Applying Polyurethane Finish
Keeping A Wet Edge
Today, applying polyurethane finish is a little more trickier than what they were, a
couple years back. With the new 350 VOC
law being implemented into manufacturing
the finish. It's changed the way we coat the floors today.
Todays polyurethane finish are better, safer, and dries much quicker
. Better and
safer doesn't create a problem.
Drying quicker, creates problems
Quick drying finishes is great! It helps get the job done faster
But, quick drying means a shorter open time. So, you have to work faster
faster or rather work smarter
Working smarter is the better answer here. How do we do it?
Polyurethane finishes with short open time or has a thick viscosity. You have to
do everything within 1 try, 1 back and forth brush stroke is the key to applying
Any more than that, you'll thin out your wood finish. You can end up with brush
marks, lap marks, flashing, bubbles or ridges. That's a list of problems you would
like to avoid.
Here's how you can prevent these problems.
Stir your polyurethane, don't shake it. Shaking will increase the chances of
Keep a wet edge, when your coating, and try and minimize your brush strokes.
If, your brushing back and forth to many times, then your just playing with the
polyurethane finish. Brushing it to many times will thin out your floor finish,
this can cause flashing, lap marks, and introduce more bubbles.
The best brush method to use, when applying polyurethane finish is to use a
Zig-Zag brush method for edging.
When cutting in on the edges with your wood floor finishes. Cut in, then brush out
in a zig-zag method (left-right or right-left). As your brushing out overlap your passes,
snow plow your finish out towards you and forward to the next area. Open time is
short, coat the area only once, if, possible. Fix ridges, splashes, puddles, and
missed spots along the way.
When applying polyurethane finish with a lambs wool applicator. Coat the floor
back and forth, in a uni-direction, once only, creating a W - pattern. Whether
it's left to right or right to left, continue the same direction, use what's more
comfortable to you.
Example:left to right, left to right, left to right, always continue from the
side you've started, plow the finish towards the opposite directions to keep the wet
Don't use a W - pattern, going left to right, then right to left. You'll end up with
flashing and lap marks. Use a W - pattern, when your brushing back and forth.
It's much trickier applying polyurethane finish with the lambs wool mop applicator. It's
much easier to precoat a 5x5 area, than with the applicator still nice and wet. Finish
coating a 7x7 area, brushing over the precoated floors. Avoid using a lot of
pressure, we don't want to squeeze out additional finish or thin. Otherwise, we have
to brush over the same area, with the applicator, in an attempt to repair the finish,
which can introduce brush marks.
Once again, keep and eye out for splashes, ridges, puddles and missed spots.
Key thing is to keep the edges wet by brushing the wood finish only once, and
moving on taking any left over polyurethane finish with you to the next area.
Use this method through out and you'll avoid these problems with the new 350 VOC's.
Wood Finish Polyurethane Varnish Tips: Inspect your finish for flaws after each
coat has dried, make adjustment to your brushing method or reduce the amount of area you
coat, to fix the problems. Continue to make the necessary adjustment, until the final
Now, that you've read our article up to this point and have a clear understanding
on applying polyurethane finish. Your ready for the advanced technique.
If, you did not read or yet not understand the process, please take the time to
read the article again. When your ready return to this point to continue.
Tricks To Applying Polyurethane Finish
An Advance technique
polyurethane finish isn't so advance. If, your looking for professional results
especially with a satin finish, this is a section that you can't skip out on.
We will be using a Satin wood finish as an example. Brush marks, lap marks and flashing
are most likely to occur with a satin sheen more than any other sheen.
Whether it's the new 350 VOC, the old 450 VOC or a Moisture cure wood floor
. These problems occur commonly throughout this particular sheen.
What's the best way to deal and prevent these problems
While we may understand what the problem is. We must know what is the cause
The main cause to our problem
is brushing back and forth, causing our finish to
thin out, and tacking over to soon. Resulting in brush marks, lap marks and flashing.
We can't brush over dried, semi-dried or tacky polyurethane without having a chance that
will result into one of these common problems.
It is possible to get a smooth, flawless finish with our standard applicators, but there
is an easier way.
What's the remedy for this problem
Owning and running a hardwood flooring business in the Boston, Massachusetts.
The hardwood flooring bussiness is very competitve. We always have to come up with a new
an improved way to perform our work and get the best result, the fastest way
Here's how us Bostonians
apply polyurethane finish to our hardwood flooring
We simply use a hardwood floor polyurethane roller
. With this type of applicator,
it's much easier to manage and deal with the thick viscosity and fast drying finishes. It
prevents all the problems mentioned above.
A polyurethane floor roller is different
from a paint roller.
A Polyurethane floor roller has thin plastic removable wheels
on the sides of the
roller, to prevent the roller from losing it's shape and allows you to apply the same
amount of finish at all times. You can use the roller without it, if, they become a
problem. It's handle has a 3/8 steel rod that inserts in the polyurethane roller, for
easy installation, removal, and to prevent skip rolling.
It's a fool proof floor applicator
, you don't have to be a professional or need 50
years of experience to master this flooring tool. Use the same basic technique as you
would for painting a wall.
The polyurethane floor finish doesn't look as pretty, when you first apply it. In fact it
looks like you'll end up with a textured orange peel look
, which can be worrysome.
But don't worry, use a quality polyurethane finish, apply a generous amount
will level itself out, leaving you with a nice smooth finish. If, you end up with an
orange peel look, then you applied too thin of a coat.
