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Unfinished hardwood floors require two coats of finish. After applying one coat of sealant, it's important to select a wood finish that best suits specific types wood flooring, such as oak or walnut. Wood sealant is especially necessary for polyurethane floors to prevent board grouping and separation. Users of wood stain products should follow the flooring manufacturer's recommendations.
There are several choices of types of wood finish, including oil-based polyurethane, water-based polyurethane, acid-cured, moisture-cured urethane and penetrating oil sealer. Wax wood finishes are available for those who want an easy-to-apply product that creates a low-luster sheen, but professionals consider wax to be old-fashioned and not as durable as polyurethane. Oil-based polyurethane finishes are affordable, highly durable and easy to apply, but they tend to yellow with age. Water-based polyurethane finishes are easy to use, dry quickly and don't yellow, but they have less durability than oil-based finishes. Acid-cured and moisture-cured finishes are highly durable but require professional application.