There is currently no furniture in the first floor. So before filling up the first floor with furniture I am wondering if I should refinish the floors.

Floor History

Three of the four floors are 20+ years old. I believe they the wood is white oak. Below are some pictures for reference. There is no noticeable gouges The floor is yellowed a bit.

White Oak Hardwood

Hardwood Floor 1

Hardwood Floor 2

White Oak Hardwood floor close up

Hardwood Floor close up

The fourth floor I believe is red oak. I am not too sure if the floor has been strained to match the kitchen cabinets. There is noticeable wear and tear. The floor is almost 10 years old.

Red Oak Hardwood

Red Oak Hardwood floor

Red Oak Hardwood with some wear and tear

Red Oak Hardwood floor wear and tear 1

Red Oak Hardwood floor wear and tear 2


  • How many coats of polyurethane should be used 2 or 3 coats?
  • Is oil base or water base polyurethane the best options?

Note: There is lot of infomation on the web, mostly to intend to sell products. Thus seeking a non commercial response.


  • One specific question at a time, please. SE isn't a discussion forum.
    – isherwood
    Dec 29, 2015 at 15:36
  • Your question begs only opinion based answers. While your writeup is very organized, I agree with @isherwood, do you have a specific question or multiple separate questions that you cannot come to terms with after your research and ponderings?
    – Damon
    Dec 29, 2015 at 21:24
  • @Damon, I will split the question. Also my research had left me confuse to how I should approach refinishing. Example is 2 coat of polyurethane sufficient or do you really need 3 coats. Essentially would like the community help me clear up confusion by providing pro and cons on options. Dec 29, 2015 at 21:33
  • I would recommend getting a quote by a recommended and/or trusted wood floor contractor; at that time bounce such questions off of them for your specific situation, needs, and expectations. We would be asking questions about use and wear (Kids? Home a lot? Or usually out?), expected length of stay (years or decades) and/or timeline to sell again, resources (budget namely) available, expectations for length of time to keep the wood in the different spaces (possible floor changes in the future?), etc. We would guide you based on your answers.
    – Damon
    Dec 29, 2015 at 21:46
  • The only area I could say from the photos that needs stripping and refinishining is the ones where something heavy tore up the poly, how many coats I like 3 because that really gives a depth to the floor, another opinion is I prefer oil based over water based I have just had better looking finished projects in my opinion. Last what is the difference in red oak and red oak the color, with red oak I don't usually stain it but white I usually do add color oil based in both tint an poly.
    – Ed Beal
    Sep 27, 2018 at 23:42


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