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Old 09-07-2012, 10:40 AM   #1
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how long is too long for more floor poly?


How long is too long between coats of poly? I put two coats of minwax superfast drying poly on my stairs last week (4 days between coats due to humidity) and my dog has already scratched one step down to the bare wood. I'd like to touch it up and add a third coat, but it's been 7 days since the second coat was put on, is it too late?? I've been working on this project for months and was so close to the end.... thanks

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Old 09-07-2012, 11:58 AM   #2
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how long is too long for more floor poly?


It can be done anytime. A light sanding wipe it off and apply more poly.
And trim those nails.

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Old 09-07-2012, 05:55 PM   #3
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how long is too long for more floor poly?


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Originally Posted by LidoGirl View Post
How long is too long between coats of poly? I put two coats of minwax superfast drying poly on my stairs last week (4 days between coats due to humidity) and my dog has already scratched one step down to the bare wood. I'd like to touch it up and add a third coat, but it's been 7 days since the second coat was put on, is it too late?? I've been working on this project for months and was so close to the end.... thanks
At least for solvent borne polys, it's normally recommended to apply next coat(s) after X hours (whatever the can says) but before 48 hours...if you can't recoat within 48 hours, it's generally recommended to wait a couple of weeks.

Once polys begin to cure, they're pretty unforgiving about letting solvents escape - so, it's recommended that 2nd coats are applied while the film is still soft enough (between X & 48 hours) to absorb new solvents without causing "checking" - or after the film has cured hard (thus the 2 weeks) so that the solvents in the 2nd coat will then have no effect on the previously applied coating at all. If you gotta wait the 2 weeks, you really need to scuff sand before coating.

There are also re-coat "windows" for water-borne & water-reducible polys, but you'll need to check the tech data sheet for those specific re-coat times.

You'll also notice that the film will become harder and more resistant to scratching as the film ages (maybe as long as 30 - 45 days depending on what type of poly you're using). Good luck.

Last edited by ric knows paint; 09-07-2012 at 06:04 PM.
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Old 09-07-2012, 06:32 PM   #4
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how long is too long for more floor poly?


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It can be done anytime. A light sanding wipe it off and apply more poly.
And trim those nails.
Joe, I wish you could temper your enthusiasm for answering so quickly and so often incorrectly.

You are correct about trimming the nails though. I don't know how the OP is going to get multiple coats to cure if Fido is not wearing bunny slippers or something. If the dog is taking out the finish in four days, good luck. I am sure he/she is part of the family and is not about to be left either upstairs or downstairs either.

Last edited by user1007; 09-07-2012 at 06:35 PM.
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:05 PM   #5
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how long is too long for more floor poly?


Well I did keep fido downstairs for about 5 days but last night he came up with us and ended up running down steps in middle of night and of course gouged the steps. I'm a bit concerned as to how this whole thing is going to hold up, but for now I just want to try and fix it as best I can.

So if I read your response correctly, I'd be better off waiting another week for a third coat? It is an oil based poly.

Thanks guys
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:09 PM   #6
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how long is too long for more floor poly?


Once you get some poly cured on the steps, perhaps some nice, elegant tread pads are in your future? Or a good old fashioned antique stair runner rug?
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:58 PM   #7
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how long is too long for more floor poly?


So should I just rough up the surface a bit with say 220 grit sanding block?
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:39 PM   #8
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how long is too long for more floor poly?


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So should I just rough up the surface a bit with say 220 grit sanding block?
Very lightly perhaps but as ric mentioned there is now a curing process going on under the "skin" of what is on there and involving it too. Had you put additional coats on as per the timeframe on the label they would have, or should have, become part of that curing process also. Your subsequent coats may still sneak in, partially, to the curing process. The greatest risk in not waiting for what you have to cure is that you create another distinct layer that will itself begin curing independently but without bonding to the surface below it. It will also serve to block air from the existing curing layer. You could end up with a soft layer beneath and a layer on top that will peel and chip off easily. Put another way, a mess that defeats all the work you have put into this so far.

In short, you are at a point where it is time to flip a coin. I personally would let what you have cure first as Ric suggests. You have been patient with this project but I know you want it done. Racing materials seldom works out well or expecting physics or chemistry to work differently is usually disappointing from my experience.

Your choice though. I do worry whether the materials you are using are correct in the first place though given that your beast tore up the finish in such a short period. Granted it was wet and uncured. If you want a transparent finish, I am wondering if you don't have to think about a clear gloss or matte epoxy or something? Two part epoxy is pricey but would cure faster and one hopes harder. Some sort of silicon basketball court finish maybe? I often look to the marine finishes for ideas.

How big is the beast by the way? I have visions of some loyal chocolate lab you just cannot say "no" to for any reason? I am pleased you do not seem upset with the loveable animal for tearing up your finish.

Last edited by user1007; 09-07-2012 at 08:46 PM.
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:29 PM   #9
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how long is too long for more floor poly?


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How big is the beast by the way? I have visions of some loyal chocolate lab you just cannot say "no" to for any reason? I am pleased you do not seem upset with the loveable animal for tearing up your finish.

How on earth did you know he was a chocolate lab?? And its not that I can't say no to him, but I figured one trip up at night and down in the morning (while calm) wouldn't be too hard on the floor after 5 days.
I was wrong.

anyway, I think what you said "You could end up with a soft layer beneath and a layer on top that will peel and chip off easily." is what happened already. I put the two coats on 4 or 5 days apart. And not sure if this matters but the first coat was semi gloss and I hated how shiny it was so I went out and got the same poly in a satin finish and put that on as the second coat. I did scuff up the surface with a sanding block between coats.... am I totally screwed???

please tell me more about this epoxy, does it come in satin finish and can I use it over what I've done already? thanks...
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:38 PM   #10
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how long is too long for more floor poly?


