How To Apply Polyurethane To Wood Floors

Sanding/buffing In Between Coats

Re-finished your Hardwood Floors. Learn to apply Polyurethane 2/2

In-between coat abrasion: Abrade your wood flooring using one of the following methods:

  • a combination of white buffing pad, and new 180 or 220 grit screen
  • A combination of white buffing pad, maroon pad with 220 grit sanding strip
  • Sand dollars, 180 or 220 grit
  • Multi-disc driver with 220 grit sandpaper

Buff, vacuum and tack the floor, then apply the next coat of polyurethane finish. Repeat this process until you’ve applied 2 to 3 coats of polyurethane wood floor finish. Do not buff the final polyurethane finish coat.

Polyurethane wood floor finish tip:When you abrade your floors, make sure you buff out any dust, particles and bubbles, before cleaning and tacking. Otherwise, it will show through on your next coat. The finish should feel smooth and flat, no bumps.

Allow the final polyurethane finish coat to dry for 24 hours for light foot traffic. And 48-72 hours before moving any heavy furnitures in place. The polyurethane finish will take up to 30 days to fully cure or harden. Be cautious not to damage the floor, when using it during this period. Wait 30 days for your oil base polyurethane wood floor finish to acclimate to sunlight. Before laying any area rugs, to prevent unwanted tan lines.

For additional information on how to care for your newly finished floors, visit our hardwood floor care page.

Final Thought On How To Apply Polyurethane For Floors

Polyurethane coating is an extremely useful liquid to improve the durability of your surface. A perfectly wooden floor also makes a home a comfortable place to live in. Make sure you follow the steps mentioned above correctly because using incorrect steps can waste time and money.

Follow this guide on applying polyurethane on hardwood floors to complete your flooring project in the right manner. It is always better to use all available resources before starting with any home improvement activity.

How To Apply Polyurethane On Hardwood Floors

Polyurethane helps in protecting wooden items and surfaces against moisture damage and scratches. This transparent waterproof sealer also adds a glossy or satin finish to a wood flooring as its natural beauty and grain show through. This experts guide explains how to apply polyurethane to wood floors the correct way.

Polyurethane is a liquid plastic made by mixing resins with a solvent. It is usually applied as a final on wood items like furniture and surfaces mostly floorings. Polyurethane finish comes in either water-based or oil-based formulas.

Water-based polyurethane is safe to work with, dries faster, cleans easily with water but wears down faster. Oil-based polyurethane on the other hand is more durable but takes longer to dry, has pungent smell when applied and may turn yellow with age.

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Simple Steps To Applying Polyurethane To Your Hardwood Floo

Its critical to follow a few simple steps before applying polyurethane to hardwood flooring to ensure a long-lasting finish. The product must be applied first, followed by three coats to allow the floor to dry between coats. To achieve the best results, apply two coats of paint to the floor at the same time, then lightly sand them between coats. Finally, make sure to use an application that is specifically designed for floor finishes, as other types of sprayers may leave lint residue behind, which can cause problems down the road.

What To Consider When Buying Polyurethane For Floors

How To Apply Polyurethane To Wood Floors

You can use polyurethanes to protect your flooring from damage as a coating. Using three layers of a polyurethane finish is what is required to provide longevity of protection to the floor. How long your coating will last is directly linked to the brand and the type of coating you have chosen to use for your floors.

What brand you select to use is impacted by the type of wood that has been used on your floor, your overall budget, and the color choice you are looking to achieve.

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How Many Coats Of Water

Today, one coat of sealer and 2-3 coats of a high-end water-based finish will give the floor long-lasting protection in less time. In as few as three days, the finish will be fully cured, offering maximum strength against spills, scuffs, scratches and other forms of wear. In the past, contractors needed to apply up to five coats of water-based polyurethane.

How Many Coats Of Polyurethane Do You Need For Both Water

The water-based Polyurethane coats are thinner than the oil-based ones, and given that they have previously been known for being less durable, how many coats should you actually be using? Since each coat adds a protective layer and you have parts of the house that have more traffic than others, these will also need more layers of coating than others. Your kitchen, family room and entryway take especially strong beatings.

In order to get a smoother surface, if youre using a water-based solution, you need to add no less than 3 layers. 2 layers can simply make the floors still feel rough to walk on.

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How To Get Bubbles Out Of Dried Polyurethane

If you have bubbles that have dried into the surface of the polyurethane, you have two options. One uses 00 or 000 steel wool, and the other uses 400 grit sandpaper to abrade the surface.

The purpose is to flatten and remove the bubbles without removing all of the polyurethane coating. The sanding is more aggressive than the steel wool, so proceed with caution. Once the bubbles are removed, you have two options. If the effect of the bubbles was minimal, you may get away with buffing and polishing the surface to get the required finish. However, if the effect is severe youll need to apply a further layer of polyurethane to level off the surface.

