Waterborne finish most durable regarding scratches?

Q: I just got my floors refinished and I was under the impression that the waterborne finish would be the most durable from scratches. I can easily scratch my floors with a light rub of my fingernail and I am concerned because I have 2 dogs who I’ve not let on the floor yet, and a baby on the way. My flooring refinisher said he put 2 coats down and I have asked him to come back to put a 3rd coat.

Am I being unrealistic in my expectations? Is there something I should ask him to do in this last coat (like a hardening additive?) I understand that heavy or sharp objects will cause dents, but I hoped that the finish would be more durable for light object movement on the surface.

A: I’m still big on the solvent (oil based) type polyurethanes. Primero, my current finish of choice is very tough. Top end water borne finishes are tough too, however they require a cross-linker to be added and generally they contain iso-cyanate which is not a very safe, friendly solvent to have to handle. These 2 part finishes are also comparatively expensive. The single component water borne finishes such as Bona Mega are not very durable. Poloplaz has a water borne, 202 which has a proprietary cross-linker added to the finish so you don’t have to handle iso and there is no waste. It is also less expensive than Bona Traffic. Your floor guy likely used Mega or other single component finish and it won’t stand up. Have him coat with a good quality water borne, or go with Primero.

Incidentally, 2 coats is not adequate.

Similar Q: Our contractor refinished our hardwood floors with an oil based polyplaz satin and I am finding that it scratches very easily. Can this be top coated with a water based polyurethane designed for floors?

A: Did you mean Poloplaz? I’ve used both Primero and Supreme which are both excellent and tough coatings. If your contractor finished these floors he is not a professional flooring contractor and may be under the mistaken notion that if he applies the finish in thicker coats that it is better, instead of following the recommended spread rate of 500 sq. feet per gallon. That would be my guess.

To directly answer your question, yes you can apply a waterbourne coating over solvent based finishes. I would however allow full cure before continuing with that. This usually takes 3-4 weeks. However, if the contractor applied it at thicker than recommended rates you may want to wait longer. Procedure is the same with all coatings. Abrade existing coating thoroughly, vacuum and tac up any and all dust and debris before coating.