Circular scratch-type marks

Q: A professional installed a new floor in our kitchen, applied sealer and 2 coats of poly. Now I can see fine circular scratch-type marks in the finish. What went wrong?

A: Unfortunately gaining a bond between coats, especially with solvent type finishes requires ‘scratching’ the existing coating. It could be the previous coat was not hard enough and the abrasive used was too course. Pot lights and shiny finishes will make this appear worse than it actually is.

Follow-up Q: What can be done to fix it? The floor installer stated that he used a new pad and it was too abrasive. Does the floor need to be stripped to bare wood or can the present finish be salvaged?

A: Buff the floor down with 180 grit screen and apply a coat of Poloplaz Primero satin.

Similar Q: Our guy changed the poly this time around and the bubbles are mostly gone, but now I see circular ‘scratch-type marks’ I am assuming are from the buffer. Is the only remedy for this to rebuff and apply another coat of poly? Did this happen because the previous coat of poly wasn’t 100% dry?

A: Buffer swirl “circular” scratches have been at war with us since the days of applying varnish first began. The catch 22 is that we must ‘scratch’ the previous coat to create adhesion. You can hope you have buffed it enough and won’t see marks. This is why special buffing pads such as the maroon one were created. And sand paper strips that can be attached to them. All an effort to ‘buff’ a finish and not leave marks. A gloss finish is likely to show them. It is a vexing issue.