Removing oil soap residue

Q: My wife and I just bought a new house which has hardwood floors throughout. Overall the floors are gorgeous but there are some high traffic areas which you can tell the urethane is getting worn. I would like to sand the top of the urethane and then apply two more coats to hopefully last another 10 or 15 years. I’ve been reading around the Internet about how ******* Oil soap is leaves a residue on hardwood floors which makes it difficult if you want to refinish the urethane.

That is all the previous owners used to clean the floors and I was wondering if you could recommend to me a way that I could recoat my floors without having to sand down own to the wood.

A: The best polyurethane cleaner I have used is Bona Kemi Pacific floor cleaner. I recently had a couple email because they have had grief with a pre finished floor they had installed a year ago. The cleaner that was recommended to them seemed to cause the floor to go very dull looking, and so they were told to try some other product of their choice. Everything they used made it worse. I recommended this cleaner to them and they emailed back to tell me how, though it took 15 hours of work, this cleaner caused all this residue to peel off like a bad sunburn. Now, they said, our floors look great.

I would hunt down your local flooring supplier and see if they carry that product.

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  1. Follow-up Q: I’ve read around about Bona Kemi but wasn’t sure if it would take off the oil residue. After I use it, I’ll have to let you know how it turns out. From what I’ve read around the Internet, this seems to be a common problem with people using ******** Oil. The problem is a bit odd b/c you can’t see the oily residue on the surface but the problems like fish eyes and other adhesion issue pop up when putting on new coats of urethane. I’ve also read that Bona Kemi has a urethane line; do you know how it compares to Fabulon, especially in high traffic areas?

    A: I’ve heard Woodline is a decent finish, though I have not used it. I have used Fabulon for years and currently am using Circa 1850 Bowling Alley polyurethane. There are a lot of good finishes on the market with similar durability. Some, such as Fabulon and Circa 1850 use a resin in their product developed from Safflower oil which resists yellowing.

    There are other products on the market which are suppose to prepare a finish for recoat without any sanding or buffing whatsoever. For example Basic Coatings has their ty cote system. Clean with their floor cleaner, then clean with intensive floor treatment, then apply the ty cote. When dry, apply polyurethane. I believe Dura Seal has also recently come out with something called Prep which is suppose to do much the same thing.

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