salt truck

Is Winter a-SALT-ing Your Floors?

When it snows, it salts. While salt trucks go about their business keeping the roads a little bit safer for all of us, it’s our floors that wind up in danger. As people come and go in a facility they stomp, shake and dump snow, slush and salt on floors everywhere. This can wreak havoc on both carpet and hard surface floors.

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Don’t Experience a Fall-ing Out with Your Hardwood Floors

It’s that time of the year again when the warm summer days come to a screeching halt and the leaves begin to change. Autumn brings many challenges for hardwood floors which are often only remembered during the heat and humidity of the summer months. As cooler, outside air is heated for indoor use, the relative humidity level drops substantially. This in turn, affects several things related to hardwood floors; mainly finish application, maintenance and wood shrinkage.

Lower humidity will shorten the working time of applying finish, so application procedures will need to be adjusted. Streamline your techniques in order to apply finish in less time. If you restrict ventilation while applying a finish, you will create more working time. Also consider adding some water to waterbased finishes to increase working time. Remember to ventilate well after the finish is applied!

squeakyWith cooler climates and drier air, dust migration also increases. Excessive dust makes floors slippery and can increase wear. Inclement weather increases tracked-in dirt, salt, sand, and grit so cleaning schedules should be increased to compensate. Frequent dust mopping and cleaning with Squeaky Cleaner is an excellent method to remove dust, dirt, and other build-ups. We recommend using a matting system by doors to avoid slip and fall accidents from dirt and contaminants that are brought in from the outside.

When moisture levels drop, wood shrinkage is an entirely natural process that opens up cracks between boards in wood floors. Unfortunately, opening cracks are almost always noticeable and objectionable, in newly installed or freshly resanded floors.

Shrinkage can be aggravated by inadequate building materials and sub-floors, insufficient nailing or gluing, lack of acclimation of flooring before installation, or improper sealing and finishing systems.

The cooler months can be a hard time for your hardwood floors, but a few simple steps can dramatically decrease the risk of damage. Look to Basic Coatings for more tips and recommendations to maintain your hardwood floors!

Beautiful Wood Floor

Become a Master of Waterbased Floor Finish

If you are in the hardwood floor industry, you might know that Basic Coatings is a believer in waterbased finishes. But, what are the perks of using waterbased finishes and how do you use them? If you are a contractor, it is good to know that a waterbased finish is a smart option when refinishing hardwood floors.

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Streetshoe Graph

Basic is Better: StreetShoe Waterbased Wood Floor Finish

One of the most common errors when applying a new floor finish relates to a problem we’ve all shared at one point in time—a lack of patience. Any professional in the industry should want every newly coated floor to look like a dream floor the first time around. In the best interest of the contractor and the homeowner, proper application of floor finish means avoiding re-sanding or refinishing which saves everyone time and money.

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Light Fight UV Sunlight

Protect Hardwood Floors From Ultraviolet Sunlight

Ultraviolet Rays and Wood Floors

We’ve all heard horror stories about how the sun’s ultraviolet rays can damage our skin. What you may not know is that UV light can also wreak havoc on hardwood floors and their coatings.

Hardwood floors are coated for one reason above all others—protection. Coatings help protect wood floors from a number of elements. Moisture and abrasion are perhaps the most common concerns for hardwood floor owners, but even the sunlight through windows can damage a floor. Ultraviolet light produced by the sun’s rays can significantly age wood, much as it does human skin. With prolonged exposure, the more harmful UV light can be. Most coatings help protect wood from this kind of damage, however, UV light can also cause some very obvious and unwanted changes to the coatings themselves.

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Millennials- An Untapped Floor Care Market (2)

Flooring Professionals Still in High Demand for Millennials

According to the fourth annual Houzz & Home survey, millennial homeowners were just as likely to renovate their homes as any other age group. The survey received more than 170,000 respondents in the U.S., with 15,000 being millennials (ages 25-34). The most common motivator for millennials to take on renovation projects among this age group is personalizing a newly purchased home (55%), while one-third purchased a new home just last year.

