Beginner having trouble with poly on hardwood floor - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 10-15-2017, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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Beginner having trouble with poly on hardwood floor

Hi all,

Recently I had my hardwood floors done by a floor guy. He did a light buff and fresh coat of poly, and I noticed after the poly dried there was some puddling in a spot in the hall way along with some dry areas where the wood absorbed more of the poly than the rest of the floor. I decided to try and fix these issues myself. Unfortunately because I am new at this I feel I made things worse than they were and I am hoping to get some advice here.

My initial plan was simple enough. I planned on just brushing over the dry spots with a coat of poly. For the area that had puddling, I took 100-grit sand paper and lightly sanded down the puddles, then re-coat. Unfortunately this is easier said than done, and I am having some issues.

My first coat I used a foam brush and my technique was terrible. Rather than having smooth continuous strokes, I treated it like a paint brush and did back and forth motions. Now I have horrible brush strokes dried into the coat of poly that is terribly noticeable. To fix this, I tried doing a second coat of poly thinking it would cover it up, but it did not cover it at all, just created a layer of poly on top of it. Although my technique was much better for the second coat, I noticed a lot of bubbling in the poly this time. I am not sure if this is because I used a foam brush, or if my technique is still off. I did gently stir the poly before use, so not sure what happened here. I would really like to have these bubbles out because they do not look nice at all.

Also as for the original puddle marks, I tried sanding them down until it felt level, but after doing the two coats of poly you can still see an outline of the edge of the puddle in the floor. I am not sure if I should just re-sand it down even more until it is absolutely invisible to the eye, and then re-coat?

And last, when you look at the floor, it is very noticeable where my brush strokes have ended due to a distinct line indicating where the brush was lifted from the floor (despite me trying to use a finishing technique in lifting the brush gradually at the end of my stroke). Similar lines are visible where I taped off the floor to keep me within the borders of the space I was trying to fix on the floor.

A simple job has turned into a bit of an annoyance and I am hoping some of you on here can provide me some guidance so I do not have to keep wasting my time making mistakes. I am thinking about having the entire area in my hallway completely sanded and redone, because these are adding up to too many individual imperfections to treat individually. I'm new to this, so any advice is valued and appreciated. Thank you!

Last edited by nodeal; 10-15-2017 at 01:07 PM.
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post #2 of 9 Old 10-16-2017, 08:07 AM
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I'm not sure I can really help without seeing it. One of the problems is the 100 grit paper. That is way too coarse for between the coats sanding. You need something in the 180 to 220 grit range for sanding a finish. Then for applying the finish you would probably have better luck using a applicator made for applying a floor finish. It would put the finish on thinner and more uniform.
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post #3 of 9 Old 10-16-2017, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by nodeal View Post
Hi all,

Recently I had my hardwood floors done by a floor guy. He did a light buff and fresh coat of poly, and I noticed after the poly dried there was some puddling in a spot in the hall way along with some dry areas where the wood absorbed more of the poly than the rest of the floor. I decided to try and fix these issues myself. Unfortunately because I am new at this I feel I made things worse than they were and I am hoping to get some advice here.

My initial plan was simple enough. I planned on just brushing over the dry spots with a coat of poly. For the area that had puddling, I took 100-grit sand paper and lightly sanded down the puddles, then re-coat. Unfortunately this is easier said than done, and I am having some issues.

My first coat I used a foam brush and my technique was terrible. Rather than having smooth continuous strokes, I treated it like a paint brush and did back and forth motions. Now I have horrible brush strokes dried into the coat of poly that is terribly noticeable. To fix this, I tried doing a second coat of poly thinking it would cover it up, but it did not cover it at all, just created a layer of poly on top of it. Although my technique was much better for the second coat, I noticed a lot of bubbling in the poly this time. I am not sure if this is because I used a foam brush, or if my technique is still off. I did gently stir the poly before use, so not sure what happened here. I would really like to have these bubbles out because they do not look nice at all.

Also as for the original puddle marks, I tried sanding them down until it felt level, but after doing the two coats of poly you can still see an outline of the edge of the puddle in the floor. I am not sure if I should just re-sand it down even more until it is absolutely invisible to the eye, and then re-coat?

