Polyurethane peeling around redone areas

Q: My red oak floors were sanded, stained and finished six months ago, in July. Immediately after, we noticed the cut-in around the baseboards in the kitchen and living room were shiny. Our contractor determined that one can of poly wasn’t appropriately stirred, so he reapplied the poly after buffing it down. (I believe it was buffed – perhaps sanded is the better term?)

Now, six months later, I found a board with poly peeling around the edges. As I inspected the rest of the areas, I noticed that the only areas where I see other potential problems of the poly peeling are in the rooms that were redone. Not all rooms in the house had this shiny cut-in problem.

I plan on calling my contractor and I feel like he’ll try to help me, but I’m looking for a disinterested third party to explain what might have gone wrong and what might be the solution. There wasn’t much time passed between the original job and the redo. Maybe two weeks. He used Minwax stain and Minwax oil-based poly, and if it matters, we added wood to adjoining rooms that used to have carpet, but he blended instead of adding a threshold.

I clean daily with a microfiber dust mop and weekly with the Bissell Crosswave, which is a microfiber mop that uses very little water and even less cleaner. It evaporates in minutes.

A: Likely culprits are one of two things: either insufficient buffing or sanding to achieve a mechanical bond OR a contaminant on the floor. I don’t know what is in your Bissel product. However, another big seller on the market is Swiffer. As of when I last checked, when you look up the datasheet on their web site it lists one of their ingredients as wax. It used to say paraffin, which is the same thing. That would definitely be a contaminant that would cause adhesion issues.

The only thing I can suggest, short of starting over is to get a product from Poloplaz called Tie Tac. It is for heavy-duty removal of contaminants and has saved a couple of jobs I had done where the contamination was not my fault or of my knowledge. A section of the floor is mist sprayed and buffed with a polisher and pad. Any slightly abrasive pad will work. Then when this is done, let it dry and use a towel thoroughly wet and rung out with this solution. Wrap it around a push broom and go over the floor like an ice rink cleaner machine; a Zamboni machine. Do that at least once, if not twice. When it has dried then buff or screen it all again, vacuum the dust, dry mop with a micro weave mop and coat it with a thin coat. Your contractor will find Poloplaz Primero is much more reliable and predictable when applying it. It requires little mixing.

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