Would using an oil based urethane have caused the ‘peeling’ that has occurred?

Q: If you apply a water based ebony finish to #1 select white oak floors, what would be the correct process to continue to achieve a satin finish?

A: Your terminology is confusing and contradictory, but seems irrelevant to your question. To maintain a satin finish, apply satin finish. Species and grade have nothing to do with sheen. Preparation in coating is all that is important.

Follow-up Q: Didn’t mean to be confusing. If I could try to explain: I have a contractor who has used an ‘ink’ type stain. It is an alcohol based dye – black.

My question would be that of using acrylic urethane rather than oil based urethane. Would using an oil based urethane have caused the ‘peeling’ that has occurred? We were advised to use oil based urethane. When two/three coats dried, the ‘ink’ like stain is coming up with a wipe of a rag and/or if you touch it. Basically the stain is somehow trapped. Any advice? This is the best way I know how to explain.

A: You say this is an “alcohol” stain? I’ve used alcohol stain once. I can tell you that it dries almost instantly and is near impossible to work with because of that. It would be much like other alcohol based products, such as Zinsser universal sealer, which is a de waxed shellac. It is alcohol based and dries for coating in about 1/2 an hour. I would say there is no way this stain is alcohol based.

It does sound like it is an oil stain which was applied too heavily. Since the gaps between the boards were not filled before staining, an abundance of stain seeped between the boards, where, deprived of the oxygen needed to dry, keeps bleeding out. This is why I generally apply my stains with a cloth, on hands and knees, the old fashioned way, rather than using an applicator. I wouldn’t consider this an issue of the finish itself. It is a matter of the stain being applied far too heavily. Now you have a problem. Short of starting over, I might suggest this. Poloplaz makes a product you can add to coatings to make them dry. I think they call it Super Dry. Perhaps if you squeeze some of this into the offending areas, it will force it to dry, and then you can buff and apply another coat. www.poloplaz.com

They have several contacts on their web site, including a chemist. He could verify if I am giving you good advice or not as it pertains to Super Dry.

Second Follow-up Q: The stain was from ******. It is alcohol based. We ended up eating the job at $45,000. It should be left to people that are trained. We had no such luck in that department.

A: I’m sorry to hear that. I’ve been doing this work many years now. It is so technically difficult at times; there are so many factors that can come into play on any given job, that I am still often stressed.

I wouldn’t work with an alcohol stain for the reasons I mentioned. You can’t work with it and not have lap marks all over the floor. There are other much friendlier stains on the market. I’ve heard that Bona Kemi stains are good to work with. Min Wax is OK, and Circa 1850 stains are nice to work with. Even Benjamin Moore stains are good. As one person I know has often said: test, test, test.