Minwax® Company
10 Mountainview Road
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
Phone: 800-523-9299

I was just repeating what Min Wax told me.
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:42 PM   #11
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how long is too long for more floor poly?


Guessed at the breed of dog but when you mentioned the nails carving up the stairs I could not think of breed more able to wag tail and high tail it up and down stairs than a lab. I have had many close to me in my life but never one of my own. My neighbor's dog Baron spent summers with me in Manhattan and the owner promised he would get me girls. Like I need one again at my age, I figure a chocolate lab would increase the applicant pool? My friends' dog Una, a black lab, tackles me on the stairs when I visit them in New Mexico. They are a magical breed I think. And I used to take our landscape supply yard lab and my cat sailing. Loved it! Cat of course climbed to the top of the spruce mast and hung out in a nice basket I made him. Lab had a preserver and just hung out with tongue hanging out of his mouth. Somehow knew how to stay out of the way.

Anyhow, I have backed myself into a corner with you. I do not honestly know if you can safely put a two part epoxy over a urethane without stripping all off. I will check some spec sheets. There are two part marine urethanes though and they should work fine. Although both will cure somewhat faster, you are going to have to let the dog stay off them for a time. I haven't restored a sailboat in years so do not know what finishes are current.

At this point I think you have to let the chemistry do its thing and see what you have at the end of the day, or 30 as the case may be. Others may chime in with other possibilities. I hope so.

Last edited by user1007; 09-07-2012 at 09:51 PM.
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Old 09-07-2012, 10:23 PM   #12
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how long is too long for more floor poly?


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How on earth did you know he was a chocolate lab?? And its not that I can't say no to him, but I figured one trip up at night and down in the morning (while calm) wouldn't be too hard on the floor after 5 days.
I was wrong.

anyway, I think what you said "You could end up with a soft layer beneath and a layer on top that will peel and chip off easily." is what happened already. I put the two coats on 4 or 5 days apart. And not sure if this matters but the first coat was semi gloss and I hated how shiny it was so I went out and got the same poly in a satin finish and put that on as the second coat. I did scuff up the surface with a sanding block between coats.... am I totally screwed???

please tell me more about this epoxy, does it come in satin finish and can I use it over what I've done already? thanks...
A couple of things (and I know you're probably starting to get overwhelmed with all the advice you're getting here...sorry), (1) Minwax makes a pretty decent solvent borne poly - although I can't say I'm familiar with the "super fast dry" version. Is it a water-reducible? Regardless, the finish should be fine for your project ... except for the dog's claws. Dog's claws can scratch even the hardest, or most resilient finishes, including 2 component epoxies. But trust me when I say this finish will get harder, and more scratch resistant in time.

(2) SDSester just mentioned a compatibility concern between what you've got and an epoxy finish. A solvent borne epoxy absolutely would not be compatible with an existing poly, but a waterborne would. That's not to say that there still may not be an issue of a harder finish over a softer finish, but there'd be no compositional incompatibility between the two. BUT, I'm not 100% sure it'll provide the protection from dog's claws much better than what you've already got (and I'm basing that on 100's of gallons sold to veterinary clinics and dog runs over the years that haven't exactly been free from a scratched finish within a very short time after exposing to dog's nails)...and besides, a few years from now, when it becomes necessary to "dress up" the coating to hide any scratches and general wear and tear, it's a whole lot more difficult to do so with an epoxy than a conventional product.

(3) This concern is one of, basically, a matter of choice and consequences. Polyurethane resins are high gloss. Any alteration to that gloss (satin, semi-gloss, etc.) weakens the film. That's not to say satin finishes aren't used on floors, they are. You must be aware that they will scuff and mar easier and are more prone to scratching than a gloss finish. The reason for this is the very soft, malleable, pliant, absorbent, spongy pigments used to absorb the poly resin to produce lower gloss levels. Typically, the can or product data sheet should mention that lower sheen polys are finish coats only - and that in a 2, 3 or 4 coat application it's best to apply gloss first (and second, and third, if necessary) then apply the lower sheened product only as a final app. That said, I've been away from varnish production for awhile and am not completely up to date on any new(er) technologies that may make that discipline moot.

Wow..those are a lotta words to say "I'd just stay with what you've got and let the curing dynamic do it's thing". Polys will get harder and harder over time - and, ultimately become the protective finish you expected. in the meantime, put some throw rugs where Spot likes to run and prance and pivot, and that may lessen the immediate concerns.

In my world, and in the words of that famous author and noted dog lover, Dean Koontz - "...Yours is a good dog, and nothing more - but a good dog is one of the best of all things to be..."
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Old 09-09-2012, 07:36 AM   #13
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how long is too long for more floor poly?


wow you guys sure are detailed! I need to put this project to rest soon, its been a complete nightmare from the start- 11 months ago. I think what I'm going to do is just wait until next weekend(which will be 2 weeks and 3 days from second coat application) and lighty sand once more and put a third coat of satin poly on. I will keep the dog off for as long as I can. They aren't perfect to begin with, they are pine and had tons of dings and dents that I wasn't able to completly sand out. I suppose if worse comes to worse I will find a nice contemporary stair runner and install that, even though the whole reason for this project was to remove the stair runner from before. I also ordered some nail caps that go over the dogs nails and supposedly save your floors, I have low expectations from them but maybe they will surprise me.

I stripped the handrails yesterday and will be sanding and staining soon. I bought some wipe on poly for them, hoping this parts going to be easy, but nothing has been so far so wish me luck!

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