Back to Face Lift Floors
Find answers at Wood Flooring Guy.com

Q: One visitor asked, "We just had our maple floors refinished on the first floor of our house. All the old finish was sanded off and three coats of oil based satin poly were applied. There were problems with pieces of stuff and hair in the poly, spots that were missed so the buffed finish showed, and some drips and puddling. The refinisher decided to buff again and apply a fourth coat. It was better, but still had some of the same problems. The refinisher decided to buff again and apply a fifth coat himself instead of having one of his employees do it. Now we still find missed spots, and the last coat was thin enough that the swirls from buffing can be seen through the varnish. One area where there was puddling was not buffed smooth and still shows. We've been off the floor for two weeks and it includes our kitchen. Our patience is running out but we're not sure whether to keep trying or whether to try a "spot" repair with the risk of lap marks showing up in the poly. Do you have any recommendations?"

A: Once in a while, swirl marks happen. I would suggest he buff it again, perhaps with a fine 220 grit screen. Make sure the pad between the screen and polisher plate is not worn out so that there is little or no cushion between the abrasive and hard plate (if that is what he is using. Perhaps after screening the floor, he should vacuum up the dust and buff again with a maroon pad to help remove any swirl scratches. The floor should be thoroughly vacuumed, including baseboards and any other place where there may be dust that can infiltrate the finish. Then the floor should be tacked. I have recently started using a micro weave pad on an extendable pole that does a pretty good job of picking up any very fine dust that remains. He should make sure his applicator is clean and free of debris he has likely picked up from previous coats. He should strain his finish or use a new batch for the next coat. Prevent any air from moving over the finish while it tacks up. O don't know what else to suggest. Sometimes a tiny fiber can fall off the applicator, or you might get the odd tiny fleck here and there. But a contaminated finish, as this seems to be is the result of not cleaning the work area adequately or using dirty finish or both. Swirls have been a long standing problem but don't usually show with a satin finish. The maroon buffing pad was created in the last few years for water based finishes, and to eliminate swirls on fresh oil modified finishes.


Related questions about refinishing and staining wood floors:
Sanding/Refinishing
>Gloss, Satin, or Semi-Gloss?
>How long will it take me to sand my floors?
>How long would it take you to refinish, stain, and polyurethane...?
>Should I sand my own floors?
>How do I buff spots a pole sander can't reach?
>Is it possible to refinish engineered floors?
>Can I sand with nails in place? Can I recoat with a low gloss oil-based urethane?
>Do I have to sand the whole floor, then stain, then polyurethane?
>I was wondering if waxing the floor would be a good option to varnishing?
>Can a soft wood be sanded like a hardwood?
>Is it possible to have too many coats of urethane?
Costs
>Cost to resand 1400 sq. ft.?
>What do people charge for sanding and finishing natural (3 coats- No Sealers)?
>How much will it cost to refinish my hardwood floors?
>There is a living room, dining room, staircase and upstairs hallway, together with 4 small bedrooms which we would like to have done. Is this going to cost thousands of dollars or can it be done quite reasonably?
Filler
>If I fill some gaps *******, and the wood expands some during the summer, will that squeeze some of it out?
>Should finish be applied over filled nail holes?
> Is there a filler for filling the gaps between the planks? Should I punch the nails through and rescrew the planks to the joists before sanding? Do I apply the filler before I sand? What sealer should I use?
Finish Problems (e.g. Air Bubbles)
>What causes air bubbles?
>Did not buffing between coats cause this?
>We had the flooring company come back a second time tofill in some gaps and buff and put another coat on. We now have veryvisible air bubbles in our urethane finish (they were not present the first time). What is the best way to remove the air bubbles?
>I have two rooms. One is 9x12 the other 11x20. They are already stained with a royal mahogony minwax stain. It has a high gloss finish and the finish is now scratched and starting to peel. What do you suggest we do, strip and sand right down? What would the cost be approximately? How long would it take?
>At a doorway my urethane finish has lots of debris in it. How do I fix this?
>A contractor just finished installing/finishing my hardwood floors and left multiple lap marks (covering the entire width of the floor). What should be done about them?
>When there are air bubbles in the polyurethane finish, can you spot sand some of them by hand and then touch up that spot with another coat of polyurethane?
>There are some worn areas on our floor that need refinishing. Is it possible to redo only the worn areas andhave them blend into the older finished areas without redoing the entire floor?
>After many professional sanding and recoats, why is our floor is still rough?
>What do I do now that my finish is peeling off because there is wax in the grain?
>Why did the polyurethane peel right off?
>There always seems to be a film on the floor and they show all the dirt. Can I remove the 'shiny' top coat and redo with something more 'matte'?
>We have sanded off all the old stain, used the 120 grit to give a smoother finish, used a polyurethane but it still looks dull. I was reading on sanding tips and it says that after we sand the stain off, put the new stain on, then add the polyurethane, to sand it again lightly with a 120 grit and then add another coat of polyurethane for a smoother finish. Is that correct?
>We have put on 2 coats of water based polyurethane on our floors. The floor feels rough. How do you get that hard smooth finish?
>We have done the second coat of polyurethane but the floor is still rough and not shiny! What do we do now?
>The polyurethane coat on our hardwood flooring is peeling and flaking. I was able to scrape off most of the coat in one room. Should I apply wax or polyurethane?
>I just applied stain and poly. Why are my floors sticky?

Staining
>Why is my stain not drying faster?
>We stained our floors. Why are some areas lighter than the rest?
>Can a dark stain be stripped and stained to match lighter floors?
>Do I choose a wood putty to match the colour stain I use? Can I use a minwax-type gel stain that I have used on furniture, or do I need a special floor stain?
>Is there anything that I can do now to repair that blotchy appearance on the pine plank floors I just stained and refinished?
>What colour hardwood works best for a small room?
>How do I get the stain on my banister to look even and not blotchy?
>I stained the floor and allowed it to dry then put the polyurethane on it, which made the floor white, and in some spots the stain came off. why?