Best Water-Based Polyurethane For Floors

Polyurethane for floors can be either water-based or oil-based. Oil-based polyurethane has an amber hue that darkens with time. Water-based polyurethane on the other hand is clear and remains clear. It dries much faster and produces no smell compared to oil-based polyurethane.

When upgrading wooden flooring for a glossy, smooth, and durable floor all in one, the way to go is to apply Polyurethane for laminate floors. Polyurethane acts as a coat for the floor, protecting it from scratch and water damage.

Why Choose Water-Based Polyurethane-Pros and cons

Apart from not changing the look of your floor, water-based polyurethane is eco-friendly, healthy, and safe for any homeowner. It is easy to apply and unlike the oil-based type, it produces no odor.

It dries faster, increasing the durability of your floor. Top shelf brands like Bona traffic have been tested and proven to be more durable than most oil products.

It produces no odor  Compared to oil-based finishes, it is expensive to purchase.
The water-based finish does not alter the look of your floor. It maintains its natural look.It needs more coats for protective finishes. It has a Lower percentage of protective solids compared to oil-based finishes.
They take a shorter time to dry up. You can do 4 coats in one day. Each coat takes about 2 hrs. to dry 
Shines bright and is not slippery 
They are easy to apply 
Floors with water-based polyurethane are easy to wipe and clean. 
Water-based polyurethane is highly scuff and abrasion-resistant. 

Now with at least a background knowledge of water-based polyurethanes, it’s time to get to know the products available in the market. The top-shelf products that will give you the best results.

The Best 8 Water-Based Polyurethane for Floors

  1. Bona Mega Wood Floor Finish
  2. Bona Finish Mega clear HD
  3. Rust-oleum ultra-thick
  4. Min wax water-based oil-modified polyurethane
  5. Deft water-based polyurethane
  6. ZAR Aqua water-based Polyurethane
  7. Street shoe polyurethane
  8. Loba 2K supra

Bona Mega Wood Floor Finish

Bona Mega Wood floor finish
Bona Mega Wood floor finish

The quality of this product has been tested by experts and proven to be the best water-based polyurethane on the market. It will turn an 80-year-old floor into a brand-new one just about 3 coats in.

It is a perfect brand for anyone who is on a low budget. It is available in satin, gloss, and semi-gloss. Bona Mega wood floor finish has a high-performance water-based oxygen crosslinking formula of one-part polyurethane and thus makes it easy to use because it does not require mixing.

This formula makes it easy to use, non-toxic, and safe to use. It is odorless and dries faster after about 2 hours of application.

Pros of Bona Mega Wood FinishCons of Bona Mega Wood Finish.
No mixing is requiredNeeds multiple layers/ coats for best results.
Dries quickly 
Easy to apply 
Not slippery 
Pocket friendly 
Environmentally friendly. It has low VOCs (Volatile organic compounds) 
Does not add color to the floor. It maintains the original natural look. 

Bona Finish Mega Clear HD

Bona Finish Mega clear HD
Bona Finish Mega clear HD

Bona Finish Mega is a top-shelf product from Bona that comes in Satin. It is known for its ability to give exceptional clarity, enhancing the look of your floor.

It is odorless and non-flammable.

This product is made of highly resistant products that form a highly scratch-resistant layer on your floor. One gallon of Bona Mega is enough to cover an area of up to 600 square feet.

The major difference between Bona Finish Mega and Bona Mega Wood is that It is best for its top-notch clarity while the latter is known for its top-shelf quality and durability.

Pros of Bona Finish Clear HDCons of Bona Finish Clear HD
Non-flammableHas a short shelf life. About 1 year.
Top-notch clarity when dry 
Highly scratch-resistant 
Dries fast 

Rust-Oleum Ultra-Thick

Rust-oleum ultra-thick
Rust-oleum ultra-thick

This product is entirely made for interior uses only. Unlike some water-based polyurethanes, it does not fade easily.

Rust-oleum is scratch resistant and infused with a stain protection mechanism.

 It comes in 5 forms

  1. Satin
  2. Gloss
  3. Semi-Gloss
  4. Satin Finish
  5. Transparent

One of the best features of this product is that it does not need coats over and over to attain a perfect finish. Two coats are enough to restore your floor and make it even more durable. It is eco-friendly and comes at a low price.

It is tough, thick, and strong making it ideal for areas with high foot traffic. Rust oleum makes it easy to clean the floor. Normal cleaning with soap and water will do the magic.

Pros of Rust-Oleum ultra-thickCons of Rust-Oleum ultra-thick
A very good self-leveling featureIts thick structure is visible on the floor
Ultra-thick. Makes it highly durable and scratch-resistantDue to its thickness, it takes longer to dry
Easy to clean 
Relatively pocket friendly 

Min Wax Water-Based Oil Modified Polyurethane

Min wax water-based oil modified polyurethane
Min wax water-based oil-modified polyurethane

This product comes in Satin, gloss, and clear forms. It is designed for interior use and is ideal for finished and unfinished wood. It gives the floor a protective cover and at the same time gives it a more beautiful look.

It is ultra-drying, has no odor, and is crystal clear when dry.

