Coating Exotic Wood Floors

What are some of the names of popular exotic woods?
Brazilian Walnut, Brazilian Cherry, Jarrah, Bubinga, Merbau, African Padauk, Heart Pine, Mesquite, Teak, Wenge, Ipe, Australian Cypress, Sapela, Santos Mahogany

What is the problem?
The extractives in exotic woods are known to cause drying delays, adhesion failures, and soft cure in the seal and finish coats.

What is the answer?
Exotic woods should be thoroughly tacked with denatured alcohol until the extractives are no longer visible on the tack towel. Then seal with two coats of Prism Gloss or Fast Dry Sanding Sealer.

Waterborne System:
Tack with denatured alcohol.
Immediately seal with Prism gloss. Apply two coats, waiting 3 – 4 hrs between coats.
Finish with final coat of Prism or Zenith.

Oil-Modified System:
Tack with denatured alcohol.
Immediately seal with Fast Dry Sealer. Apply two coats, waiting 3 – 4 hrs between coats.
Finish with final coat of Supreme or Primero.

Brazilian Walnut presents a significant challenge for oil-based sealers. Due to the very high level of natural extractives in the species, special care must be taken when tacking the floor. If the extractives are not removed in the tacking process, oil-based sealers will almost certainly be slow to dry. For waterborne sealers, the drying time is not as much of an issue, but if the natural contaminants are not removed, problems with adhesion will occur.

Sapela is a very porous wood. Denatured alcohol causes excessive grain raising, so mineral spirits is recommended as the tacking solution. Always be aware of the purity and source of the mineral spirits. Use only 100% virgin mineral spirits for tacking.

TIP: Add Super Dry to Supreme Finish to reduce drying delays on the final coat. Super Dry will greatly enhance the initial drying and is minimally affected by the extractives in exotic woods.

Reprinted at Wood Flooring Guy with permission from Bill (National Sales Manager) at PoloPlaz (www.poloplaz.com). Visit their site for more information.

Cold Weather and Wood Floor Refinishing

Cold weather is upon us again, the following are some tips to help your finish perform to its maximum efficiency:

Air Flow

Fresh air flow is essential to the drying and curing of oil modified and waterborne polys. Maintain good air flow during the curing process. It is best to turn fans on the finish after it has become tack free. Check the HVAC to be sure it is running. If it’s not cold enough outside, the HVAC will only “kick-on” a couple of times during the night. PoloPlaz Super Dry can be used to prevent drying delays with oil-based stains, paints, and finishes. Note: Oil modified products are combustible, extinguish all pilot lights, open flames, etc. before applying.

Temperature & Storage

Store finish in a climate controlled environment. It takes 12-24 hours for the finish to reach room temperature if it has been stored in the truck overnight. If the finish is cold it will apply heavier and delay drying. Both drying and curing are temperature sensitive processes, each will be delayed by cold temperatures.

Although most waterborne finishes pass freeze/thaw stability tests, it is best not to freeze any waterborne finish. Freezing can destabilize the resins or additives causing poor performance. If your waterborne finish has been frozen, thaw slowly without stirring, then stir once it has completely thawed and use with caution. Always store oil based and waterborne products in a climate controlled environments.

Reprinted at Wood Flooring Guy with permission from Bill (National Sales Manager) at PoloPlaz (www.poloplaz.com). Visit their site for more information.

Dry vs. Cure

Q: What are the most important factors contributing to proper drying of a finish?

A: There are four – Temperature, humidity, film thickness, and airflow. Temperature affects viscosity, which contributes to film thickness. Humidity affects the evaporation rate of the solvents. The amount of airflow determines how much oxygen will crosslink with the finish to initiate the cure. High temperatures, low humidity, thin film thickness, and adequate airflow will all expedite dry time and cure time. Caution must be used during these conditions due to the risk of finish drying too quickly.

Q: How important is airflow?

A: It is critical. After solvent evaporation, the film is very weak.The film must then build strength by crosslinking with oxygen from the air directly over the coating. If the air is stagnant , the solvent vapors, which are heavier than air, blanket the floor blocking the access of oxygen to the film. Things such as wrinkling, paint bleeding and peeling, and stain pull can occur. After the film has become tack free, even slight air circulation will bring oxygen in contact with the floor. Complete curing can take several days, but overnight is usually enough for topcoating.

