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Old 06-12-2013, 11:21 PM   #1
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Polyuerthane tables are sticky


Hi all..

Not specifically a "painting" question - but - I manage a restaurant. The tables, floor, bar, etc are all a beautiful wood, most of it scavenged years ago from a bowling alley and a basketball court. We've discovered over the years the tables are becoming "sticky"....not a good problem to have! People continually ask us to wipe down the tables, thinking they are dirty when they aren't. This usually happens most in the summer with high humidity and heat. We currently 409 the tables nightly, but have tried various products with no success. Any suggestions on what can take the stickiness away?

Thanks and sorry if I've posted where I shouldn't have!

carrie

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Old 06-13-2013, 01:07 AM   #2
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Polyuerthane tables are sticky


Do you happen to know if they have a waterbased polycrylic finish or a solvent based poly on them? Is it poly or some sort of epoxy restaurant and bar finish?

You may be getting a cumulative reaction from the cleaning solvents used over the years working their way into tiny fissures. Polycrylics might tend to soften with moisture but would normally harden back out. However, you have to clean regularly and there may not be time to dry out.

Have you mentioned the problem to your cleaning supplies vendor? The problem you describe is not unique and they may have a product that will resolve the problem for you. Maybe 409 type cleaners are leaving a film that is reacting with the humidity to feel sticky.

Plastics and poly finishes can feel sticky when it is humid by nature. And if, over the years, the cleaners have not been completely rinsed they themselves can leave a residue that turns sticky.


Last edited by user1007; 06-13-2013 at 01:12 AM.
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Old 06-13-2013, 01:15 AM   #3
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Polyuerthane tables are sticky


Sorry, I don't know. The poly cover on the tables is at least 15 years old, and I assume way older.

we clean the tables at night, about 8 or 9pm...but by lunch the next day? sticky....

I'm really guessing the finish on them is from wherever the wood came from - basketball court or bowling alley. either way, the last 2-3 years we've really suffered with the sticky table syndrome
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Old 06-13-2013, 01:35 AM   #4
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Polyuerthane tables are sticky


Is there a chance there is a wax coating on them? That may have to be stripped off as it could cause the stickiness.
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Old 06-13-2013, 01:56 AM   #5
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Polyuerthane tables are sticky


I wouldn't think so? Last year a customer told us to wet sand the tables....so we did, using steel wool and water..it helped for awhile, but ....we seem to be right back at the beginning
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Old 06-13-2013, 05:33 AM   #6
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Polyuerthane tables are sticky


Try this on one table----

Take it out side--scrub the top with mineral spirits and 0000 steel wool--

when dry, Add several coats of Minwax Wipe on Poly,---see how that works.

The original finish is shot---to old and to many years of cleaning----so adding a new finish is needed. The big unknown is the bonding ability to the deteriorated old finish.
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Old 06-13-2013, 05:42 AM   #7
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Polyuerthane tables are sticky


I read this quote about 409 on a website, "Not recommended for use on soft vinyl, varnishes or aluminum." I think it contains an alcohol that may be softening the finish. You might talk to your cleaning supply vendor for an alternative or experiment with a solution of mild degreaser and bleach.

I know exactly what you're talking about and it skeeves me when my arms stick to restaurant tables, even though I was raised to not put my arms on tables.
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Old 06-13-2013, 08:10 AM   #8
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Polyuerthane tables are sticky


mike...the biggest problem with that is only about half the tables are moveable...the others are bolted to the floor. We were trying to avoid the smells or closing down the place for any amount of time if possible....does the wipe on poly dry fairly quickly?
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Old 06-13-2013, 08:13 AM   #9
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Polyuerthane tables are sticky


jsheridan....well, time to quit using the 409....thanks for that info! i'll do some further research on cleaners.....=)
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Old 06-13-2013, 09:46 AM   #10
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Polyuerthane tables are sticky


Seriously, 409 is hell on quite a few surface materials. I pretty much stopped using it years ago.

At some point you have to decide which is worse, down time to deal with the fixed table tops, or lost customers due to being skeeved out by the gunky surfaces. I'd guess more than a few people notice it and might be choosing to not come back.

That and while the legs or brackets that hold the tops in place might be fixed, the tops themselves could probably be removed by unscrewing them from the bottom. That's how they were probably installed. Close one or two booths while the tops are being repaired. Better to lose just one or two spots per night than lots of customers over time.
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Old 06-15-2013, 07:28 PM   #11
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Polyuerthane tables are sticky


Quote:
Originally Posted by intcon View Post
mike...the biggest problem with that is only about half the tables are moveable...the others are bolted to the floor. We were trying to avoid the smells or closing down the place for any amount of time if possible....does the wipe on poly dry fairly quickly?

Wipe on ploly dries very quickly---you might consider making a couple of temporary tops out of plywood---

remove the bad ones--add your temps---and do the finishing off site---

use a table cloth if your temporary tops aren't pretty.

15 years is a long life without refinishing---so the cost of temporary tops is well worth it---

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