Just like I said in the beginning, the water based wood floor finish is a much cleaner finish than both polyurethane and Swedish finish, making it a top choice for many Chicago homeowners.  

But, if you are looking for a really green product that is completely free of VOC and other harmful chemicals, monocoat is the option to go for.

Odor, while there, is really not an issue with most of the homeowners choosing water based wood finish.


Synteko, one of the most used floor finishing products it is believed to be so toxic that in some states, like Massachusets, its application is illegal.

Time Away From Home

There are people that prefer to leave the house during a floor refinishing project, while others would stay in and deal with the inconveniences. In some cases staying is not even an option…

Regardless of how you prefer to do this, the duration of the project is an important aspect to have in mind.

You want to deal with this problem for as short of a period as possible.
Fortunately, in the case of water based finishes timeliness is not an issue.

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Being a dry fast finish, the water based wood floor finish will dry within 60 minutes after the application, allowing for the floor to be rebuffed, vacuum and recoated.

If getting it over with is your priority the water based finish is definitely a good option.

One piece of advice though: do not ever apply three coats of finish in the same day. Doing so it will, very likely, have consequences later on…


floor-finish-price Is Waterbase a Pricey Option?

Pricewise, the water based wood floor finish is a bid of a paradox.

Even though it is so highly regarded, there are many water based finishes available for a fairly low price.

The reason for that…?

Well, the reason for that is pretty simple. As soon as a product establishes itself on the market, the imitators will pop in hoards.

And of course, since their product is not nearly as good as the original, the only way they can differentiate themselves is through lower prices.

Unfortunately, the water based floor finish makes no exception to this rule.

My piece of advice here: if you decide to go for water based wood floor finish, spend the extra money and but a good material. Or, if you are on a limited budget, stick with polyurethane. It is, most likely, better than the “affordable” water based product. 


If you are going to refinish the hardwood floor yourself, stay away from the water based finish. I cannot stress this enough. Water based finishes are for professional application.

As a matter of fact I know many Chicago flooring contractors that will go out of their way trying to sell you on any other product besides water based floor finish, simply because they are not comfortable applying it themselves.

So, if you are going to sand the hardwood floors yourself, use polyurethane instead. It is more suitable for DIY-ers that water based finishes.

On the other hand, if water based is what you need, hire an experienced Chicago hardwood flooring contractor.

Resistance to Wear and Tear

chicago-hardwood-floor Beautiful Chicago Hardwood Floor

The water based wood floor finish it’s strong and durable.

So, if you are looking for a finish that will offer you strength comparable to the strength of the Swedish finish and is less toxic than this finish, water based is a good choice.

Just remember, don’t go for the products found in the big home improvement chains.
You will be disappointed!

Touch Ups

Touch ups are one of the biggest issue when it comes to the water based wood floor finish and you should be aware of this aspect.

If your floor will be damaged after the completion of the project, touching up a water based floor finish is not much of an option.

If you feel that you won’t be able to protect your floor too much, if wood floor maintenance is not on your priorities list, a product like monocot is probably a better option since it is the easiest floor finish to touch up.

Go to water based wood floor finish top of the page or click here for more floor finishes insight


You Should Also Know...


What Separates Us From the Crowd...

Our Process

The completion of a flooring project is always associated with stress, big mess, lots of money and time invested by you, the homeowner. We understand this and developed a process designed to protect you from these "inconveniences". Please click here for details.

Our Warranty

Buying a product backed by a strong warranty is very important for every single one of us. Many companies learned this litle secret and are using their warranty as an advertising tool, making promises they know they can't and will never keep. We believe that putting our money where our mouth is, would be the best way to prove that our warranty is not just a piece of paper. For more details, click here and read about our warranty and why we believe it will give you piece of mind.

Contact Us

As much as we try to give you an insight on all the in and outs of the flooring businees, as much as we try to help you make the right choice there are always going to be these details that belong to your house and your house only. These are the details we cannot anticipate, the things we cannot write about. For more helpful flooring advice as well as a free estimate on your upcoming project, please contact us.

Understand Wood Flooring

Understanding how and what to choose, for your floor will determine the lenght and quality of your wood floor for many years to come. We understand all this and put together a series of articles that will help you make an informed decision. Please click here to browse through them. Learning the insights of this business will give you the edge in your relationship with different vendors or flooring contractors.

About Us...

How much does flooring cost

At Chicago Flooring Innovations we understand that investing in a flooring project represents a big commitment for our customers. We are very much aware of the challenges you might be facing when starting a project like this. Chicago Flooring Innovations is ready to solve these problems, as well as answer every question you might have.

We understand that price, cleanliness, timeliness and quality are equally important to you. Your complete satisfaction is our goal.

We offer a three year guarantee on all labor and allow the customer to keep 10% of the labor cost for another three months after the completion of the project. Consider this "money in the bank" for any issues that may come up after the project is finished.


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There's more to floors than you think. Great wood floors are the result of quality materials, thoughtful design, and precise and careful installation. Be sure to choose a vendor who understands the details of wood flooring.

Wow! The walnut border installed by Flooring Innovations is gorgeous. I can’t wait to have a party and show it to all my friends. Marius, you definitely enhanced the look of our home, as promised.
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