Small scratches on tender coat?

Q: My problem seems to be a tender coat. I have two coats of Poloplaz Primero and after almost 3 weeks of cure, I am getting small scratches in the topcoat. Of course because it’s such a wonderful product, there is very little information on the Internet about any scratching of Primero. It really is a great product.

Any guesses on why, protection from more scratching, or corrective action?

This floor is a 100 year old quarter sawn red oak. Some dewaxed shellac was applied as barrier/undercoat but this is not consistent with where scratches have occurred.

A: I agree Primero is a fantastic floor finish. I’ve used it for quite a few years now with zero issues. Any finish can scratch. Do you have any idea what exactly is causing the scratches? After 3 weeks you are near full cure. How many square feet was coated and how many gallons or quarts did you use? How many coats? I want to verify that you applied it according to the recommended spread rate of 500 sq. feet per gallon.

Follow-up: Yes, we did apply at approx 500 sq ft per gallon. Second coat was a bit thinner than first but neither was very far from label. Application was with 1/2″ nap roller.

An early scratch appeared from a nail in trim being reinstalled, but I let that pass. Many fine scratches have shown up yesterday after my painting contractor did some finish sanding-so I expect the scratches are from fine dust off the drywall mud used to patch. Perhaps their dropcloths were not clean either.

I selected Primero because we will have animals in the house. At this moment I am willing to leave the floor as is, if it will cure to the point of enduring dog traffic. I can screen it later if I choose to sell it. Alternatively I could screen it and put another coat on but that will be 3 coats, which some say is too much, and another month of cure during which I cannot move in!

The temp and airflow were managed precisely during application although the first coat was done in cooler weather. We did a few whole house air exchanges and kept temp stable at 72* after dry to touch.

I did indicate I had dewaxed shellac as a barrier coat.

A: I can only guess but I suspect that drop sheet. If it has all manner of little flecks of debris, hardened drywall compound, etc., and the guy is walking on it and especially scuffing and dragging/rubbing the sheet back and forth? I can see that causing scratches.

I find 3 coats of finish is standard on a natural job and even stained floor unless a stain such as Dura Seal Quick Coat is used which contains polyurethane resin, in which case I would apply two. You have two Primero and a seal coat, so that should be enough. Your dog may not and should not rip the finish off anytime soon. But if it is a large dog expect nail impressions in the wood. I’d let it wear and give it another coat down the road.

Follow-up: That is really helpful and nice to have some confirmation. Do you believe it is not cured yet and will get harder, or do you believe the workers’ roughness on it is worse than the everyday wear and tear it will see?

A: Well yes, I have to believe that. Normal everyday walking on it won’t cause any issues unless you have a stone in your shoe or are a foot shuffler. If I am working in a house and have need to lay down a tarp I always check it to make sure I’m not going to create a problem. On some jobs I’ve bought new tarps because I couldn’t take the risk of transferring anything to surrounding area rugs.

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