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Basic-Sports-basketball

Peeling Floors Sending Your Court Into Overtime?

As the season is winding down, now is the perfect time to evaluate your floor for refinishing. You can ask yourself… Is your floor peeling? Can you pull a thin layer of finish off like wallpaper? If a floor is not finished properly, you may run into problems down the road, including a peeling floor. Not only is this unsightly, but it can leave your wood floors susceptible to wood damage! Can you identify these signs of improper floor finishing on your court? Continue reading

Bubbly floor

Too Much Bubbly …

Too much bubbly can leave you with a headache.  Bubbles are imperfections from foam in dry finish and can easily be confused with particles, bumps or dirt.  If you are not sure what you are dealing with, you can use a magnifying glass and a razor blade to distinguish between the two. Unlike particles or dirt, bubbles are hollow. If you are able to poke a hole with the razor blade, you are dealing with a bubble. If there is no hollow base to the imperfection, then you are dealing with another issue that is most likely related to dirt or particles that dried in the finish.

See how to prevent floor bubbles and how to repair your floor finish. Continue reading

5 Simple Ways to Prevent Ridging

ridgingRidging is a term used to describe an increase in coating thickness that appears as lines or marks in the finish that usually travel with the grain of the wood or can become a problem when applying finish across the grain. This type of surface effect is caused by a thicker line of finish being applied along the edges of the applicator such as a T-bar, roller or paint pad not leveling or flowing out upon drying. This surface defect is made worse by fast setting environmental conditions during coating, i.e. high temperatures and/or low humidity. If it dries too fast, the normal ability of the finish to flow out is impaired. Other possibilities for ridging can be caused from an improperly mixed matte finish leaving gloss differences (streaks) that may look like ridges, applying a finish on a hot floor or an improper sanding sequence.

If you are experiencing ridging or streaks on your floor, you have come to the right place. Here are five simple prevention techniques that can save you from a streaky floor.

1) Make sure all applicator pads are clean and soft all over. Even a couple of hard hairs can leave distinct lines in the finish.

2) When the sun is shining through a window onto the floor, cover the window or coat the floor when the sun is not shining on the floor.

3) When using a T-bar applicator, do not lap over more than 2 inches under fast setting conditions.

4) Close up the job to apply finish and open up the job to dry after the finish has flowed correctly, 30 to 45 minutes after coating is a good rule of thumb.

5) Be careful of your applicator technique. Never leave lines across grain where possible. Apply heavy enough that the finish stays wet long enough to flow out on the floor during hot, dryer conditions.

If you are still experiencing floor ridging after practicing the above prevention techniques, we recommend you contact a Basic Coatings® representative to further assess your needs.

Micah PetersenMicah Petersen, Senior Product Manager for Basic Coatings, spent the first 15 years of his career as a Research and Development Chemist before becoming Product Manager. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family and a multitude of outdoor activities. For further questions regarding hardwood floor care and Basic Coatings, please email Micah at Micahblog@basiccoatings.com.

The Two Oaks and Tannin Pull

Solid wood flooring is one of the most recognizable and unique flooring surfaces available on the market today. There is an abundance of options from the species of wood and  it’s color or warmth to the more technical aspects such as wood hardness or ability to accept stain. These and many other factors should be  considered before choosing your type of wood.  One of the most common of these wood choices in the United States is Oak.

There are two main species of oak that are prevalent in the solid wood flooring market; Red Oak and White Oak. It is vitally important to fully comprehend their intrinsic differences and how to distinguish between the two as they react differently when used with water-based coatings.  Typically there is a noticeable color difference between the two, one being “white” or “more blonde” and the other being “red”, but this is not always the case.

