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Trying to choose pine floor finish--penetrating oils worth it?

2 months ago

Hello all,

I posted a while back and got great advice then. Since then, we have sourced quotes from multiple local refinishers and just have never come to a great conclusion about what product to use. All the locals like their oil-based polyurethane with the backup choice being water-based. However, I have been uncomfortable with any of the VOC levels of these (even water-based). I've also grown increasingly sensitive to chemicals, have asthma, and now we are expecting our first child. I would REALLY like to choose a product with zero or negligible VOC and other offgassing chemicals.

I have gone in circles with the penetrating oils and just am not sure what would be best, especially on our old pine. I have done a lot of research but just don't feel like I am able to make a decision, especially because it is so rare to see examples of these products on old pine (think ours is mostly the old Eastern white pine, with heart pine in one room). We prefer the aged (or will age over time), darker brown look (not the "bare" look or the light yellows), low- to medium-shine. I also have a serious nut allergy which makes me hesitant on the tung oil-containing options like Odie's (there is conflicting info on whether tung is a nut...but I'd rather not test it if I don't have to).

What would you recommend in my situation? Would the penetrating oils create enough hardness or durability to be worth using? How often will they require touch-ups? And I realize, of course, that pine will always ding and age and be soft--that is okay with us! I'm just hoping to avoid the splinters and issues we currently deal with as the old poly has worn off and keep the original character of the house.

There was also some consensus on my previous post about the stains used on the floors at the time that the previous owners refinished. However, I'm also hesitant to stain this time in case the pine doesn't take the stain well. Local refinishers did not think it had a stain--just aged old floor and aged poly....Will any of the penetrating oils age to a similar color over time?

Photos of the floors in their current state.

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