Ripple and poly peeling

Q: We put in American Cherry hard wood floors. The floor people sanded and did two coats of oil poly. We felt it wasn’t enough and wanted another coat. They weren’t available, so we hired another person. They have put on two coats on top of the other two. There is one line of ripple like one long “S” and the poly seems to come up/peel off if scuffed.

Do we have to start over by sanding all the way down?

A: I agree with you that 2 coats is not enough. On a natural, not stained floor I would typically apply a coat of Poloplaz Fast Dry sealer, which is polyurethane based but offers exceptional penetration into the floor followed by 2 coats of Primero, which is a high solids, tough wearing polyurethane top coat.

I don’t know if the second company used a water borne finish on top or solvent based, but if there are adhesion issues you will likely have to start over I’m afraid. Most likely causes would be inadequate buffing between coats to create a sufficient mechanical bond, or some type of contaminant got onto one of the previous coats of finish. This could be from any number of products used around the home from oily soaps to furniture polish, etc.

Follow-up Q: Thank you for your fast response. What you said makes sense, I think we were just hoping that there was a way to fix this quickly. Just to clarify, do we have to sand down to the bare wood and what would be the best products for the American Cherry?

A: Well, you have to get past the first layer that is peeling. That is where the issue began. For all practical purposes, and to put an end to the failure, sand to bare wood.

I have become partial to Poloplaz products over the past years. Their Primero is the best oil based polyurethane I’ve used in over 35 years. That along with their Fast Dry Sanding Sealer provide an excellent, tough finish that looks great and is easy to apply.