How Many Coats of Water-Based Polyurethane on Hardwood Floors?

Whether you want to protect newly installed wooden floors or restore and refinish old hardwood floors, getting the correct finish is the first step for a perfect coating.

There are many choices in the market, but depending on your tastes, the wood used, and other factors, you get to decide on the perfect finish for your hardwood floor.

While all types of finishes can make your wooden floor look great and protect it, getting the water-based polyurethane finish can bring you some advantages that the others can't.

One of the benefits being that it dries very quickly, and this is one property that determines the number of coats you can apply on hardwood floors.

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One question that pops up frequently when using water-based finishes is "how many coats of water based polyurethane on hardwood floors?" to make the floors perfect.

There is a straightforward answer to this question, and it is a minimum of 3 coats in areas that experience a lot of traffic, like the kitchen, living room and the entryway.

Applying a minimum of three coats ensures your water-based finish lasts longer if it is of good quality and the adhesion to the floor is maximized.

Why is it recommended to use 3coats?

You should use three courts because water based polyurethane finishers can be very thin; thus, applying one layer or two cannot give your hardwood floor the protection it needs from the various elements. 

Also, the water-based polyurethane finishes may make the floor surface irregular and bumpy when you apply less than three coats.

This is because they raise the wood's grain.

On the other hand, when you use three coats, your floor gets an extra layer that acts as a buffing, thus hiding the other coats' irregularities. The result is a smooth floor surface without any visible anomalies.

Is 2 coats of polyurethane enough?

This is another common question when it comes to using water-based finishes. 

Well, the answer is it can be enough, but it does not give your hardwood floor that smooth and shiny surface you might desire.

But if you are on a budget or can't afford to have three coats, it is better to apply two coats than to leave the floor without any protection.

Also, using two layers can work for your hardwood floors, especially in rooms or spaces that don't have too much traffic, like the bedrooms.

But applying two coats does not guarantee durability. You will be required to do it again after some time.

Is 4 coats of polyurethane too much?

Yes. And it is not needed as it does not add many benefits to your hardwood floor. 

In fact, it only increases the time required to dry and adds to the total cost.

Sometimes if not done perfectly or done using cheap and low-quality finishes, it becomes thick and can easily peel after being in use for a short period.

Otherwise, if the layers are done perfectly, your hardwood floor becomes better protected for a longer period.