Seeping globs

Q: I just hired a local wood flooring company to refinish the entire first floor of my house this past April. Since that time the polyurethane has seeped out from between the boards and formed small globs or crystals of poly that are now stuck on the floor.

Every room that was done shows evidence of this problem.. (more details included in email.)

I called the company and the owner visited yesterday – he said wood expands and contracts and this is a natural result of that. He couldn’t explain why this didn’t happen to other jobs he’s done.

He said maybe our basement is very damp but it isn’t (my husband is a heating and a/c tech – we have a dehumidifier down there and have never experienced excessive moisture – it’s a typical basement). The owner recommended vacuuming instead of sweeping so the dust and possibly the poly would get sucked up – it wouldn’t as its like glue on the floor. This is not an option as I didn’t invest in a good vacuum since I have hardwood throughout! He promised to return in a few weeks to see if it gets worse or stays the same. I am not sure what the point of this is and am wholly unsatisfied with his feedback right now.

I don’t want to place blame without knowing the cause but a week before the floors were to be done the company called and asked if they could do the work the week before scheduled as another customer had to move their job up a week. I would appreciate any insight into what caused this, what my course of action should be, and how to correct the problem regardless of what the company offers to do.

A: Well, they didn’t fill the cracks for one. I don’t know how they applied and then removed the excess stain, but they put it on heavy enough that plenty went between the boards. When this happens it takes time for the stain to dry. I don’t know if there might have also been wax on this floor from long ago. The solvents in the finish will soften substances like this and if too much stain has been applied, it can bleed or weep out. The only thing you can do is keep scraping the beads off until it finally stops or dries. This is covered in the FAQ at I am glad I never had to face that problem on a job.

Alt. explanation

Similar Q: As the last coat of bona traffic was drying on an old gappy hard maple floor little beads of finish appeared in all the cracks, making the floor bumpy. Any idea on what caused this and how to prevent this from happening in future?

A: Is there any chance there may have been, for example, wax in those gaps? I can see this sort of thing happening because the wax would repel the finish. There is another condition called poly beads but I think that generally is a rare issue with solvent based coatings and the beads don’t appear until some later time. It is the result of the finish seeping into gaps and lacking air flow the finish takes a very long time to dry. If the floor should react to humidity changes and expand it can push this soft finish to the surface as tiny beads.