Why You Should Opt For An Oil-Based Finish
Oil-based polyurethane acts more like a stain than water-based polyurethane. This means that if you decide to use an oil-based hardwood floor finish, the color of your wood is going to be warmer and richer. This is because the oil further penetrates the wood, and brings out the natural rich tones. You may want to choose an oil-based polyurethane if you are working with a darker, warmer wood and want to bring out the natural orange, red, and yellow tones.
The density of the hardwood finish essentially refers to how thick of a layer the polyurethane goes on in. For an oil-based hardwood finish, this layer tends to be on the thicker side, which allows for greater protection. The thicker nature of the application generally calls for fewer coats of polyurethane which speeds up the finishing process as well. The dense nature of oil-based polyurethane also means that it is less prone to scratches, but is able to be dented more easily.
Because of the density mentioned previously, oil-based polyurethane takes longer to completely dry. This may sound like a bad thing but it is not. The longer drying time allows you to completely finish applying the polyurethane before the section you first applied is completely dry. As a result, the whole floor has a more even, uniform finish.
Long-Term Protection Factor
When it comes to long-term protection, both water and oil-based polyurethane hardwood finish hold up well. The advantage of oil-based is that the dense nature of the product does not allow it to be easily scratched. This durability will, in turn, allow you to enjoy your floors for years to come without refinishing again.