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  1. #1
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    Jun 2011
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    Default Can someone explain what polyurethane is for?

    Can someone explain to me what polyurethane is for?(not sure that's what it's called or how it's spelled. sorry)

    I stained my living room floor of rough/rustic pine planks with Minwax floor stain. Now the Minwax says it "seals" right on the label. But the guy at the store said that I needed to 'seal' the floor with a polyurethane after staining. So now I am confused. Does the Minwax actual seal the wood? What is the purpose of applying a poly on it.

  2. #2
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    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: Can someone explain what polyurethane is for?

    First and foremost, Minwax makes great stains, but their poly and other top coats are absolute garbage!!!!

    Polyurethane is a clear finish that has replaced lacquer and shellac because of it's more environmentally friendly. There are different types/grades of poly, make sure you're using one rated for floor use before applying or you're going to have a huge mess on your hands when the coating fails.

    Not sure what your stain is capable of without knowing more about it. Some stain products are a stain and top coat finish all in one. These are a poor choice for most projects, particularly a floor because the stain is held within the top coat finish like a paint, rather than a penetrating stain. What is the exact brand and product description of the stain you used?
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Can someone explain what polyurethane is for?

    The can says "Minwax Floor Stain" and "Stains, Penetrates, and Seals"

    I still don't know if I should leave the floor with just the stain and skip the polyurethane, or do floors absolutely have to have poly on it.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Can someone explain what polyurethane is for?

    definitely put 3 or 4 coats of polyeurathane on the floor, the stain does seal it in a way but its there to give the wood color. the poly is what seals the wood from moisture and gives it extra durability as the finish coat will scratch before the wood itself does. if you get a scratch you can buff the finish
    fire up the saw and make some dust

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Can someone explain what polyurethane is for?

    If you are finishing a pine bookshelf or a cherry desk, then no further sealer is needed before the varnish step. Floors are a different animal. If your topcoat demands a particular sealer, use it; it's all about the bond between the wood and the finish. Sometimes a very hard-wearing topcoat makes a bad first coat onto the wood, and really needs its primer/sealer to grip.
    On an oak floor, you need the sealer coat to get a good start on filling in the very open grain. Varnish alone is very slow to fill oak's porous surface.
    Casey
    Remove not the ancient landmark, which your fathers have set.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Can someone explain what polyurethane is for?

    Quote Originally Posted by FrenchGirl View Post
    The can says "Minwax Floor Stain" and "Stains, Penetrates, and Seals"

    I still don't know if I should leave the floor with just the stain and skip the polyurethane, or do floors absolutely have to have poly on it.
    As I said in my first post, Minwax top coat products are utter garbage, so I can assure you that you will need a proper polyurethane top coat. You will want to use a coating that is specifically rated for flooring or you will be wasting both your time and your money. I have never refinished a floor, so I cannot recommend a specific brand of poly to use.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  7. #7
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    Jun 2007
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    Default Re: Can someone explain what polyurethane is for?

    Make sure you use a polyurethane meant for floors.

    Polyurethane replaced shellac because it is far more durable. I don't see how it would be environmentally friendlier given the VOCs and hydrocarbons. Shellac is excreted from bugs and is dissolved into alcohol.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: Can someone explain what polyurethane is for?

    Quote Originally Posted by drooplug View Post
    I don't see how it would be environmentally friendlier given the VOCs and hydrocarbons. Shellac is excreted from bugs and is dissolved into alcohol.
    You've obviously never been at the business end of the bug during it's "excretion" ...
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

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