hardwood floors - water or oil based finish?

what do you guys recommend? according to my father, he says that oil based is the way to go. “it soakes into the wood and helps preserve it”. i’ve come across a floor guy i’d like to use and on his website he mentions a finish (brand:Traffic) which is, according to him, “the best”. it happens to be water based however. i’d like to hear some feedback from thos who are knowledgeable in this area.


The oil base will act as a sealant against liquids.If you use a water base you may need to use polyurathane as well which will make it shiny. You could always use deck stain or sealant insted, it wont give you a shiny finish and will protect the wood.


My .02 on this topic is to use water based

I have refinished the floors in 2 of my house in the past year & used water based in both. I personally have a friend who does floors for a living and she perfers oil based (just because of the ease of application, oil seems to level/even itself better). What makes me lean toward water based is because of the “clearness”, oil based always has a clear/yellowish tent to it, and I wanted the wood to look as natural as possible.

I installed white oak wood floors in a 2000 sf condo. Used water based, with a ‘satin’ polyurethane finish. They turned out beautifully !! Would do it again in a heartbeat.

The satin polyurethane prevents that ‘shiny’ finish.



It all depends on what you are after. Oil is better for the wood as it soaks in, but it doesn’t hold up to foot traffic as well as some water based products. Because you seal the water with a poly.

If it is a low use room, the oil will give you many years of good service.

I hope that helps.