The most outstanding thing about Min wax is that it is infused with substances that protect your floor against chemical damage and ultraviolet rays. It is oil-modified to produce a touch of elegance and class to your floor.

Pros of Min Wax water-based oil-modified polyurethaneCons of Min Wax water-based oil-modified polyurethane
Protects floor from chemical damage and ultraviolet raysCauses eye-watering to some people during the application
Has an elegant and classy finishWhen newly applied may affect people with breathing difficulties if the room is not well ventilated
Easy to clean 
Ultra-drying feature 

Deft Water-Based Polyurethane

Deft water-based polyurethane
Deft water-based polyurethane

This product is unique in that it can be used for exterior and interior surfaces. It works best on stained or bare wood surfaces like furniture cabinets, doors, and windows, and not only on floors. It gives the floor a clear finish and gives the floor extra durability.

It has been tested and proved to provide the surface with more durability than oil-based polyurethanes.

Deft water-based is made with self-sealing characteristics and therefore requires no primers and sealers in between coats. It dries quickly and produces no odor.

On external surfaces, it provides excellent weather resistance and protects against chemical and ultraviolet rays.

When dry, it is easy to clean.

Pros of Deft water-based polyurethaneCons of Deft water-based polyurethane
Good for exterior and interior useHarmful if mistakenly swallowed especially for babies
Dries with a clear finishContains harmful vapor emissions
Ideal for bare surfaces 
Provides a hard and durable finish 

ZAR Aqua Water-Based Polyurethane

ZAR Aqua water-based Polyurethane
ZAR Aqua water-based Polyurethane

This product is non-yellowing, environmentally safe, and dries with a clear finish providing the floor with a non-abrasive, scratch-resistant, scuff, and durable cover. You can confidently use it and rest assured of both beauty and durability.

ZAR Aqua unlike other water-based polyurethanes should be applied while wearing a gas mask because it emits fumes that could be harmful to some people. For best results apply around 3 coats. It dries fast and a coat can be applied one hour after the previous one.

It is only meant for use on interior surfaces only and does a great job on exotic wood species such as Teak and Brazilian walnut.

It is packed in Quarts. One quart of ZAR Aqua covers up to 125 square feet.

Pros of ZAR Aqua Water-based PolyurethaneCons of ZAR water-based Polyurethane
Ideal for exotic wood speciesIt Emits vapor which might be harmful to some people
Beauty and durability assured 
Fast drying with low odor 
Perfect for light-colored stains 

Street Shoe Polyurethane

This product has been the best in the market for a very long time, it has also won many awards for its remarkable feature. It comes in 4 different forms:

  1. Sheen
  2. Semi-gloss
  3. Satin
  4. Gloss

It is the fastest-curing water-based polyurethane and by far the product with the toughest anti-chemical protection, anti-scratch, and anti-ultraviolet finish. Street shoe polyurethane has low volatile organic compounds with low odor which makes it one of the most environmentally friendly products.

Pros of street shoe polyurethaneCons of street shoe polyurethane
Fastest-drying water-based polyurethaneIt is costly
Toughest anti-chemical, anti-scratch finish 
Environmentally friendly 

Loba 2K Supra

Loba 2K supra
Loba 2K supra

After Bona clear HD, 2K supra is next in line in terms of clarity. It has exceptional scratch resistance and elasticity. This elasticity feature is ideal for people who live in areas with extreme weather conditions.

Expansion and construction of your floor will not be an issue. You will not experience cracks on your finish

It is a two-part product, and the infused hardener makes it ideal for areas with high foot traffic like restaurants. It is available in:

  1. Semi-gloss
  2. Satin
  3. Matte
Pros of Loba 2K SupraCons of Loba 2K Supra
Provides a clear finish.It is costly
Low odor 
Provides excellent durability for the floor 
Can work as a sealer over cork floors 
Its elastic nature makes it ideal for use in areas with extreme changes in weather. 

Factors to Consider When Choosing Water-Based Polyurethanes

With the above list of the best products in the market, choosing one from the eight might be a bit tricky, but there are factors that can help you settle on that will be fit all-round. These factors are:

  1. Cost
  2. Durability
  3. Location and Environment
  4. Ease of cleaning


The choice of any product is determined by the price. Not all the time that the most expensive products work wonders. Bona Mega wood floor finish for example is pocket-friendly and works even better than some expensive products.

Cost, however, should never compromise quality


Everybody wants their floor to last longer and at the same time provide a beautiful finish in their homes. Most water-based polyurethanes last long, but others like the 2KSupra last longer.

 The type of finish you choose should be able to withstand harsh weather conditions and day-to-day accidents.

Location and Environment

The purpose of the room or the nature of the environment will determine the finish you choose. The finish could either be needed for external or internal surfaces. Not all polyurethanes can be used in external areas.

Also, some finishes are tough enough to handle high foot traffic areas and others are not in a position to handle that. Depending on that you can be able to choose a product that best suits your areas of application

Ease of Cleaning

Especially in areas with kids and pets or areas with high foot traffic, you will want to do a finish that can be easily wiped without leaving scuff marks.

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