Q: I am getting a lot of different opinions on which is a better method to refinish my wood floor – water or oil based finish?
A: I am still old school to a certain extent. I prefer oil based to water based. Good water based finishes are very expensive and not easy to work with. Also, they do not maintain their sheen as well as an oil would, and after several years tend to look lifeless and beaten. Plus, they are not nearly as safe as the name may lead one to believe.
An oil based, applied in thin coats, buffed between applications is easier to work with, and I have never seen it peel off the floor from tape as a water based would. Try to use a product that is more resistant to severe yellowing. Circa 1850 Bowling Alley polyurethane is just such a product, and is sold in some building centers or can be purchased from their web site. www.circa1850.com. this is quite a good, tough finish, though it doesn’t dry nearly as fast as they claim. At least not for flooring work. It also contains a resin made from Safflower oil that resists yellowing.