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Best Polyurethane for Stairs and Floors

Owning a stair inside or outside of the home looks great. But not anymore if it’s cracked or faded away because of low quality or no finish at all. 

To uproot the issue, we have come up with a list of 5 of the best polyurethane for stairs and floors. In case you are in the middle of a deep sea of brands and models, this is the article that you should get along with right now. 

Let’s get going!

Best Polyurethane for Stairs and Floors: Comparison Table

Product Size Formulation
General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat 1 Quart Water Based
Minwax 63010444 Fast Drying Polyurethane Clear Finish 32 fl Oz Regular
Minwax 40910000 Wipe-On Poly Finish Clear 1.1 pounds Regular
Rust-Oleum 200041H Water-Based Polyurethane 1 Quart Water Based
Bona Mega Wood Floor Finish Satin 1 Gallon 1 Gallon Oxygen-crosslinking Polyurethane

General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat

Best Polyurethane for Stairs and Floors 1

Product Overview

The name General Finishes quite expresses what they are up to. On that legacy, the General Finishes High-Performance Water Based Topcoat is the first product to be listed in this roundup review. And we have got reasons behind that. 

As claimed, this General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat is one of the highest performing topcoats that consumer-level users can get in the market. 

This water based topcoat is built on some solid formulation from General Finishes. Because of being water-based, it’s pretty easy and quick to apply. After 1 or 2 hours of applying, you can get to use the stairs over again. And that works for both indoor and outdoor stairs. 

The benefits of such formulation are quite a few. It represents all the characteristics of a good polyurethane finish for your stairs. Plus, it provides a UV stabilizer service on it. This prevents any cracks and breakdowns of the stair under hard sunlight. This is effective if you have a stair outdoors. 

If you’d love to have a decent, durable satin outlook on your stairs that offers optimal durability as well, this General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat is the right pick for you. In case you don’t want to go with the Satin one, there are also three more options such as the Semi-gloss, gloss, and flat. 

Each of the variants of this product sports the same quality and durability as the original one does. And as there is 1 quart of finish inside the bucket, we believe that’s a decent amount to cover at least 100 square feet equivalent stair area. 


  • Water-based, solid formulation. 
  • Protects from UV effects and cracks from sunlight heat. 
  • A perfect suit for both indoor and outdoor stairs. 
  • It doesn’t fade away unlike many water-based ones. 
  • Easy to apply with a brush or cloth. 
  • Dries up within 1 or 2 hours of applying. 
  • It can be used on both stairs and floors. 
  • Available in Satin, Semi-gloss, gloss, and flat. 
  • Able to cover around 100 sq ft of stair area. 
  • A decent price point for budget buyers. 


  • Gets yellow if you apply a couple of coats. 

Minwax 63010444 Fast Drying Polyurethane Clear Finish

Best Polyurethane for Stairs and Floors 2

Product Overview

The next one from our list is a 32 fluid oz polyurethane finish from Minwax. It’s called the Minwax 63010444 and it has the tag of ‘fast drying’ with it. Let’s check down the facts and if it’s really worth your attention or not. 

First thing first, the Minwax 63010444 is a wood-only finish. So, if you’ve got a wooden stair and have to take care of its longevity, this can be the right suit. 

The benefits of applying this satin finish are many in number, firstly, it’s quite a durable one in terms of fading and cracking. And in the case of aesthetics, it will score a 10 on 10. In case you are looking for some other colors, they also offer the same product in Semi-gloss and gloss as well. 

Another unique perk of this product is, it can be applied on both finished and unfinished wood. So, if you’ve just built a new stair set made of wood, you can directly apply this finish on it without applying any color or primer on it. 

That makes it a perfect suit for wooden furniture, home utensils, doors, and cabinets as well. So, you can call it an all-rounder satin finish as well. 


  • Durable and offers good aesthetics. 

  • It can be applied on both finished and unfinished wood. 

  • It comes with three color options. 

  • Dries fast and easy to apply. 

  • 32oz of finish inside, for large stair makeover projects. 


  • Not a right suit for small, in-house stairs. 

Minwax 40910000 Wipe-On Poly Finish Clear

Best Polyurethane for Stairs and Floors 3

Product Overview

Don’t worry about the back to back entry from the inventory of Minwax. The one that we have got here is a smaller version of the earlier one. For users who have stairs to cover with polyurethane finishes, and the stair is not that spacious in terms of area, the Minwax 40910000 is for you.

Let’s get into more depth about what’s in this product and what’s not. Firstly, it’s not a water-based finish, it’s a regular one. You will get a clear and satin outlook once you apply it on your stairs or floor. It’s made of oil-based polyurethane, which is almost the most convenient stair finish that American homeowners use. 

To help you imagine how it would look like once applied, you can imagine a hand-rubbed look that is clear enough to reflect lights. Also, it’s available in both gloss and satin. It’s up to you that which you will go with. 

Once applied, you will have a number of protections for the stairs. It’s protective against water, household chemicals, wearings, food stains and literally anything that might be an enemy of your stairs aesthetics. 

Lastly, it’s about the ease of application. Unlike many similar stair and floor finishes, you won’t need heavy tools for it. All you need is a lint-free cloth. You can also go with a brush. But as the finish is very thin, we would recommend sticking to the clothes for the best results. 