Distinguishing between Red and White Oak can be so difficult that now companies manufacture testing kits. However, if you understand a few parameters, telling the difference is a piece of cake. To make sure you have the correct wood prior to purchase, follow the below instructions:

  • Picture1Remove a piece of flooring from the pallet.
  • Turn the board so the end of board is easily visible.
  • Visible holes or “bullets” in the cut end of the board indicate Red Oak.
  • “Fills” or “no bullets” indicate White Oak.
  • Cross-bred flooring typically is a mix of “bullets” and “fills” and should be treated as if it is White Oak.

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wood sealed floor swirls large

Oh, Those Pesky Swirl Marks

Remember the recent job you completed by full sanding and applying that absolutely gorgeous dark walnut stain? How heartbreaking it was when you went back to apply the finish and noticed all those sander and swirl marks. What must have gone through your mind knowing that all the hard work you put in must now be sanded away and completed again to correct the sanding issues? Talk about throwing away profits! Continue reading

wood sealer floor

The Benefits of Wood Sealers

Often times I will hear wood floor contractors and other industry professionals disparage the use of a sealer during sand and finish jobs as being unnecessary. Explaining that it is a waste of both time and money when one can simply use the chosen top coat for all coats. While this may be true for a three coat omu chop job, a quality finish job will benefit from the use of a wood floor sealer in both appearance and final physical properties. 

pealed hardwood

Wood floor sealers, particularly in water based coatings, main job is to provide an excellent bonding coat to the substrate while providing a suitable bonding site for the topcoat being used. Sealers provide proper adhesion in several different ways chemically, such as with acrylics or urethanes designed for their superior adhesive properties or crosslinking agents providing a boost to adhesion. Stains, paints and various types of wood can provide adhesion challenges that most topcoats are ill equipped to handle. Unfortunately, adhesion issues may not manifest themselves right away but only surface when the floor begins to undergo seasonal expansion and contractions. Proper use of a sealer can prevent unhappy customer complaints about peelings months after the job has been completed.

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Become a Basic Coatings “Guest Blogger” !

Are you interested in becoming a Basic Coatings “Guest Blogger” ?

Simply submit a success story or some tips and techniques that you use that you think could benefit other readers and we will post to all of our loyal followers. Submit any topic related to wood floor finishing to our Contact Us form and we will post articles on Facebook and Twitter. If you have any pictures that you would like to include, please feel free to send them as well. One lucky winner will get their blog in the next issue of Basic Coatings Waterworks!

 

A Common Misconception

Applying as many heavy coats of finish
as possible is best…

This is a common misconception. Multiple thick coats do not dry properly and will scratch easier. The total number of recommended coats of sealer and finish is normally three to four on a newly sanded floor. This includes most often one or two sealer coats and one or two finish coats. All coatings should be evenly applied to their recommended coverage rates. This will ensure proper drying, best appearance and wear resistance.

Excessive top coatings tend to give the floor a look as if it were plastic or artificial. In the case of solvent-based finishes, which yellow over time, the appearance of the wood grain becomes obliterated. It will also get “murky” if you apply too many coats and do not allow the proper solidscuring time for each layer. Too many coats can make it difficult to determine a wood species when numerous coatings have been applied over the years giving a look of a painted surface.

The type of hardwood floor you have and use can determine the amount of finish coats you apply. Make sure you speak with an expert or your hardwood floor contractor if you have questions.

Micah PetersenMicah Petersen, Product Manager for Basic Coatings, spent the first 15 years of his career as a Research and Development Chemist before becoming Product Manager. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family and a multitude of outdoor activities. For further questions regarding hardwood floor care and Basic Coatings, please email Micah at Micahblog@basiccoatings.com.

Death, Taxes and Winter Time Cracks

cracked floorsThree things you can depend on are, Death, Taxes and Cracks between the boards on your solid wood floors. Solid wood floors expand and contract with change in moisture content. In the winter with heat being turned up for warmth, the moisture level in the house will decrease.  Humidifiers do not always keep up the moisture content in the hardwood flooring. The wood flooring boards will shrink away from each other causing cracks in the finish. The flooring will then expand tight when the moisture returns to the wood flooring.

