Finish peeled off floor, in strips

Q: We recently put in a maple hardwood floor. My son, who has worked with a contractor and has installed and finished many hardwood floors, did the work for us. The floor is beautiful. But 5 months later is has started to peel.

When it came time to put the finish on the floor, he found that he wasn’t able to get the Swedish¬†finish product he was used to using because he doesn’t have a license. We decided to use the Minwax product line instead. I watched him follow exactly all of the instructions listed on the Minwax bottles. He first used mineral spirits and a tac cloth to remove any dust from the floor. A couple of days later after the wood had dried, he put down the base coat of Minwax Water Based Polyurethane Base Coat using a lambswool. He let that dry for about 2 days. Next he applied three coats of Minwax R Water Based Polyurethane for Floors, again, following the instructions on the bottle. I watched him do all this. I saw that he was very careful.

Well, despite his care, within about two weeks of putting the final coat on, it started yellowing. We decided to let it go. About 5 months later we noticed that the finish was starting to peel. We can peel large and long strips of finish from the floor. Needless to say we are very disappointed with the product.

Now to my questions. It doesn’t appear as though there is any finish left on the floor from where we have peeled. We know that we are going to need to re-finish this floor. Should we plan on re-sanding the floor after we finish removing the old finish?

What would be the best quality finish to use on the floor this time?

A: I would question the wisdom of wiping the floor down with mineral spirits when using a water borne finish, though you did give it 2 days to dry. Why not just vacuum well and wipe the floor down with a micro fibre mop or simply a clean towel wrapped around a push broom?

You don’t mention any buffing after the initial and subsequent coats. Even water borne has a limited amount of time between coats, after which you will lose the chemical bond and have to abrade the finish.

I would suggest this: remove all finish to bare wood. Contact Poloplaz and order enough of their 202, single component moisture cure water borne, if that is the sort of finish you want to use. If an oil base is more to your liking, Poloplaz Primero is a fantastic finish. If you are looking for the lightest colour possible, then waterborne is the way to go. If you like waterborne, but would still like a bit of the old style colour depth, apply a coat of Poloplaz Fast Dry Sealer first and allow to dry overnight before lightly buffing and applying a coat of 202.