Wood Finish Polyurethane Varnish Tips
: Use a shed resistant
type roller, so
you don't end up with loose fibers in your finish. Such as mohair and microfiber type
Why is a floor roller so effective
applying polyurethane finish with a roller, we're not pushing our polyurethane finish
around. A floor roller will plop
finish onto the floor, so we're not thinning it
out or creating premature tack time. Eliminating a whole list of problems - brush marks,
lap marks, flashing, drips, puddles, splashes, and ridges.
Use this method and you'll end up with a professional result
, without having to
hire a professional.
Here's the process for applying polyurethane finish with a
- Cut in the edge with a brush, using a Zig-Zag brushing method, plow out, keeping
the edge wet.
Roll over the edge, with your hardwood floor roller, to introduce the orange peel
Fully submerge your roller in a 5 gallon polyurethane filled pail.
Coating with the length of your floor boards. Roll out a "W", then start rolling from
one side using a uni-directional coating method, zig-zag out to the opposite side.
Roll a final pass to make sure that your
floor is completely coated with polyurethane.
When, your backed up into a wall, just roll perpendicular or across the grain, towards
And your done. It should've taken you no more than 15 minutes to coat a 200 sq. ft.
Wood Finish Polyurethane Varnish Tips
: Use a 180 or 220 grit screen to sand/buff
in between coats. If, using a new screen, wear it down by rubbing the face of the screen
with sand paper several times.
Use our useful, quality, hardwood flooring information
, to get professional
for your polyurethane finish. Don't stop here, get other professional tricks
and tips on hardwood floors, throughout the site. Read carefully, or you might miss some
Get To Know Your FinishGet to know your finish
, so you can make
to your method, when applying polyurethane finish. This will help you
achieve a smooth, quality polyurethane wood floor finish
at the end of the
Don't be afraid to try things, anything broken can always be fixed
Test out your polyurethane finish
see how well it levels,
brush across the grain on the first coat
in a few areas, see how well, it
levels after it dries. Some finishes will level, leaving no brush lines. These
polyurethanes are big time savers, because you don't have to brush with the grain. Who
doesn't like that!
Test out the set-up time
See how fast the finish tacks up.
This will help determine your start and end point. You'll be able to avoid flashing,
brush marks, stop marks, and lap marks. Room temperature and work condition will have an
effect on set-up time. Determine whether you need to add a finish retarder to slow down
the set-up time or get extra help to do the coating. When applying polyurethane finish,
whenever possible, avoid adding a retarder or thinning your finish.
Test out your Applicators
Some applicators are D.O.A.(Dead On Arrival)
Don't rule out your applicators, when applying polyurethane finish. You can purchase the
highest quality applicator. But even the best sometimes provide bad polyurethane
applicators. If, your left with a lot of loose fiber or brush hairs in your polyurethane
floor finish. Toss them out and use new ones. You shouldn't get any loose fibers or hair
after coating a quarter of a room - 1rst coat.
Test out the Sheen
Is it the finish you want?
Semi-gloss from one manufacturer is different from another. If, your matching a sheen,
see how well your finish matches the existing one. If, you want a more exact match, tone
it, by adding a satin wood finish to dullen or add a gloss wood finish to make it
Make note of these things and make your adjustment
Things To Expect while applying polyurethane finish
Your polyurethane wood floor finish is not going to look perfect, on the first coat.
Don't lose ambition or be overwhelmed. As long as you have done everything you're suppose
to, sanding/buffing and cleaning, you'll be fine.
Here are a few things to expect when applying polyurethane floor finish.
: Expect raised grains, rough surface, loose fibers, uneven sheen,
uneven coating, flashing, brush marks, lap marks, and bubbles or trapped particles
These are common things to expect from first coat.
Simply just give your polyurethane finish a good buffing
with a new 180 grit
screen. This will remove flaws such as brush marks, lap marks, bubbles, raised grains and
any particles left on the polyurethane finish.
Uneven sheens and coatings are simply fixed by stirring the polyurethae finish more and
applying a second coat.
Brush marks and lap marks, apply a heavier coat and change the order or direction you
coated. Applying polyurethane finish with the grain of the wood, will reduce or eliminate
: You should start to see a smoother finish
, fewer bubbles,
possible brush marks and lap marks. Adjust room temperature to assist the finish to
level. Continue to brush with the grain. Brush/lap marks are commonly caused from dry
brushing or applying to thin of a coat.
Use a worn 180 or 220 grit screen to buff your polyurethane finish. This should remove
all the flaws left behind. Give this coat a good cleaning and tacking, before applying
Wood Finish Polyurethane Varnish Tips
: The smoother you buff your hardwood floors,
the smoother your finish will appear.
: I call it the "The Money Coat
", if this coat doesn't come out
good, then, your gonna start loosing money. No flaws should appear on the final coat.
Any flaws can be touched up by spot buffing and coating, otherwise buff and recoat entire
Wood Finish Polyurethane Varnish Tips
: Before applying polyurethane finish coat,
clean and tack very well. Dry tack with a microfiber mop than wet tack, if necessary.
This will help you achieve a smoother finish.
Three tries to make it right, understand
what your polyurethane finish is doing,
make the necessary adjustment
, when applying polyurethane finish, if needed.
You'll end up with professional quality results.
Oil based polyurethane wood floor finishes are a traditional, quality finish
with a very good reputation
. When your choosing a oil base polyurethanewood floor finishes
, invest in a high quality
This will save you money
, from having to refinish your wood floors to often. For
the best polyurethane wood finish use Bona - Woodline Polyurethane
If, you have a more contemporary style consider using a water based wood finish
, for a more natural
Learn how to take care
of your newly finished
polyurethane wood floor.
Too much to take in? Too much of a challenge? Need a wood flooring contractor?
Massachusetts residents contact us
for your project. Don't
wait, lock in your dates today
, before it's too late!
G and S woodfloors Lynn,Massachusetts