Q: We are planning to lay down a Brazilian Walnut floor in a renovation. I’m wondering if you can compare the pros and cons of a polyurethane vs oil finish?
A: I haven’t had to deal with one of these floors yet….thankfully.:) This wood is very hard and dense. Some of these exotics can be problematic because of the resins they contain. In cases like this, sometimes a water borne urethane is the answer because it doesn’t react with these resins as an solvent based finish would. I know a young contractor who had good success with tung oil with this type of wood. An excellent product which is not pure tung oil, but has it as a main ingredient is Waterlox. Excellent penetration into the wood. It does build a film that offers good durability and is a snap to care for and refresh. That is the route I would go, but first I would speak with the manufacturers of this excellent product to get their feedback. www.waterlox.com
I may add that if you find this product doesn’t work for you, then you can always apply a top coating over it later. I know of some workers in the U.S. who like to apply 2 coats of Waterlox, and then 2 coats of either solvent based or waterborne on top of that. Main thing is to ask questions and test before proceeding. They will likely get a small can to you so you can test it out.
I would appreciate it if you let me know how this proceeds.