Third coat is messy

Q: Hoping for some advice based on your experience. Here are the details – New floor, 7 1/4″ engineered Fumed White Oak (no bevel), nailed and glued. Professionals were hired although their experience with oil polyurethane was limited. They finished with ****** Poly 500 matte (we specified the finish as the matte with 8-10 luster rating was desired).

The first two coats were great, but the final/third coat was initially applied too thin and has roller marks, orange peel flecks, diagonal roller telegraphing, oily-looking sheen in places, etc. Second attempts (smaller areas) at the final coat resulted in a muddy look to the whole floor.

Our diagnosis is that three layers of matte results in the matte showing through the layers which causes a dull, dirty-looking, streaky finish. What do we do now? Heavy screen and water based matte top coat? Heavy screen and then a coat of gloss and then a coat of matte? Remove all base shoe, doors, etc., and start at raw wood with a process of gloss, satin, matte?

A: I haven’t used ****** in decades. Back then their finishes were acid cure. Very tough but extremely nasty to work with. I’ve not used the product you are using. It doesn’t appear to be acid cure. Such finishes are not compatible with all others. Streaky finish and uneven sheen may indicate inadequate mixing of the paste which determines the level of shine. There may also be an issue with the coating drying too fast, so this paste doesn’t have enough time to settle to the bottom of the film.

I use Poloplaz Primero and have never had these issues with their products. I really think you should call the manufacturer of the finish and explain the issues and ask about compatibility with another finish, especially if you are thinking of using a different coating technology. Their acid cure coatings emitted formaldehyde. Any product that may continue to off gas would likely be incompatible with a water based coating.

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