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  1. #1
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    Nov 2008
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    Default Refinished hardwoods not holding varathane

    We just recently refinished all the hardwood floors in our house. We followed all the necessary steps, sanding, washing, etc. Applied one coat of varathane, waited 24 hours, did a light sanding (to remove dust particles) then applied another coat of varathane. Then waited again for 48 hours before putting furniture on them. The floors looked beautiful for the first 12-14 days, now over time it appears as thou the varathane is wearing off of the floor. The high traffic areas seem as thou they have no varathane left on them, but low traffic areas are still shiny. Any suggests, thoughts, ideas?
    Also, what is the best to use for cleaning them. I've heard vinegar and water, Murphys' Oil soap? I've tried both, and neither one seem to give me a nice shine.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: Refinished hardwoods not holding varathane

    Was this a floor-rated product? Hopefully so.

    Regardless....it sounds like the finish wasn't sufficiently cured/hardened when foor-traffic as allowed. Takes about a month+ (six weeks) for most poly products to reach full hardness. UNder the circumstances, I'd suggest you wait at least a month from the last coat and then try buffing the floor with some manner of power buffer. If the finish is hard at that point, you should be able to buff it to a sheen that matches the rest.

    Would suggest you limit foot traffic as much as possible during this time (at least with hard-soled shoes) so as to limit any further surface scuffing of what sounds like a soft finish. Don't know what sheen you used, but satin takes longer to harden than semi-gloss and semi longer than gloss.....as a rule of thumb.

    PS- 3 coats is a minimum for me when applying oil-based poly floor finishes. However, many simple off-the-shelf water-based finishes limit the advised coats to two...and for good reason. Too many coats of simple WB... too fast.... and they may never cure properly.
    Last edited by goldhiller; 11-22-2008 at 11:44 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    2

    Default Re: Refinished hardwoods not holding varathane

    We rented a sander and edger. We sanded the floor 3 times, using 36 grit, then 80 grit, then a fine sanding with 100 grit. We purchased an oil based varathane from the local hardware store. Was not specially for floors, but could be used on floors. The can was stirred, but possibly not well enough. We were running out of time to be moved out of our old place. So we only had time to allow it to dry for 48 hours before we moved in. The floor did not feel wet, or tacky in any way so we assumed it was dry enough to walk on. This hardwood floor is the only flooring in our house, (that we are living in), any suggestions on how we can fix it? Aside from living in a motel for a month to redo everything?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    1,131

    Default Re: Refinished hardwoods not holding varathane

    Quote Originally Posted by 93grandprix View Post
    any suggestions on how we can fix it? Aside from living in a motel for a month to redo everything?
    Yes...see my previous post. I guess I shoulda said ....wait about a month...leaving things as they are. This should give sufficient time for the finish that is there to fully harden. At that time, try buffing the existing finish and see if it doesn't come back to full luster....whatever the sheen is that you used.

    Bottom line here is...it certainly sounds like you didn't do anything wrong during your prep and finishing....except maybe choosing the wrong type of finish (not specifically floor rated). What you describe sounds to me like the finish was just a little too soft yet when you put it back into service and so the top layer is scuffed from foot traffic abrasion. This *may* be because the finish isn't really up to the wear and tear of foot traffic...or it may be because it just needed more time to reach sufficient hardness for foot traffic. Am hoping the latter and this is why I suggested waiting now and then buffing.

    If a rebuff doesn't do the deed, then I would consider/recommend a very light sanding with a very fine grit paper or a fine grit screen on a buffer and then overcoat (1 coat should do) with an oil-based poly product that is fully floor-rated. You will still need to observe common sense whenthis is done, i.e. - stay off of it for a minimum of 24 hours (48 would be better) and then socks or rubber soled shoes only for the first week thereafter.

    If you used a stain under the current finish and it wasn't fully dried when the poly went down....this may have interfered with curing/hardening in the normal amount of time. However, there may be other causes at play here such as - many manufacturers have altered the composition of their products to meet new VOC regulations. Consequently, this has various effects upon the performance. Some products now like to foam a bit when brushed, some take longer to dry & cure ...or simply don't get as hard as they once did. Still, floor-rated oil-based poly is a good choice for a floor and particularly so for a DIYer as it is readily available, fairly forgiving as far as application goes and gives a durable longlasting result. For instance, our 3 coats of OB floor-rated poly has been on this kitchen floor since 1990. Still looks great with no signs of wear-thru anywhere and it gets hard use every single day.
    Last edited by goldhiller; 11-23-2008 at 10:29 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    731

    Default Re: Refinished hardwoods not holding varathane

    Quote Originally Posted by 93grandprix View Post
    We just recently refinished all the hardwood floors in our house. We followed all the necessary steps, sanding, washing, etc. Applied one coat of varathane, waited 24 hours, did a light sanding (to remove dust particles) then applied another coat of varathane. Then waited again for 48 hours before putting furniture on them. The floors looked beautiful for the first 12-14 days, now over time it appears as thou the varathane is wearing off of the floor. The high traffic areas seem as thou they have no varathane left on them, but low traffic areas are still shiny. Any suggests, thoughts, ideas?
    Also, what is the best to use for cleaning them. I've heard vinegar and water, Murphys' Oil soap? I've tried both, and neither one seem to give me a nice shine.
    i sure do hope it is only as ****hiller suggests. if someone used holiday or other floor shine on the floor before you started or the floor had wax on it you might have buffed/sanded the wax into the wood though and if that is the case the new finish may never stick. did you test the preexisting finish on the floor to determine what it was before you started? how did you clean the floor before you started sanding?

    usually solvent based finishes have to dry for several days and nothing but socked light traffic after that no furniture for about a week or more keeping things blocked up for longer. the stirring issue might have something to do with it.

    maybe your floor was previously finished with spirits, turpentine and wax and the floor sucked up the oil based solvents and the finish flaked off. was the room really hot or cold or had a lot of wind through it when you laid off the finish or while it was to be curing? was the floor really high moisture content when you laid the finish and maybe the room cooler and moving day the doors open a lot, and since you moved in you've had dry heat on and the house closed up?

    you mentioned murphy's oil soap hope you didn't use that to clean floor before you refinished. i'd stay away from that if using a surface finish or if penetrating finish and wax. its been too soon to be cleaning your floor with anything. after its cured minimal vinegar and water in a barely moistened pad if surface dirt, to dry dust mop just use a few drops of plain water on the dust rag you put on the dusting pole. vacuum or sweep first. stay away from silicone floor shine products and static treated cloths they tend to leave residues water on a soft clean cotton rag will grab most dust that sweeping or vacuuming doesn't.

    when the finish is completely cured, protect traffic areas and near entry ways with rugs to catch grit and protect from moisture and dirt. use pads or disks made from felt or cork on furniture legs to protect the floor finish.

    p.s. store the new can upside down makes it easier to stir. you really have to stir/reblend well the OB finishes they separate like salad dressing into layers if you don't mix properly they will not cure right and fail. varathane products have their own web site and a technical support number that operates during the week for sure. maybe you should call them with the can handy might be a bad or old batch too they can check that for you with the code stamped on the can lid or bottom.

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