Bona Traffic HD Vs. Oil Based Poly: Which One To Choose?

When choosing a perfect refinish product for hardwood floors, we often feel confused. Should you choose oil-based poly or a waterborne finish like Bona Traffic HD?

Picking a particular option first requires you to learn everything about each finish.

A good quality hardwood floor finish will protect the surface from stains, dirt, humidity, and humidity. It also helps the hard floor retain its original color and a soft glow.

Let’s check out the primary differences between Bona Traffic HD vs. oil based poly.

A Quick Comparison Table

Want a quick idea about both finishes? Check out this small table to quickly learn about them.

SpecificationBona Traffic HDOil Based Poly
AppearanceGood appearanceBetter appearance
Drying TimeFaster dryingA little slow drying
VOCsLower VOCsHigher VOCs
Installation abilityRequires skillsMore forgiving
Color EffectsBecomes dull over timeAmbers over time
Cleaning requirementsEasierA little bit of hassle
SoftnessLess softSofter than Bona
CostSlightly priceyMore affordable
Labor CostsLowerHigher
DurabilityDecent durabilityMore durable

In-depth Differences Between Bona Traffic HD And Oil Based Poly

  • Appearance
Bona Traffic HD
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Though Bona Traffic HD has a decent appearance, oil-based poly looks better due to its in-depth color and shine.

You may notice a dramatic difference when comparing both finishes together.

The richer look of oil-based poly makes it more attractive. You will feel this is the look you have been thriving for a long time.

However, your application method may give your hardwood floors a better or dull appearance.

  • Drying Time

Since Bona Traffic HD is water-based poly, it takes less time to dry than any oil-based poly. Generally, Bona Traffic HD can dry within one day and cure entirely within 3 days after applying several coats.

On the other hand, oil-based poly will take 2-3 days to dry properly. Their full curing time can be 3 to 4 weeks or more, depending upon the product’s formula.

  • VOCs

Since oil-based polyurethane has a thicker formula, they contain an increased amount of VOCs. But Bona Traffic HD has lower VOCs, so it is more eco-friendly as they release fewer Volatile Organic Compounds.

Apart from that, Bona Traffic HD doesn’t have as strong an odor as oil-based polyurethane. So, if you have allergy or asthma issues, wearing a mask before using an oil-based poly is good.

  • Installation Ability

Installing a water-based poly finish like Bona Traffic HD requires highly skilled installers to ensure a successful project and quick dry time.

On the contrary, you don’t need to be as precise as water-based poly finishes to install oil-based poly. After all, they are more forgiving.

  • Color effects
ZAR Oil Based Polyurethane Wood Finish
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You should not expect to have a similar color to Bona Traffic HD for a long time. The color will become dull over time.

However, proper take care can slow down the color effect,

In contrast, oil-based poly finish amberizes and darkens the original color, adding a richer look to the hardwood floors.

However, they also leave a yellowish appearance gradually due to the surrounding environments.

  • Cleaning Requirements

Bona Traffic HD generally has a smooth appearance that is easy to clean. But oil-based poly finishes are prone to attract dents.

Therefore, regularly cleaning oil-based poly finishes are necessary to prevent ruining the color. Otherwise, its durability will be compromised. You will have to add another finish.

  • Softness

Though Bona Traffic HD is a scuff, scratch, and chemical resistant product, it adds a rough texture to the floor surface. You won’t feel as soft as you do for an oil-based poly.

However, due to the softness of oil-based poly finishes, they dent and scratch very easily. Quickly refinishing them than other woods will be necessary. Otherwise, you may get a flimsy result.

  • Cost

Compared to oil-based poly finishes, Bona Traffic HD has a higher price tag. Its high-quality formula makes it slightly more expensive than Bona Traffic HD.

  • Labor Costs

Since oil-based poly takes more time to dry, you have to wait more time to dry and complete the projects. This will increase the labor cost.

In contrast, you can complete the installation of Bona Traffic HD within 3 days, so you don’t need to spend as much as you do for oil-based poly finishes.

  • Durability

Both Bona Traffic HD and oil-based poly have decent durability.

Though Bona Traffic HD is a water-based poly finish, its superior technological advancements make it as durable as 40 years without degrading its original appearance.

In contrast, oil-based poly has extreme durability.

They can last longer than any typical water-based poly finishes. The thick and effective formula of this finish makes it super long-lasting.

What Will Be The Suitable Choice For Your Home?

Bona Traffic HD is an excellent pick if you want a particular wood finish with minimal curing time and lower VOCs. It is more convenient when you are in a hurry to complete the project.

On the contrary, when looking for an affordable and richer-looking hardwood floor finish, an oil-based poly is a great choice. It is highly durable and more forgiving.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the downside of oil-based polyurethane?

Oil-based polyurethane is prone to attract more dents because of its software finish and takes a longer time to dry, increasing the labor cost.

Which is better water-based or oil-based polyurethane?

Water-based polyurethane is more eco-friendly and takes less time to dry, while oil-based polyurethane is a highly durable and more affordable option.

How many years does Bona Traffic HD last?

Bona Traffic HD lasts as much as 40 years if you install it properly and follow the manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines.

Is Bona Traffic HD polyurethane?

Yes, Bona Traffic HD is a waterborne polyurethane finish, which has an effective formula not to get affected by scuff, scratch, and chemicals.


So, which option appears to be the best option between Bona Traffic HD vs. oil-based poly?

No doubt, both hardwood finishes have an excellent quality to use wide ranges of the floor surface. They can show reliable performance for a long time.

Before picking a particular option, you must consider your household requirements and personal preference. Hopefully, this post has given you some valuable information to choose the best hardwood finish.

Ralph Wade

Hey...Ralph is here! So, did you find this article useful? If so, please leave a comment and let me know. If not, please tell me how I can improve this article. Your feedback is always appreciated. Take love :)

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