Looking for some serious advice here. I have a house that I have been
remodeling for a year and I am looking to move in soon. The floors
are hickory and red oak throughout the house. I have a huge dog and 2
kids so I don't want the floors to get destroyed.
A few people are telling me to use moisture cure because of it's
hardness properties. The problem is that I am having problems finding
advice on the best way to apply it. All of the sites that I have been
to say that it is the hardest to do and that it is better left to a
professional. How bad can it be?
I really like oil based poly and wouldn't mind using that but I am
afraid of what my monsters are going to do to those floors. Moisture
cure seems like the way to go. I was going to actually look into
paying someone to do it for me but he wants like $2 a sq. ft. Can
anyone give me some advice/ideas/tips on what the best methods are and
how to do it?
Thanks in advance.
The catalyzed urethanes are upwards of 10x tougher than the best
oil-based polys. I've used Bona "Strong" and most recently "Traffic" to
finish oak and maple floors. 10 years later the "Strong" finished floor
looks like new with lots of kids, sand and pets. The one finished in
"Traffic" is more recent, but it is supposed to be twice as tough.
Application is done with a microfiber squeegee-like mop (should be
available from anyplace that sells these commercial finishes). The mop I
have is about 24" wide. You cut in the edges with a brush, pour the
finish onto the floor, and walk it back and forth keeping a pool in
front of the mop. Most important is maintaining a wet edge throughout
the floor. This often takes a bit of planning and fast work as it starts
to set up in 15-20 minutes. An assistant to pour out a bead of finish
ahead of you can be very helpful.
If it goes really badly you can just sand it out and try again and still
be ahead of the game. The finishes are expensive (the Traffic was $90 a
gallon), but far superior to oil-based.
What Roger said, plus this: be sure to set up work lights at the proper
angle so that you can see exactly how the finish is covering the floor,
so that you get neither bare spots, or puddles. My first refinishing
project turned out ok because I had strategically placed my dual 500W
Ok. I'll see if I can find these products locally. Was the Bonakemi
difficult? I was talking to a flooring guy locally and when I asked
hime about what happens between coats with the moisture cure
(screening, etc.) he said that moisture cure laughs at my screen but
didn't give me any insight on it.
I appreciate your advice. I'll look into the product you suggested.
What do you do between coats? How do you remove the excess? How
many coats did you use? I'll pay the $$ for the product if I can slog
it around efficiently and have it look nice after. I just can't pay
someone $2 a sq. ft. to put it down for me. I've done everything
myself and would like to try to keep it that way.
Did you have to sand between coats with the BonaKemi? I see online
that it is easy to clean up like a water based? I like the idea for
the lights, I'll be using that.
When you say walk it back and forth, obviously you aren't walking on
the finish but how are you avoiding air bubbles? Is the applicator
you specified not so prone to that?
Keep in mind that the oil based poly's contain isocynates which may be
harmful to your well being. If you use oil based, use with proper
ventilation and do not stay in the house until it had dried and make sure
your medical insurance is paid.
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Before you start, sweep, sweep again, vaccuum, vaccuum again, go get
lunch and then vaccuum again. Anything left on the floor will become
entoombed in the finish. I work in my socks to avoid scuffs and change
socks between rounds of cleaning. There will still be stuff left. :-(
I did two coats, which seemed to come out nicely. They recommend a third
coat for heavy commercial use (think store entrances), but that seemed
like overkill for my living room. I use a 150 grit screen on a buffer
between coats, mostly to knock down the dust and dirt that I miss in my
cleaning. If you recoat within the specified time sanding is not
necessary to schieve a bond between coats.
I was careful at the end not to have a lot of excess finish on the
floor. You can mop some up with a paintbrush, but it's better to come
out even at the end. You'll have a feel for how far it spreads by the
time you get across a room.
I haven't had problems with bubbles. I think they have a surfactant that
causes them to break right away. You mix the catalyst in by giving it a
good shake, so there is no major problem with bubbles.
As you are applying you angle the mop bar so that it is 30-45 deg off
perpendicular to the wet line. At the front edge the application comes
out right, excess finish flows off the back side and forms a puddle you
use coming back the other way. (You apply in a serpentine pattern, back
and forth) At the end of the floor there should be no puddles. The only
artsy part is swinging a clean arc at the end of each pass so that you
end up going the other direction with no exess left behind. Practice the
motion with a dry spreader until it feels comfortable.
I've found these finishes to be much more forgiving than a brushed-on
oil while they're wet. They self-level almost instantly, no bubble
issues, and dry down to look much better than they did when they were
wet. (If you are slow and it starts to harden before you are done that
is another, less pleasant, story.)
I found the guys at two different commercial supply companies to be
extremely helpful with advice and suggestions on technique. Ask and you
may be pleasantly surprised at the help you get.
I used one coat of sealer (Bonakemi, of course), and 3 coats of satin
finish (to minimize any sanding marks, gouges, etc).
No excess to remove. You pour out a "river" of finishing and then
holding the applicator at an angle like a snowplow, spread the finish in
one continuous motion all the way across the room. then go back over
it ,but not in the same spot--overlap the previous swath, then go over
it a 3rd time, on the "dry" edge, to feather it out. It's really a lot
easier and faster to do than to describe it. Be sure to cut in the
edges of the room first, with a small applicator pad, such as is used
for painting walls. Do not attempt to apply Bonakemi without their
applicator. They come in various widths, depending on the size of the
project. Get an extra pad. They suggest you not use the same pad for
the sealer as for the finish.
I used the Mega instead of the Traffic, so I can't say if you need
scuffing between coats. Their website has highly detailed application
The stuff dries VERY, VERY fast so speed of application is important!
If you've stained the floor with a Minwhacks stain, you might have
problems. I suggest if you need to stain, use Bonakemi DriFast stains.
That's what I used; they are a pleasure to use. No lap marks. They
are oil modified stains that dry incredible quickly so that you can
stain and finish in one day. Don't try that with Minwhacks! In fact,
their tech support emphatically will tell you to avoid MW.
Bubbles should not be an issue, using the applicator. Whatever you do,
don't tardy in going over any area where you see even a small puddle.
In a few minutes it will congeal.
Wow. Lots to do and read about. I will have to find a Bonakemi
dealer around here in Connecticut. Most everywhere I ggo says that
you have to be a contractor.
Thanks for the advice. If I can I'll let you know how I make out.
That's the "official" word at the supplier I use, also. You just have
to let them know you know how to use the materials, and that is for a
personal project. They don't want people stepping on the toes of their
"regulars". Be charming and truthful and you should be able to purchase
from one of them.
Hence the suggestions to use a two-part, water-based catalyzed urethane
finish. Most consumers have little reason to need or come in contact
with these industrial sealants (either moisture cure or acid cure). I
think they've been almost completely displaced from the floor finishing
industry by better, safer, more convenient products.
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