I just bought a house and spent the last weekend sanding and staining
the wood floor. Everything has gone according to plan until last
night. On Monday I applied oil based polyU and let it try for 2 days.
Last night I rented an orbital sander to buff the floors but the pads
they gave me didn't work. They were very "sticky" and the sander could
not spin at speed. Basically I could not finish the floors.
1) Do you need to buff/sand after applying an oil based PolyU. I see
conflicting advice online and it seems that the floors are fine right
now. There are some small areas that have bubbles which I could buff
out with a small hand sander but do I need to sand the whole house?
2) The PolyU manufacturer recommends only one coat. The floors right
now look good and seem well protected. Any advice here?
If one coat was recommended, then leave it as is. There may be areas
where you need touch up later, and letting the finish cure hard for
that operation will make the needed touch sanding much easier. Random
orbital sanders are innocent looking tools, but they can really remove
a lot of material in a hurry. Not sure why you would want to buff a
floor finish since they all look pretty good once applied and cured.
I've never heard of a one coat polyurethane floor finish. Who makes
One reason to buff out a floor is if there was dust in the room or
schmutzes on the pad applicator. Another is trying to knock down a
high gloss finish to a satin finish. The first is far easier to deal
with before the floor finish is applied, and the second is far easier
to achieve by using the desired sheen as the final coat.
If you applied only one coat, and there are bubbles - not stuff stuck
in the poly, but air trapped under the poly - you have a problem. You
sand those out and there will now be pinholes in the floor finish.
That is not good. It should be an unbroken film.
I'd hit it with a RO sander and apply another coat of poly.
The big reason to buff "screen" a floor is to knock down the grain
raise caused by a water based finish. Shouldn't be as important with
an oil based finish.
Why poly? Seems like the low cost choice after all that work sanding
it. I have stopped doing my own floors but the last few I did I used
"Bona" water based finishes.
One coat is ridiculous. Why buff (screen) it if you aren't planning a
second coat? I would be pissed at whomever sold you that stuff.
Thanks - sounds like a second coat is the way to go. So I need to do
some light sanding first over the whole floor before applying the
second coat(other than to get rid of the small area with bubbles), is
that correct? Any recommendation on grit of the sandpaper?
The buffer was grabbing because the finish was still too soft, you
need at least a week to be able to do that with oil poly. The first
sanding is just to knock down the stubs. With oil based poly or
Flecto Varathane, etc., and only 48 hours, I like to just get on my
hands and knees with some 220 grit paper and give it a very light
circular hand sanding "wax on , wax off" (if you've seen the karate
kid movie). Wipe it up with some tack rag, then do the final coat.
Most people are using the water based polys these days, those dry very
hard in 24 hours and can take a buffer for your first coat knock
down. Still have to tack rag it, then put on the last coat. Having
used both I like the water-based poly better.
If all you have is a little "first coat stubble" and not a huge amount
of square footage, then I would just give it a light hand sanding,
really not much other than getting some roughness out, IOW the idea is
not to remove poly just stubble. You should see a fine white powder
develop as you hand sand, just stay at that consistent rate across the
room, job should go fast. Then apply your second coat of oil-based
poly, (you cant go to water-based at this point). It will probably
look great after the second coat beacuse that coat will sit smooth as
long as you dont shake the can and make bubbles. I did my entire
first home like this with Flecto Varathane which is basically an oil-
poly, it wowed everyone who saw it. Of course I was only 23 years old
then, I'm 53 now so I would probably hire someone;)
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