Q: What is the difference between drying and curing?

A: Drying occurs when the solvents evaporate from the surface of the film and it becomes tack free. Curing is when the residual solvents leave the film and it begins crosslinking with oxygen in the air to develop its strength, toughness, abrasion resistance, and chemical resistance. Although most finishes reach 90% cure in seven days, full cure takes up to thirty days.

Q: When are hardwood floors ready for foot traffic?

A: That will depend on the type of finish used. Light traffic in three days for Supreme or World Class Finish , normal traffic in seven. Zenith, Prism, and Express can handle light traffic the next day, normal traffic in three days. For fast use of the floor with an oil-modified, Primero and Magnum boast light traffic in one day, normal traffic in three.

Q: What could I expect from a finish that has been applied too heavily?

A: Slow drying, soft film, gummed screens, alligatoring when top coated, and poor adhesion. The dry time will increase exponentially with the film thickness (see PoloPlaz Tech Bulletin “Finish Too Thick”).

Q: How do I know if the finish is drying too quickly?

A: If temperature is high, humidity is low, and the area to coat is large, exercise caution. Symptoms of finish drying too quickly are excessive drag during application, poor flow and leveling, and bubbles that won’t disappear. The cure time might also be extended as the surface of the film may skin over and retard through drying. The solution is to eliminate airflow, check the temperature of the air, floor, and finish.

Reprinted at Wood Flooring Guy with permission from Bill (National Sales Manager) at PoloPlaz (www.poloplaz.com). Visit their site for more information.

Finish Too Thick?

Oil Modified Polyurethane

The viscosity of the finish is critical to good finish application. The single biggest factor which influences the viscosity of the finish is temperature. As the temperature decreases, the viscosity of the finish increases. Under very cold temperatures (<50° F) the finish can seem as thick as molasses! This will affect drying, hardness, leveling, coverage, de-foaming, and the sheen of the finish.

It is important to bring the finish to approximately 70-80° F. The finish is designed to work best at these temperatures. Also, check the temperature of the floor. As the finish is applied, it will soon reach the temperature of the floor.

Temperature & Viscosity

Under cooler temperatures the viscosity or thickness of the coating increases. This reduces the spread rate and dramatically increases drying times — sometimes doubling or tripling it. Due to its volume, it takes approximately 24 hours for the finish to reach room temperature if it has been stored outside (even longer for larger containers).

The graphs below illustrates the effects of film thickness on dry time of the finish. Lower temperatures will increase viscosity and reduce coverage significantly. As the coverage is reduced by thicker coats, dry times are drastically increased. The solution is to apply the finish at 500 sf/gal or 3 mil wet film thickness. PoloPlaz Super Dry will help under poor drying conditions, but will not help when heavy coats are applied.

Problem: Finish too thick.
Solution: Extended dry times.
Bring finish to 70 – 80°F.
Apply at 500 sf/gal.

Reprinted at Wood Flooring Guy with permission from Bill (National Sales Manager) at PoloPlaz (www.poloplaz.com). Visit their site for more information.

Gym Floor Maintenance

Temperature & Humidity

Temperature should be kept between 70 – 80°F. Humidity level should be kept between 35% – 55% to insure minimal wood movement.

Routine Cleaning

Dry mop the floor daily to eliminate buildup of dust. As needed, tack floor with PoloPlaz Hardwood Floor Cleaner to remove perspiration, oils, spills, and residue from foot traffic. Do not use dust mop treatments or floor cleaners that contain wax, paraffin, silicone, and mineral oil. Do not use pre-treated dust mops. Use of these products can cause adhesion problems when recoating the floor.

Dirt, sand, and grit will dull and accelerate the wear of the finish. Removing any sand or grit will extend the life of the floor. Place floor mats or rugs at all entryways, bathroom exits, or other high traffic areas to remove excessive dirt or moisture. Spills or liquids on the floor should be wiped up immediately.

Power Scrubbers

Never use power scrubbers or automatic floor cleaning machines that disperse water on the floor (especially water under pressure). The use
of scrubber machines will void the warranty on your floor. Power scrubbers were designed for other surfaces such as terrazzo and vinyl floors. The chemicals typically used in these machines are too aggressive for wood and finishes. Even the softest brushes will scratch and dull the finish. The machine’s liquid and scrubbing action can cup the floor, and pull paint and finish from the wood.

