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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This may be the single stupidest thread you have read but I figured that if anyone has an idea of how to rescue this mess, it might be one of you. Needless to say, it is not the end of the world and all that is needed is a good sander but I would rather not.
I am an artist, not a wood worker.
That being said this is what has happened:
My home is an old craftsman and the floors are warped beat up hardwood. I noted that the spatters of paint on them did not come up easily and read about floor painting on the internet. I cleaned the floors and painted designs on them in latex acrylic paints. I then went to my hardware store and explained what I had done and asked what the best clear coat would be to complete the job. I was told to use minwax spar urethane. This, the nice man explained, would be very hard as he had experience using it all over everything in a cabin he owned. So I did just that...came home and gave everything a nice shiny clear coat and went to bed. Now I have used urethane as a clear coat on furniture and it hardens up quite nicely. Not the case on these floors. When I got up I noted that the floors had developed some staining and the finish seemed soft. I looked up urethane on the internet and was surprised to find that it is not appropriate for floors. I called my hardware store and asked why I was advised to use a product that is not appropriate and also asked what to put on top of this to give me a nice hard clear coat. The hardware store owner said he needed to call Minwax and would get back to me. When he did not get back to me, I called them myself and was informed that there was NOTHING that could be done for my problem. Nothing. The man basically said that urethane is a soft substance and will be gouged by a heel or chair leg easily. So I called the hardware store back and asked the owner what I was supposed to do. He seemed very nervous but finally told me, after talking to the minwax rep himself, that I was to lightly sand the surface and then apply a polyurethane coating. This I have done. To be quite honest with you... it is just as soft as the urethane coating and my fingernail can easily pull it and the latex paint beneath it up. I realize now that I probably did not prepare the wood floors sufficiently prior to starting this task. Assuming that it would work based on the spatter I could not remove was not super bright I admit.
So now I have beautifully painted floors but the surface easily comes up with a scrape of a light weight chair.
I am of course hoping that one of you might possibly come up with some amazingly hard product that will create a wonderful hard surface to protect my painting. Nowhere else on the internet does such information exist to be quite honest.
I know that you will probably tell me that what is needed is a good sander and a lot of elbow grease. Remove the stuff and ...add what?
If any of you have any suggestions after you have laughed at my foibles, I would be most grateful.
Thanks in advance!
Karen:eek:
 

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You are correct that the minwax spar was the wrong product. It not only is too soft for a floor finish but it will yellow as it ages. It also is a slow drying finish and I believe if you are patient will completely dry. Sometimes if the weather is cool and or damp the finish can take days to harden. I think if you can live with the fact that the finish will yellow and you only have one coat on you could let it dry and scuff sand it and coat over it with an oil based floor finish. It won't be as good as if you had the right product to begin with but it would save you from starting over. If you do choose to start over I would finish the floors with a water based floor finish. It would remain clear and be compatible with the latex paint.

A spar varnish is made a little softer and more elastic than a regular varnish for the purpose of using on exterior wood like the front door of a house or wooden patio furniture. The finish is made elastic to withstand the weather extremes of being in the direct sun and rain. Therefore it should be used for that application only. For interior use there are many other products that would be better suited for woodwork and furniture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you!

I dont mind the yellowing. The abstract design kind of hides it. I've sanded and then added the oil base clear coat. Probably I just need to be patient and allow it to cure. I have decided to carefully pad the feet of all of the furniture and will put an indoor outdoor carpet under the table and chairs to protect the floor.

Thank you so much for your reply. Maybe I wont have to have it all removed.
 

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In your case it sounds like you may have had a case of solvent entrapment in which the first coat didn't dry completely (sometimes it takes longer than it "should") and the second coat traps the solvents of the first coat under it. These types of products set in two ways: 1) drying, 2) cure. "Dry" should generally refer to the point in which all the solvent - water or mineral spirits, depending on the product - has evaporated out of the product. "Cured" generally refers to when the chemical hardening process is mostly completed.

Minwax does make a polyurethane specifically for floors. It's called "Polyurethane for Floors" and says "FLOORS" on it in big bold letters. Usually found on the bottom rack at your local hardware store. There are a few formulations of this product, namely in water and oil forms. Apart from the VOC content (volatile organic compounds, the stuff that is toxic and stinky) the color of the finish is usually the biggest factor people consider. Oil giving an amber hue and water being generally clear.

There are all kinds of floor coating products and you're going to find mixed reviews about all of them. Stories about how a product lasted 5 years with no sign of wear for one person and someone else claims they put on 10 coats and it scratches when you drop a toothpick on it. Personally, I think most complaints about finishes not working as intended is most likely due to improper application, and usually either failure to sand between coats when required or recoating too soon.

If you google search "floor finishes" you will find countless companies selling a wide variety of products.

If you still don't feel comfortable, go to (or call) your local Sherwin-Williams and ask to speak to one of their sales reps about floor finishing products. Don't ask one of the people in the store, even the manager is unlikely to know much about floor products.
 
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