Am I Able To Apply Polyurethane Using A Roller

How to Apply Polyurethane FAST & EASY! | Sealing Hard Wood Floors | DIY Review

While the applicator of choice is a paintbrush, you can also use a roller to apply the poly-coating. Using a roller means that you will not be leaving behind any form of brush marks. If you have selected to use a roller, you will need to dampen your roller using some mineral spirits before you begin using it.

Using a roller makes it a lot easier to achieve a uniform and smooth stroke, but they work best when used for a larger surface, while a roller can be cumbersome when tackling a small job. A roller is also not the best option should you be working on a non-flat surface. When recoating floors, a roller is a great way to save time during application.

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How Long To Wait Between Coats

Drying time is dependent on your local temperature and humidity. However, water-based polyurethanes normally dry after two to three hours, allowing the application of multiple coats in one day.

Oil-based products take longer to dry, usually between 12 to 24 hours. Its important to understand that oil-based polyurethane dries in two steps. First, the thinners will evaporate, which happens quickly. The polyurethane is now a thick and tacky coating. The second stage is the hardening off from exposure to oxygen. This second stage is a long process, depending on the coating thickness.

With polyurethane, particularly if its oil-based, patience is the key. If you try to scuff sand when the coating is not fully dry, you will end up with a poor finish.

Best Way To Apply Polyurethane Floor Finish

The best way to apply polyurethane floor finish. If, you’re 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 low sheen more than any other sheen.

Whether it’s the new 350 VOC, the old 450 VOC or a Moisture cure wood floor finish. These problems occur commonly throughout this particular sheen.

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Let The Final Finishing Coat Dry

Many manufacturers say that you can use your hardwood floors again 24 hours from the final poly coat.

But to be safe, let the final coat dry for at least 48 to 72 hours before walking on your floors again and replacing heavy furniture. The finish should look good and smooth without bumps.

Pro Tip: Preheat your room temperature to 72 degrees, then reduce to 65 degrees 15 minutes before the final coating. Preheating your home would ensure that the finished wood floors would level out at the same time.

How To Apply Polyurethane To Wood

How to Apply Oil Based Polyurethane to Wood Floors Smoothly
  • Surface preparation is key to successfully applying polyurethane. Be sure to sand the surface to get the desired smoothness. Ssanding also feathers and flattens any previous finish.
  • Wash the surface with soapy water to remove any traces of waxes or oils. Allow it to dry, then vacuum and use painters tack cloths to remove any trace of dust.
  • Stir your polyurethane gently with a stirring stick to distribute the solids evenly. Do not shake or agitate the container.
  • For the first coat, thin the polyurethane using a 50/50 ratio of the correct thinner. Do not mix water with oil-based polyurethane or oil-based thinner with water-based poly.
  • Dip the brush into the thinned product. Use a synthetic brush for water-based products and natural bristles for oil-based. Do not wipe the brush on the side or lip of the tin.
  • Using light strokes, apply the polyurethane in the direction of the grain. Use just the tip of the brush.
  • Allow the coat to dry fully. Then lightly scuff the surface using 220-grit sandpaper, removing all dust with the vacuum and tack cloths.
  • Apply two more coats following the same process but thinned to a ratio of three parts polyurethane to one part thinner. Lightly sand the second coat to ensure adhesion for the topcoat, but do not sand the topcoat. Be sure to allow each coat to dry thoroughly.
  • Related: How Many Coats of Polyurethane to Apply?

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    Clean Your Hardwood Floors

    Clean your wood floor first. Wipe the flooring down with a rag so that there is no dust or dirt on it. If you apply polyurethane over dirty floors, the film will not spread evenly and leave streaks.

    You dont have to sand bare wood floors. If your floor has an old finish from a previous coat, you may have to use a sander, so make sure you have different kinds of sandpaper.

    How Many Coats Of Polyurethane For Hardwood Floors

    The best practice is to apply three coats of polyurethane, allowing the floor to dry, and lightly sanding it between coats. Some finishers offer lower estimates for two coats, but your floor wont have the same level of protection, and scratches will go through to the wood more easily. In short, you will save yourself a bit of work or a little money by opting to apply two coats. However, you will sooner be faced with the expensive task or refinishing your hardwood flooring.

    And thats it! Well thats the practical theory anywaystaining wood floors is challenging and best left to the experienced DIYer or a flooring professional. Here are some helpful resources to help you decide

    And before you go take a look at our guide to popular hardwood floor stain colors

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    Penetrating Oils And Sealers

    These primarily solvent-borne finishes, including old-fashioned sealants like linseed oil, soak deeply into the wood pores. Many of these floors are then waxed.

    These finishes are typically not compatible with a topcoat of polyurethane and have to be treated with the original finish or stripped completely.

    Ways To Make Spot Repairs And Remove Stains

    How to apply polyurethane on hardwood floors

    For a Water Stain on a Waxed Floor

    Rub the wax lightly with No. 1 steel wool, being careful not to rub through the wax. Then reapply the wax with a solvent-based wax. If the stain remains, remove all the wax on and around the stain with floor-wax remover and clean with No. 1 steel wool and mineral spirits. After the floor dries, apply more wax and buff to a high sheen.

