Finishing a hardwood floor

We replaced 12" square vinyl tile with 3/4" hardwood flooring on the stage at my church recently. After it was sanded and cleaned off with tack cloths ( almost 1200 sq/ft ... that was fun! ), they put down two coats of stain over two days, and then let it dry for about three days before I put down a sanding sealer. After a light sand, I put down what I thought was a good coat of poly. The can says ~600 sq/ft per gallon, but I only used about 1 gallon and three quarters. Another light sand, and the second coat was just over two gallons.
Now for the question to which no one can seem to agree on an answer ... How many additional coats should be put down to provide sufficient protection against wear and tear? One camp says that two is plenty, especially if we ever have to repair the floor - they don't want to have to sand through more then two coats of poly to be able to repair the floor. The other camp thinks 4-5 coats total is more appropriate to keep us from having to sand all the way down to bare wood to repair the floor.
Personally, I don't think that two coats provides enough protection, and we should put down another two coats. On the other hand, I don't want to go overboard, especially since my back and I are currently not on speaking terms. So ... how many coats does it take to protect a floor, realizing that no matter how many coats you put down, it's a stage floor that's going to be used, and it will be scuffed up, and people will drop things on it and drag things across it?
TIA, Tim
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On Sat, 14 Aug 2004 12:30:23 GMT, "Tim Schubach"

As many as you can be bothered with - you've already made a mess of it by using poly. It's just not hard enough for that sort of use. Adding extra coats won't change the hardness of the surface - you just used the wrong stuff.
For liability reasons on a publically accessible floor, you should also use a finish with the right level of slipperiness and shine to it. Many polys are _much_ too slippery.
There's only one finish I use on floors, and that's an acid-catalysed formaldehyde (Rustin's Floorcoat is my local version).
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Professional flooring companies are usually required to apply at least three coats of poly on residential hardwood floors. If you feel the alter needs more protection than three, then add another coat. By the way, poly is a good choice.
wrote:

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IMHO, poly on a floor simply will not hold up to use. You'd do much better using poly instead.
IOW, the "poly" name is used for many different formulations. Some claim to be good for floors, but aren't. Others do well, and may have an optional hardening catalyst available. The better poly'ies will typically cost about 3-4 times more than the cheaper ones.
Yes, I agree there are better choices, but they're often harder to find, much more expensive, and may require more equipment and knowledge to apply properly. All factors that need to enter into his choice.
GerryG

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wrote:

Hard to believe some of the mis-information you get on the internet....jees.
Nobody would EVER recommend that a a do-it-yourselfer use an an acid based finish in a school environment. Usually, it won't be sold to a DIYer anyway. You don't need to kill brain cells to get a decent floor finish down. Don't know what state, but that finish is not approved for school use where I live. OP, you are on the right track with the poly. Assuming its oil base, you should apply another two coats. It needs more finish. You need to use the highest quality FLOOR finish you can find in your region. You will not find these finishes on the harware store shelves or in Home Depot. This is considered a high-traffic situation and it needs the protection or you will be refinishing the whole thing in a few years. The hard-to-sand-for-repair arguement is silly. Look for Fabulon Poly-PRO. Better yet is applying 2-3 coats of good water based,easy to apply, tougher than oil. Look for Boan Traffic or Basic Coatings Street Shoe. Outstanding finishes.
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