If you are considering having your wood floors sanded and refinished with a low VOC OMU, it is recommended to wait until the wood flooring is tightly expanded. OMU’s with low VOC have high viscosities and do not dry completely when applied. Finish will fill into the cracks between each board and will not dry completely.  When the flooring expands tightly together again, it will force the undried finish up and cause poly balls.  These are an eyesore to your beautiful hardwood floors.  Therefore, waiting to redo the floors with a low VOC OMU should be considered.

Micah PetersenMicah Petersen, Product Manager for Basic Coatings, spent the first 15 years of his career as a Research and Development Chemist before becoming Product Manager. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family and a multitude of outdoor activities. For further questions regarding hardwood floor care and Basic Coatings, please email Micah at Micahblog@basiccoatings.com.

Finishes and Cures- Continued

worn finishLast week, we discussed three common causes and cures for hardwood floors. Those three were just a few of many of the common issues that can arise with hardwood floors and hardwood floor finishes. If you are frustrated with your floors due to appearance issues, not to worry, most of these issues have an easy solution. Here are two more common issues that you might be experiencing.

Early Finish Wear-

Cause: It seems like it was just yesterday when you applied that new finish to your hardwood floors and you are already seeing wear and tear. There are several variables that can be the cause to an early deterioration. Poor maintenance is the leading cause to a diminishing floor finish. Some of these procedures might include, using too strong of a floor cleaner, using water to clean and/or failure to fully remove grits from the floor’s surface. Also, the use of acrylic floor polish products that build up and start to show early wear patterns and dirt embedment.Other common reasons include, damage from pet nails, an inadequate amount of floor finish on the initial finishing process, applying multiple layers of finish and not allowing the previous layers to completely cure and improper sanding techniques.

Cure: If your floors are deteriorating due to improper maintenance issues, most of these problems can be avoided by taking better care of your floors. Simple steps such as, regular dust mopping, appropriate floor cleaners and chemicals, removing poorly wearing floor polish products, and using floor mats and protectants can help to avoid a premature finish wear. Add an additional coat of finish to the floor if an inadequate amount was applied in the beginning. Beware of pet nails length or get booties for the pet.  If your issues are occurring due to a poor floor sanding, your best option is to re-sand the floors using proper sanding procedures.

Iridescent /Blushing Finish-

Cause: Floor finishes are not meant to have a metallic or hazy appearance to them.  This can occur because of inadequate ventilation during the drying process. Inadequate ventilation will cause a solvent saturation in the air above the drying finish. This solvent will settle on the surfaces of the floors and the result will be a metallic or blushing appearance.

Cure: To help avoid this phenomenon always be sure to have adequate ventilation
after the finish is dry to the touch so dust will not settle in the finish. To cure this, the best solution would be to screen and recoat the problem areas using proper ventilation.

Stay tuned for more causes and cures to hardwood floors and hardwood floor finishes!

Micah PetersenMicah Petersen, Product Manager for Basic Coatings, spent the first 15 years of his career as a Research and Development Chemist before becoming Product Manager. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family and a multitude of outdoor activities. For further questions regarding hardwood floor care and Basic Coatings, please email Micah at Micahblog@basiccoatings.com.

Keep an Eye Out – More Causes and Cures to Hardwood Floor Issues

cloudy hazeThere are several issues that can arise due to simple mistakes when it comes to applying finish on a hardwood floor. Hardwood floors should add value to a home and a sloppy finish can decrease that value! Let’s take a look at three common issues.

#1 – Bleed Back

Cause – Bleed back is a phenomenon when staining wood floors. Stain that has penetrated into the open grain of the wood or in a fine crack, wicks back to the surface forming a wet dot at the end of the grain or a wet line along a crack as the floor dries. Sometimes this is not seen until the sealer or first finish coat is applied. The bleed back squeezes up through the first coat leaving a smearing mess on the surface.

