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Q: One visitor asked, "I sanded a 980 sq.ft. job and when i coated the floor (oil base/satin) the finish is flaking off the floor from the grain. I have had this problem one other time in the 4 years that i have been sanding floors. I know that the problem is wax in the grain of the wood, and I also know that even if I sand the whole floor again the same thing will happen in the same spots (been there done that). So my question would be, wouldn't waxing the floor solve this problem? And if so what is the process of waxing? I do not know anything about waxing a floor (how many coats etc.) because since I have become a hardwood flooring contractor waxing a floor is pretty much a thing of the past. I take great pride in my work and have a hard time leaving my name on a job with a flaking floor even though its not my fault."

A: I have sympathy for your situation. If you do this type of work long enough, a failure will occur. The finish must have taken quite some time to dry also. The wax problems I have seen are mostly confined to the edges of the boards, and when you use an oil based polyurethane, the solvents in the finish activate and soften the wax between the boards and it bleeds out on the edges. To have this so severely in the grain itself...well, how old is this floor?
If you have known beforehand, a water based finish may have been a better choice, since they lack the petroleum solvents that will re activate the wax. Mind you, if the wax is on the surface of the floor, no surface coat product will bond.
The safest way to deal with a floor like this, I think, is to sand it. Apply a couple of coats of penetrating oil. Deal with this application like you would a stain. Apply it. Wipe off any excess and let it dry. You can either use the oil as a finish itself, which has to be repeated by the homeowner periodically, or thereafter apply a light coat of wax. Thankfully, waxing is not done that much anymore. It is a nice look, but not very resistant to spills.
I would suggest checking out Dura Seal. www.duraseal.com. They manufacture both oil and water based finishes as well as penetrating resin stains and oil/wax 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 we do about problems with swirl marks in the floor finish?
>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?