Floor Covers and Mats

Gym floor covers should never be used on a freshly finished floor until at least three weeks after the last coat of finish has been applied. For complete curing, the finish surface must be exposed to oxygen in the ambient air. Covering the floor during this process would deny the finish of oxygen needed to complete the reaction. This may result in a partially cured coating with poor physical properties.

Also, it is imperative that the floor be cleaned before the cover is laid. Otherwise, any grit or dust on the floor will mar the floor when the cover is walked on or when any loads are moved on the floor. Covers should not be taped to the floors. The adhesive in most tapes will attack the finish and result in delamination.

Reprinted at Wood Flooring Guy with permission from Bill (National Sales Manager) at PoloPlaz (www.poloplaz.com). Visit their site for more information.

Routine Care of Hardwood Floors

Dry mop the floor with an untreated dust mop frequently.

Daily, spray a clean dust mop with PoloPlaz Hardwood Floor Cleaner, pushing mop the entire length of floor without stopping. Re-spray mop and continue back down the floor slightly overlapping the previous path. For stubborn stains or spills, spray PoloPlaz Hardwood Floor Cleaner on the stain and let it sit for no more than five seconds. Puddled cleaner will cause loss of gloss if left on the floor too long. Wipe dry and repeat if necessary.

Call PoloPlaz before using any solvents to clean stains. Do not use pre-treated dust mops or floor cleaners that contain wax, paraffin, silicone, or mineral oil. Use of these products can cause adhesion problems when recoating the floor. Never use power scrubbers or automatic floor cleaning machines that disperse water on the floor (especially water under pressure). The use of scrubber machines will void the warranty on your floor.

Dirt, sand and grit will dull and accelerate the wear of the finish. Place floor mats or rugs at all entrances.

ACCIDENTS

Grease spots: To remove grease, tar, or oil,
wipe with a cloth dampened with PoloPlaz
Hardwood Floor Cleaner, then followed by buff-
ing with a clean, dry cloth.

Cigarette Burns: Gently rub the burn with a
very fine steel wool moistened with PoloPlaz
Hardwood Floor Cleaner until the blackened
material is removed. If the burn is deep, first
scraped away the charred area with a sharp
knife. Allow to thoroughly dry then touch up with
PoloPlaz finish using a small brush.

Food,Water,or Pet spots: If accident is recent,
wipe up area immediately with a dry cloth.Then
wipe area with PoloPlaz Hardwood Floor
Cleaner following by buffing with a clean, dry
cloth. If the spot has already dried, spray area
directly with Hardwood Floor Cleaner and let sit
for a few seconds. Then wipe up excess and
repeat until stain is gone. Finish up by buffing
with a clean, dry cloth.

Wax Deposits or chewing gum: Apply
crushed ice, contained in a plastic bag, until
material is brittle enough to crumble off the floor
surface.Remove remainder using a cloth damp-
ened in Hardwood Floor Cleaner then buff with
a clean, dry cloth

Scratches: Light scratches that may occur in
the finish can be lightly sanded or screened,
then retouched with PoloPlaz finish. For large
scratches, the recoating must be done by a pro-
fessional.

Reprinted at Wood Flooring Guy with permission from Bill (National Sales Manager) at PoloPlaz (www.poloplaz.com). Visit their site for more information.

Using Rollers

What causes common finish problems?

Streaking is caused by the dragging and subsequent poor dispersion of the silica (flattening agent) in the polyurethane finish. These areas of varying concentrations of silica can cause areas of high and low gloss. Stop marks are a result of the silica being deposited on the floor after lifting an applicator. Lap lines occur when the finish does not properly flow and blend into a smooth film. This can be a result of too much finish on the floor from a roller that is too thick, or the loss of wet edge from the finish drying too quickly. All of these problems are accentuated by dark floors and low windows.

What’s the answer?

An increasing number of contractors are successfully using rollers to apply PoloPlaz Oil Modified Polyurethanes. Rollers provide consistent film thickness that conventional lambswool applicators sometimes lack. Because the finish is applied consistently over the surface of the floor, thick and thin spots, laps, and brush marks are eliminated. The high level of shear induced by roller application will reduce the viscosity of the finish. This reduction in viscosity improves the leveling characteristics of the finish providing a smooth surface.