  • Oil-based, regular standard polyurethane finish. 

  • Easy to apply with a lint-free cloth.

  • Sports a hand-rubbed finish to the stairs. 

  • Provides protection against liquid, water, stain and wear. 

  • Lets you choose from Gloss and Satin color. 

  • A convenient choice for not-so-spacious stairs. 


  • The fast-drying doesn’t work as the brand claims. 

Rust-Oleum 200041H Water-Based Polyurethane

Best Polyurethane for Stairs and Floors 4

Product Overview

It’s quite weird if we hold a discussion on home finishes and there is no mention of the brand Rust-Oleum. We are not overwhelmed though, but we really have to appreciate the brand as they maintain a top-notch quality in their products. And the Rust-Oleum 200041H just another finely crafted example of that. 

This glossy stair finish is made of water-based polyurethane formula and comes with extreme clarity. As it’s water-based, it has the advantage of fast-drying over the oil-based ones. You might recall this from the previous product in this list. 

The Rust-Oleum 200041H will provide your stair or floor with a glossy finish along with a polished and clean look on top of it. And the biggest USP of this product is its durability. It can provide months of protection against the stain and scratches that are very likely to take place on a stair. 

However, it can cover an area of 125 square feet with the 1 quart of finish you have in this bucket. But as you know, water-based finishes don’t act at their best just with one coat. You have to provide another coat of Rust-Oleum 200041H on the stair after 20 minutes of the first coat. 

As we said, the area coverage of 125 square feet seems to be perfect for even multiple stairs within your home or apartment. And the fast-drying will make it sure that you don’t have to hold the stair unused for quite long. It literally dries off completely within 30 minutes of application. 


  • Dries up within 30 minutes. 
  • Can cover 125 square feet of stair or floor. 
  • Durable and water-based formula. 
  • Protects from stain and scratches. 
  • It can run on furniture or cabinets as well. 


  • Requires multiple coats of application to be at it’s best shape. 

Bona Mega Wood Floor Finish Satin 1 Gallon

Best Polyurethane for Stairs and Floors 5

Product Overview

The last product of our list is a comparatively new one. But the way users are appreciating its effectiveness as a polyurethane floor and stair finish is really overwhelming. Let’s go check out what’s inside it and is it a good one for you or not. 

Bona Mega Wood Floor Finish is a 1-gallon satin finish that can be applied for surfaces made of wood. So, if you have stairs or floors made of wood, this one’s for you. Otherwise, browse the other products. 

Got a wooden stair? Well, in that case, this Bona Mega Wood Floor Finish is a water-based formulation that they call the OCP (Oxygen Polyurethane). Chemically, it’s oxygen activated, which lets it be an exceptionally durable one. With that, you will get a good flow, leveling and decent build quality for your wooden stairs. 

The color is mentioned as satin at the title. But there is also a semi-gloss and gloss option available. No matter whichever you go with, it will provide your wooden surface with a natural glow keeping the beauty of the wood as it is. 

As there is 1 gallon of Bona Mega Wood Floor Finish, it can’t be enough to cover a lot of space. So, we particularly recommend it for wooden stairs that sport small to medium space amounts. 


  • 1 gallon of OCP activated formula. 
  • Waterborne formulation to make sure the quality. 
  • Protects the natural color of the wood.
  • Comes in satin, gloss or semi-gloss option. 
  • It provides exceptional flow and build quality. 


  • Non-wooden stairs aren’t the cup of tea for this product. 

Buyer’s Guide

Before buying the polyurethane finish for your stair, consider reading these buying points- 

The Amount

Firstly, it’s the amount of finish that you have to decide. There are large options available as 32oz. Also, there are smaller options available as well. Based on how much area you want to apply the finish on, you have to pick up the right one. 

Water-based or Oil-based

Clearly, these two are the types of formation available in the market within stair finishes. In this regard, both of them have their perks and problems. 

Water-based ones are quick and easy to apply. But they are not as long-lasting as the oil-based ones. And the oil-based ones are vice versa. 

Also, there is a flat version of polyurethane finish available that has the best of both worlds. 

The Color and Aesthetics

In terms of colors and aesthetics, there are a number of options available. The most common is Satin. Where glossy, semi-glossy and plain ones are also available. 

The Drying Time

This is often ignored when users buy stair finishes. If you have a frequently used stair in or outside of your home, you would like to dry the stair finish quickly. So, that’s also a fact that you have to watch out for. 


Question: How does this kind of finish is applied?
Answer: The DIY method of applying these finishes is to use a brush or tilt-free cloth piece. 

Question: How long does a polyurethane finish take to dry off?
Answer: Once applied, it might take up to 2 hours to get usable again. 

Question: Does the satin finish provide UV protection?
Answer: The UV protection is not up to the color but on the formulation. And some of the products offer that. 

Question: Are these products side-effect-free?
Answer: Yeah, all 5 of them are mostly side-effect-free. 

Bottom Line

So, this has been the list of best polyurethane for stairs and other parts of your floor and furniture. With the diverse set of options, we hope you have picked up the right one for your purpose.