Here at Pete’s, we sell hardwood floor finishes in four categories.

We only sell what we trust.

We only sell finishes that we have used extensively over a long period of time. There is no one “best” finish here; each of these products has strengths that make them more appropriate for certain applications.

Each of these finishes is the top of its class and we’ve chosen it because we’ve worked with it under many different conditions; we know how it behaves (and misbehaves) during application and under household wear and tear.

If you are simply looking for the cheapest finish available, you probably won’t find it here. But if you are looking for the longest-lasting finish for your buck, read on.

Oil-modified polyurethane finishes

Waterborne polyurethane finishes

Resin-Tung oil finishes

Zero-VOC (Volatile organic compounds) finishes

Pete’s Bonus Tips

Isn’t oil-based polyurethane the best finish?

Oil-modified polyurethane, whose solids are a mix of alkyd resins and plastic (polyurethane), is a tough, solvent-resistant finish.

It has a long, proven history which many people consider to be superior to the newer, water-based finishes. But because of increasingly stringent air pollution laws, the coating industry has been pouring their research and development dollars into improving waterbased finishes.

So today, medium quality waterbased finishes are about equal with high-quality oil-based finishes, at least as far as wear resistance is concerned. But the acrylic resins in cross-linked waterborne finishes (such as Bona’s Traffic HD) provide a even tougher, more abrasion-resistant floor.

The resin themselves are harder, but the cross-linkers or hardeners that are added “cause the resins to cross-link from droplet to droplet, making the finish totally reactive rather than a combination of reactive and evaporative.”*

This is simply a long-winded way to say that, if you are judging finish only by how many times you can walk across it wearing your golf cleats, the cross-linked waterborne will always come out on top. Oil-based finishes still have many strengths (such as color and ease of application) than can make them superior to waterborne finishes for some applications.

Big-carton retailers are not the best places from which to buy your floor finish. Most of the finish brands they carry (MinWax and Varathane we're looking at you) are from companies that mainly specialize in furniture finishing. If they have a floor-protection product, it is an add-on. Better to choose a product from a brand that focuses on higher standards required for products you walk on. Waterborne finishes have allowed for great advances in the longevity of flooring polyurethane, but that does not mean that ALL waterborne finishes are quality. 

*Bob Flexner, Understanding Wood Finishing. Reader’s Digest, Pleasantville, NY., p.168

Can I call for free advice, for free?

Yes and no.

We love educating people, but it's expensive. And we're uncomfortable taking questions about products you bought on Amazon.

So, calls are free and unlimited if you:
But please use our cheap and splendid Help Hotline consulting service if you:
  • bought a product we sell, but from a different supplier
  • have a complex flooring problem you don't see addressed on the website
  • have questions about products we don't carry

Buy online, or stop by our cute store in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Pete's sells supplies online across the continental U.S., and rents equipment to Minneapolis/St. Paul DIYers. Our store at 186 Fairview Avenue North in St. Paul, MN is at the corner of Fairview and Selby.

It's just the cutest sander rental shop you'll ever visit. Call us at 651-698-5888.

Store hours:

  • Monday - Friday: 8:30-5
  • Saturday: 8:30-3
  • Sunday: Closed