How many coats of oil poly?


    I’m having 90 year old floors refinished, and some new oak sealed. How many coats of oil-based poly would be typical? I am quite certain the (legit) company said three all along. There was a set-back this week that put us back a day. Now they are saying oil-based only needs two.

    7 Replies

    1. Just had my floors completed this weekend after about two weeks of work. After sanding and stain (we used two coats of aniline dye) we finished with two coats of an oil based poly / tung oil blend with a final coat of pure oil based poly. Beautiful.
      Our refinisher cautioned us against more than three coats because of increased visibility of scratches as stated above. Also as the finish becomes thicker the wood takes on a plasticky look.

    2. one coat of sealer, two coats of poly. Sealer used to mean poly cut with 50% mineral spirits – it will raise the grain and penetrate nicely. Now a days, there are oil based and alcohol based sealers on the market made for floors. I would not do more than one coat of sealer and two of poly as if the finish builds too high, it will chip.

      water base is a different beast altogether and I recently applied 5 coats, screening between each. Not sure if that was too many, but it sure looked good. This was a water base with some manufacturer added yellow/amber dye in it to look like oil.


    3. We had our floors done in water base. Four coats. If I do them again, I’ll use oil based. Nice thing about water based is it sets up quickly and the stink isn’t so bad in the house. But oil holds up much better.

    4. Hi Astorian,

      Carlos here from Inti. The norm is to do 3 total coats (1 coat of lacquer sealer + 2 coats of poly). An additional coat (4th) is very often requested by clients. Although each additional coat of poly applied to the floor makes the floor more durable and easier to clean, it also makes it easier to scratch or ding. Wood, in general, does not scratch but the more hard coating, polyurethane, you put on top of the floor, the greater the bed of material that can be scratched. If you have any further questions feel free to email me at

      Carlos Salazar
      Inti Interior Finish & Wood Floors
      Office: 347-746-8439
      Cell: 646-281-2659

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