Polyurethane doesn’t look thick enough

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Q: I recently had my wood floors sanded and refinished with 3 coats of polyurethane. I was expecting the polyurethane to look a little thicker than it does. Should I be able to feel the edges of each board? It just seems like all you would be able to feel when you rub your hand on the floor was a nice thick coat of polyurethane.

Also, they forgot to fill some nail holes and the polyurethane didn’t fill up the holes? They did come back and fill the nail holes with wood putty but now there is residue from the putty on the floor that you can see in certain lighting that I can’t get to come off the floor. They told me to try goof off?

My concern is the polyurethane won’t last over the years. The company has offered to come back and abrade all areas and put down another coat of polyurethane. The floors do have a decent shine on them and don’t look bad, just concerned about the polyurethane. Should I have them come back and put another coat on? I just don’t want to create more problems. Can you give me your opinion on what you would do?

A: As a general rule, each product has a spread rate. How many feet will be coated per gallon. More often than not, this spread rate will be 500 sq. feet per gallon. At the same time, different products contain varying levels of urethane resins or solids. This will determine how thick the film will be. Water based coatings generally are lower in urethane solids than oil based. None of this has much baring on the toughness of the coating, per se. In short, thick is not really better. Piling on too many coats at once is self defeating, since it will retard the curing of the finish already applied. 3 coats of a good quality oil based coating is more than adequate. Your floor guys should have recommended a suitable product to use for cleaning the finish.

Second Q: I have another question about my floors that were just redone. They did not fill nail holes in the hallway until after the job was done they used wood putty from Minwax to fill holes. Now there are residue marks that I can’t get up. They have offered to abraid the area and recoat with polyurethane. But when I called Minwax they told me that the polyurethane cannot go over top of the wood putty because it’s a wax based putty. They said it would cause more problems in the long run. Do you have any suggestions on how to correct the problem?

A: Wax based, the residue should be easily removed with just about any solvent or one of many designated floor cleaners such as that made by www.poloplaz.com. Even a rag dampened in mineral spirits would likely remove it. No need to try to coat over the residue. That will cause an issue for sure. Not just with adhesion failure but the finish will likely look different in those spots. To remove the wax filler from the holes would require a nail punch of the proper size to enter the hole and dig it out. The guys didn’t think ahead on this one. It happens.

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