    For a Shallow Burn Mark on a Polyurethane Floor

    Scrape it up with an extremely sharp chisel or scraper. Then apply a dollop of oil-based polyurethane. A burn mark that has gone through the finish must wait for a full-floor drum sanding, and it must be sanded out by hand.

    For a Burn on a Waxed floor

    Try No. 1 steel wool moistened with soap and water. Let the floor dry thoroughly and rewax. Any burn that has gone through to the wood needs to be sanded out by hand when the floor gets drum sanded.

    For Heel Marks and Deep Scuffs on a Polyurethane floor

    See if the scratch has penetrated the finish by wetting it with your finger. If the wood darkens along the scratch, it has penetrated completely and you must apply more polyurethane. You can sand and spot-apply polyurethane, though you risk an obvious patch. The alternative is to screen and recoat the entire floor. To get rid of heel marks and scuffs on a waxed floor, polish the mark with 000 steel wool and hardwood-floor cleaner. Wipe the floor dry and rewax.

    Water Stains on a Polyurethane floor

    Water Stains on a Waxed Floor

    Pet Stains on Hardwood Floor

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    What’s The Best Way To Prevent These Problems

    While we may understand what the problem may be. We must know what is the cause? The main cause of our problem is created from brushing back and forth. This causes our finish to thin out, and tack over too soon. Resulting in brush marks, lap marks and flashing.

    We cannot brush over dried, semi-dried or tacky polyurethane without risking a chance of resulting to one of these common problems. It is possible to get a smooth, flawless finish with our standard lambs wool applicators, but there is an easier way.

    How To Apply Polyurethane Without Bubbles

    You can take several steps to avoid leaving bubbles in your finish.

    • Be careful not to shake the polyurethane can when transporting or mixing it. Instead, stir gently before use to properly distribute the solids.
    • Use the correct brush for the type of polyurethane. Synthetic brushes are used for water-based and natural bristle brushes for oil-based polyurethane.
    • Soak the brush before use in the correct thinner for the product. Then gently squeeze out the excess with a cloth. This soaking excludes entrapped air in the bristles and allows the polyurethane to flow off the brush better.
    • Try to apply the polyurethane in a warm environment. The warmer the temperature, the less viscous the polyurethane and the less likely it will entrap air.
    • Thin the polyurethane at a ratio of 50/50 for the first coat and 75/25 for the second. The thinner polyurethane is less likely to entrap air, and it flows off the brush smoothly.
    • Dip the brush in polyurethane, but avoid scraping the brush against the edge or side of the tin to remove excess. Allow the excess to drip directly back into the tin before using the brush to apply the polyurethane to your work surface.
    • Use the first inch of the brush only and apply the polyurethane with light flowing movements, following the timbers grain. Try to make only one pass to cover the wood, as going back and forth over the same area will introduce air.

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    What Is Varathane Polyurethane And What Are Its Benefits

    Varathane polyurethane is a type of finish that is used on wood floors. It is a durable finish that will protect your floors from scratches and scuffs. Varathane polyurethane is also easy to apply and it dries quickly.

    There are two major types of varathane polyurethane, water-based and oil-based. Water-based varathane polyurethane is the most popular type of finish. It is easy to apply and it dries quickly. Oil-based varathane polyurethane is more durable than water-based varathane polyurethane.

    Polyurethane has many benefits.

    • It is a durable finish that will protect your floors from scratches and scuffs.
    • Polyurethane is also easy to apply and it dries quickly.
    • Polyurethane will also give your floors a beautiful shine.

    Choose An Ideal Company

    How To Apply Polyurethane To Stain Hardwood Floors

    You have done all the research and now have the knowledge. Don’t choose the wrong flooring company.

    Why work with average, when you can work with an ideal hardwood flooring company? Avoid opting for sub-par products, poor workmanship, the lack of industry knowledge and training for the sake of something new. With G & S Floors, you will experience optimum personal service, with superlative, effective premium quality workmanship in the industry and high quality products. Homes are one of the biggest and most important investments and should be cared by an ideal company.

    We’ve been in business over 19 years. We are a NWFA flooring contractor and follow industry standards and best practice for hardwood flooring installation, sand and finishing. We have access to training and ongoing professional development. We have a well trained staff and we never stop learning. We have a powerful network of talented professionals, distributors, manufactures and experts.

    Invest in “Quality” for better service and hardwood flooring that can last a lifetime or centuries!

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    Before Your Start Sanding Floors

    Use the same preparations for screening, though you might want to create a double airlock to keep the dust confined it really flies with a drum sander.

    You may also want to think twice about doing this work yourself, particularly if it’s a large open area where any unevenness in the floor will be evident in the finish.

    A drum sander can dig into the floor very quickly and leave unsightly gouges when operated by an inexperienced person. A professional will charge $1.50 to $3 per square foot, including finish application and cleanup. If you are going to do the work yourself, watch a how-to video before you start.

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