And last, when you look at the floor, it is very noticeable where my brush strokes have ended due to a distinct line indicating where the brush was lifted from the floor (despite me trying to use a finishing technique in lifting the brush gradually at the end of my stroke). Similar lines are visible where I taped off the floor to keep me within the borders of the space I was trying to fix on the floor.

A simple job has turned into a bit of an annoyance and I am hoping some of you on here can provide me some guidance so I do not have to keep wasting my time making mistakes. I am thinking about having the entire area in my hallway completely sanded and redone, because these are adding up to too many individual imperfections to treat individually. I'm new to this, so any advice is valued and appreciated. Thank you!

You are learning why many wood workers hate poly, it's very unforgiving and takes practice to get good at.


1# Let it dry, any repair will come out better if you let the bad coat dry completely. 48hrs at least.


Post a picture of the effected area, so I can help you fix it. A close up, and a wide shot showing the spot and the larger area around it.
This is so I can tell you where to stop and start your repair.

"Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it"


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post #4 of 9 Old 10-16-2017, 01:37 PM
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Have you contacted the guy that did the job? As a contractor I want to know if there is ever a problem with a job I did. Callbacks are a pain, but they happen and a quality contractor should not have a problem with at least checking out the issue.
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post #5 of 9 Old 10-18-2017, 01:35 AM Thread Starter
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Hy guys, thank you so much for your interest in my post! Looking forward to everyone's input

I am attaching some pictures. I tried to get wider shots but it was hard to see the imperfections from farther away. If you need different angles let me know. The first shot is of the brush strokes, the second shot is of the lines from where my brush strokes ended, and the third shot is of the puddling i tried to fix (but did not work out).

My floor is basically littered with these various imperfections throughout the hallway. Somebody mentioned getting a floor applicator for the poly - I will certainly look into it! I am no expert, but something tells me the foam brushes are not what I want to be using for this job. I will also being using finer sandpaper for any remaining work.

As for the contractor, he is willing to come back but my schedule is hectic and is not coinciding with his, so I figured I would give it a shot myself rather than wait a few weeks for him to come. He is still willing to come and fix the area, but unfortunately now I have made it worse myself than how it was when he left lol.
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post #6 of 9 Old 10-18-2017, 08:21 AM
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That is the problem with an amateur trying to fix a professional's work. The problem is often made worse.

I would stop where you are before making it even worse yet. I would apologize to the man you hired so that he is still willing to do the repair. Then make time for him to do the repair.

George
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post #7 of 9 Old 10-18-2017, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by GeorgeC View Post
That is the problem with an amateur trying to fix a professional's work. The problem is often made worse.

I would stop where you are before making it even worse yet. I would apologize to the man you hired so that he is still willing to do the repair. Then make time for him to do the repair.

George

I agree, let the man stand bye his work. If you continue, he would be well within his rights to expect more money to fix what you have done.

"Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it"


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post #8 of 9 Old 10-19-2017, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
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Hello all,

I will most likely have the repair guy come back to fix the floors if that is what needs to be done. I am not worried about him charging me more as I just want the floors done right. He's a reasonable guy, so he won't hit me too hard financially to fix it (if at all).

I am curious though to try to take another shot at it myself! Call me stubborn but hey it is my floor and my wallet, right?

I would REALLY love to hear what some of you experienced wood guys would do to fix this floor. I think the knowledge is invaluable and it has been nagging at me for quite some time! And hopefully anyone who has made the same mistakes will come across this thread and learn a thing or two as well!

Thank you!
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post #9 of 9 Old 10-19-2017, 09:33 PM
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You can probably fix it. The most important thing is not to sand through the finish. Get yourself a hard rubber sanding block and sand the spot first with 100 grit paper trying to only sand the high points of the puddle. Then put a coat of finish on the area and let dry. Then come back and sand the high places again and coat again until the high places are hardly noticeable. Then switch to 180 grit paper and sand it and give it another coat. By this time the spot should be level or pretty close to it. Then change to 220 grit paper and sand it and give it another coat. If you don't sand through the finish you should be able to sand and coat until the spot is perfectly smooth. It's kind of like working out a run in the finish with the exception the floor finish is a great deal harder than most finishes.
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