Choose the Proper Roller

Choose a good 1/4” nap mohair roller made for all paints (rinse with Mineral Spirits before use). A 1/4” nap roller will apply finish at approximately 500 sf/gal (3 mil wet film thickness). These rollers can be reused several times. Clean with mineral spirits and store in a sealed container to avoid drying out.

Use Proper Rolling Technique

Roll the finish in a back and forth motion in a “W” pattern. Start and stop marks can be eliminated by keeping a good “wet edge” and working a small area. Rollers will induce air into the finish but all air will dissipate quickly.

Cold and Wet Conditions

If the polyurethane is cold the viscosity will increase dramatically. This can impair flow and leveling. Avoid applying cold finish. Warm the finish for at least 24 hours before applying. 70 – 80°F is ideal.

Pay special attention to the temperature of the floor. Uninsulated floors can be much colder than expected. This will immediately cool the finish upon application and impair both drying and flow. Always insure that the temperature of the floor is above 55° F.

Hot and Dry Conditions

Moderately warm temperatures (75 – 80°F) will improve the flow and drying of most finishes. Excessive heat (above 85°F) will speed the evaporation of solvents during application and cause it to flow poorly. In these conditions, control the temperature and eliminate air flow during application.

Sunlight through windows can sometimes cause hot spots on the floor. When finishing over a hot spot, the solvents will flash off very quickly and not allow the finish to flow out properly. If a hot spot is noticed, cover the window and allow the floor to cool down to room temperature before applying finish.

Reprinted at Wood Flooring Guy with permission from Bill (National Sales Manager) at PoloPlaz (www.poloplaz.com). Visit their site for more information.

Stop Polyballs

Polyballs are beads of paint or finish which protrude from cracks in floors when the moisture content (MC) of the wood rises, causing the cracks to close up. Paint polyballs are a bad problem, as they can be smeared over the rest of the floor, possibly requiring screening or even recoating.

Polyballs typically occur in the spring on jobs that were completed the previous winter.

Let’s analyze why:

– Wood furnished from the north in winter is typically supplied at a low moisture content. It is milled at around 6% MC and stored at about the same.
– During the winter, even in the south, humidities are at the lowest.Couple this with possible heating at the facility and the moisture content can be even lower.
– If the floor is laid and finished at this low moisture content, there will be considerable expansion in the spring during higher humidities. This can cause great compression of any paint or finish in the cracks of the floor.
– Paint and finish which accumulate in the cracks of the floor, are denied the oxygen required for curing and could be soft (semi-solid) when the spring expansion occurs.
– Facility owners and operators may be resistant to maintaining proper temperature and humidities in their facilities due to the high cost of air conditioning. Therefore, we must estimate the worst case temperature and humidity as an acclimation condition. On the other hand, floors laid in spring and summer will acclimate to a higher, more representative MC, thereby lessening the problem.

(Section Removed)

When polyballs do crop up, get to them QUICKLY. Oftentimes these balls can be wiped up with mineral spirits if they are still wet. If they have become hard, a straight edge or a drywall knife can be used to break them off.Train your local maintenance personnel how to deal with them and the problem will not be severe.

Feel free to contact us for a copy of the complete article.

Reprinted at Wood Flooring Guy with permission from Bill (National Sales Manager) at PoloPlaz (www.poloplaz.com). Visit their site for more information.

Gym Floor Cleaners

Poloplaz recommends using the Hardwood Floor Cleaner on a daily basis. Spray your untreated dust mop on every lap of the gym. The Hardwood Floor Cleaner comes in quarts, gallons, and 5 gallon pails. Quarts are $5.20 each and comes six per case. Gallons retails for $16.90 per gallon and comes 4 gallons per case. A 5 gallon pail is $81.25.

Tie Tack is a more concentrated deep cleaner. You should use Tie Tack once every week. We recommend you dilute Tie Tack 3 to 1 with water. Submerge a clean towel in the bucket, wring it out, wrap the towel around a push broom, and tack the floor. Do not place dirty towel in clean solution. Use at least three towels per gym. Tie Tack is a waterbase cleaner so the towels can be washed in a standard clothes washer. Tie tack only comes in a 5 gallon pail. It retails for $89.70.

Reprinted at Wood Flooring Guy with permission from Bill (National Sales Manager) at PoloPlaz (www.poloplaz.com). Visit their site for more information.