Every product in this world has its own look, feel and attributes that make it specific to that product line. The same goes for floor coatings. Oil, water, penetrating oil and UV floor coatings are all trying to to achieve the same thing – protection. The idea for floor coatings is to protect your floor from floor traffic, spills, harsh chemicals and a million other things. However, each of these coatings go about protecting your floor in a very different way. That is not a bad thing, it is actually awesome, we get a choice how we protect our floors and the desired look that goes along with these products.If you are getting a new hardwood floor installed or a old floor refinished – this information will be very helpful in choosing the correct products.
Some Base Knowledge
Film Thickness: This is how thick the coating is applied wet and also when it is dry. Depending on the material this will be different from category to category.
Spread Rate: This is what the manufacture accepts as acceptable for how many sq. ft. you are allowed to apply a specific product. The manufacture will set a specific sq. ft. they feel comfortable with durability and the look of the product after the cure time.
Solid Counts: This is the amount of material left over after the floor has been cured. This is what determines the thickness of a floor along with the film thickness when applied.
Taber Test: This is a method of testing coatings. The taber test counts the amount of material take off after so many “revolutions” of a specific item.
T-Bar: All our products A-MAX uses are applied with a t-bar. Our t-bar is a “lightweight” t-bar which allows the most amount of solids on the floor. This bar is what is recommended and approved by all our finish suppliers. The t-bar is what will set the film thickness.
So, lets go through each product, I will give you the way the product protects your floor and how it differs from the other products. I have collected all these facts directly from reps and chemist from Basic Coatings, Arboritec, Odies, SunFinish & Procoat.
OMU – POLY – OIL
The solids count on a good oil is around 50-60%, this means the finished product looks and is thicker. The reason these products need more solids and when applied correctly are thicker is due to the way they wear. These products wear the material faster. On a taber test these products will wear more material per 1000 resolutions. This means that these materials need to be thicker to wear within range of other products. These products tend to hide the grain pattern and appear to be smoother.
- Very thick film thickness
- Wears faster per mil of finish
- Ambers the floor giving it the appearance of being thicker
- Cover Grain up
- 350 – 400 sq. ft. a Gallon
Penetrating oils are usually buffed into a floor. You use a buffer and heat the wood and oil up. By heating up the products you are able to drive these products into the wood. These specific oils do not sit on top of the wood but actually are in the wood. The idea behind these products is you fortify the wood from within and it acts like a normal tree in its normal environment. If done properly and the right amount of product is used you will virtually have no film thickness, yet they will last as long as any other floor. This product is buffing and grains as you apply the product and produce the most smooth floor.
- Natural sheen
- No film thickness
- Ultra smooth since no grain raise
- Lets the floor breath
- 500 sq. ft. a liter
Water-based finishes use harder resins/polymers than oil and wear for much longer per same mil thickness – up to 6x-10x (according to Advantage Coatings). However, these products tend to be thinner than any oil products. The solid content of these water-based products is only 30-35%, or around 60% less than oil. Since we have a product that is 8-10x longer lasting (per mil) on the taber test and a product only 50% less in film thickness we have a product that will last 2-3x longer. So, if you had an oil floor previously water-based products will most likely be 50% less thick but that is more durable.
Water-based products go down thinner and have a harder time leveling than oil since they have a shorter period of leveling. Usually, these products in Idaho, have around 10-15 min to level vs. oil, which has around 8 hours. This means when applying you need to be much more careful and they need to be perfect at time of laying them down with the t-bar.
- Film thickness is not as thick
- More flexible and more durable
- Wears extremely well per mil
- Many sheen’s
- 400-500 sq. ft. a gallon
The newest technology on the market is probably Ultra-Violet or U.V. These products use photo initiators and are actually using water as a leveling agent like water-based. These polymers product a much stronger bond together since they are using light to form their bond. The bond is not over minuets, hours or days. These bonds are being preformed instantly. UV finishes tend to be 1.5x as strong as water-based products and 3x strong than OMU/Oil per mil. However these products do go on thinner than the other products. Overall you will see that with less film thickness you get around 1-2 more years out of a floor over water-based and 4-5 over oil.
- Super durable bonding
- Higher quality polymers with better wear
- Extremely durable
- Thinner coating than oil or water-based
Overview of the above: All products if applied correctly will wear great. They all have different looks, attributes and methods of wearing. While some products are thicker and make you think they are more durable and others are thinner and seem like they would be less durable – not every polymer in a product is made the same. Typically if a product is thicker it will wear faster per mil and a thinner product will wear slower. You can read more about the different types of finishes and pros/cons here: https://www.a-maxhardwood.com/learn-more/hardwood-finish-options/
***DISCLAIMER*** All products in their respective categories are not all created equally. Some are more high quality than others. I am ONLY talking about high quality products for each category. A-MAX does not use inferior products so we are unable to speak about lesser products.