Finish not shiny enough

Q: Just had my kitchen floors refinished to match the rest of the house. Three coats of a 50/50 mix of satin and semi oil base poly was used. It did not come out shiny enough. He then did a coat of straight semi. It was put directly on without any sanding. Still not shiny enough.


A: Gloss. But if a coat was applied without buffing, you may already have created an adhesion issue. The sanding between coats has nothing to do with the amount of gloss or shine in the finish.

Follow-up: Thank you so much for such a prompt reply. I had asked the floor guy abut putting the semi right over that satin without any prep and was told it would be fine. Just didn’t seem right though. While the floors actually look beautiful and much closer to what I already have, they are not yet the same sheen.

The contractor will be here tomorrow so I will definitely talk about preparing the floor before anything else is put on. He was very hesitant to suggest straight gloss. Thought we would be going too far in the wrong direction in trying to just get a little closer to the old.

A: If you want a finish with more shine than semi-gloss but not as intense as gloss, I would think the gloss should be reduced with a small amount of satin. But this is kind of hit and miss. Are they making a guess as to what shine you want? And who has the recipe to mix the finishes exactly?

Follow-up: The goal was to match existing. Which is now being determined that it is semi. When they put the full semi over the part satin part semi it just didn’t come up glossy enough. The wood floor guy and the contractor are working on it together. He is someone the contractor has used a number of times before with no problems and feels he will do whatever is nesesary to make it right. It’s just figuring out the ‘whatever’.

I told the contractor I had read that once satin is on the floor, it will effect semi or gloss. The flatters are still on there underneath. The contractor is in the process of getting more info from other install companies. I’ve told him of your input and will be using it to go forward. He also wants the floor buffed prior to any more work.

A: The shine of previous coatings does not affect the gloss level of the finish applied on top of it. Especially is this so when that previous coating is buffed or scratched to achieve a mechanical bond.

Related Q: We had a new pre-finished solid wood floor (red oak wood) installed (new construction). After installation we noticed a few high edges on some boards and made the decision to sand off finish on entire floor (~ 2000 square feet), stain, then coat with oil-based polyurethane. After 3rd coat noticed some irregular areas in poly coating.. apparently where the worker stopped for too long.

Long story short, the contractor is going with a different finishing company to correct irregular poly areas. He said he could apply fourth coat with semigloss (1st three coats were semi gloss) or for the fourth coat use satin polyurethane. He told us that satin does a better job of hiding defects in flooring, scratches, and dirt, and more people are going to satin. And satin has less sheen compared to semigloss (not that semi gloss was all that bad for us). We saw a floor finished by same new guy and we liked the satin sheen of the floor.

We have not moved into our new house yet and want to get this right before we move in. So, my question is, if done properly can he get this done with just one coat of satin? And what happens as the floor ages and wears in some high traffic areas? Will the semi gloss from underneath start to show through in the high traffic areas and create a “mottled” mess next to the semi gloss? I’m very paranoid about this. Is it safer to just go with semi gloss for the fourth coat, despite that flooring may be more prone to showing dirt (we have no dogs or kids)? Does semi gloss dull with age?

A: It isn’t relevant what gloss level was used in previous coats of finish because regardless of what was used, this coating has to be lightly but thoroughly sanded or abraded to gain adhesion of the next coat of finish. If they use a good quality finish and care is taken in maintaining it (removing abrasive grit and not dragging heavy things) it should last years before a new coat of finish has to be applied. While it is a good size floor area it is really a straight forward procedure. Sand the perimeter with fine sandpaper and screen the main area with a polisher and screen disc, say 180 grit. Vacuum carefully, dry wipe with a micro weave mop and apply finish. No air movement across the floor while the finish is setting up. Done.

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