Cure- Applying the stain even and thinner is a good start to staining wood floors. Buffing on the stain is one way to achieve an even and thin stain job. Not all stains can be buffed on. Check the label instructions or contact the manufacturer to find out if the stain can be buffed. Darker more intense stain look can be achieved by water popping the grain of the wood before staining. Be sure the moisture is gone before staining. Air movement and ventilation is important in getting stain to cure before top coating with a sealer or finish. Never double stain wood floors. Always check with the manufacturer for dry time and proper drying conditions.

#2- Alligatoring-

Cause-  Alligatoring is an effect when a floor finish pulls away from itself creating ridges in the finish. This effect will cause your finish to resemble an alligator’s skin. There are several causes for this issue, including, contaminants in the finish, cold temperatures during application, applying a heavier finish coat than what is recommended or applying another top coat before the bottom coat is dry.

Cure- To fix this, you will need to screen  or scrape off the finish until a dry finish is reached. If the finish is not completely dry, you run the risk of repeating this problem.

#3- A Cloudy or Hazy Finish

Cause- A cloudy or milky finish occurs when you apply a finish over a stain that is not dry yet. When a finish is applied over a stain that is not dry the trapped solvent from the stain turns the finish to a cloudy or hazy appearance.

Cure- To relieve this issue, you will need to sand the floor to bare wood and start over. Make sure to increase your dry time before coating over the stain. Be sure to have plenty of air movement and proper temperature conditions. Allowing extra time for the stain to dry will help in having the proper coating job. Never rush dry times.

Micah PetersenMicah Petersen, Product Manager for Basic Coatings, spent the first 15 years of his career as a Research and Development Chemist before becoming Product Manager. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family and a multitude of outdoor activities. For further questions regarding hardwood floor care and Basic Coatings, please email Micah at Micahblog@basiccoatings.com.

A Sight for Sore Eyes

hardwood-floor-water-damageThe snow is slowly melting and the temperatures are rising. You know what that means, water…everywhere and a risk for potential flooding! The warmer temperatures might be nice for you, but your hardwood floors are another story. Unfortunately, real hardwood floors are not waterproof and run the risk of absorbing moisture and high amounts of moisture and water can potentially cause catastrophic damage to wood. Sometimes, you may not even know that your floors are harboring moisture and the damage goes unseen. Here are a few signs to look for…

  • Minor Damage – Evidence of minor damage to a wood floor is a hazy or white  stain on the surface. Treat this minor surface damage by thoroughly cleaning or applying another coat of finish.
  • Severe Damage – When wood flooring is faced with severe damage, the mess needs to be handled quickly to prevent permanent damage. If your floors  have severe damage, you will most likely see puddles of standing water,  squishy boards, and damp walls around the edges of your baseboards. Drying out the area is the first goal and if this can’t be accomplished quickly,      homeowners should reach out to a trusted professional immediately. Air movement is essential to restoring your floor.
  • Mold Growth –If your floors have mold, it will most likely look like black stains on your floors. Mold is not only damaging to your floors, but it is harmful to a homeowner’s health and it needs to be treated immediately. Treatment  of mold growth often includes removing the wax finish and treating the floor with oxalic acid crystals and hot water to kill the mold. After the mold has been treated, the area must be stained and sealed. A homeowner  should have a contractor or a professional to assess the clean up to make sure all the mold has been removed.
  • Subfloor Damage – A subfloor is the structural floor beneath the finish of a hardwood floor. Many times, subfloors are plywood, but consist of pine in older homes. Damage to subfloors can be seen as common issues such as, popping or cracking boards. If you do not know how to fix these issues, you can contact a Basic Coating’s professional today.

Micah PetersenMicah Petersen, Product Manager for Basic Coatings, spent the first 15 years of his career as a Research and Development Chemist before becoming Product Manager. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family and a multitude of outdoor activities. For further questions regarding hardwood floor care and Basic Coatings, please email Micah at Micahblog@basiccoatings.com.