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Janetp 04-01-2012 06:46 PM

help!! Lap marks in newly poly'd floor
I did this floor about 15 years ago, and it came out as well as can be expected for an old, slightly abused floor. It was looking tired, and since I have done dozens of pieces of furniture with great results since then, I figured that since we are now empty nesters, it would be the prefect time to go at them again.
I sanded down to bare, used a couple of different stains in order to make the wood look more uniform, and filled in some of my wider gaps with a combination of the fine sawdust that was in my bag from doing the edges and corners. I took equal parts of water and wood glue and mixed with sawdust and fillled in the gaps before staining. It stained well, and actually looks better than I expected to be honest. My problem began with the application of poly.
I have been very successful with Minwax products, and these are the products I used.
I purchased the oil based poly for floors, and put my first coat on as directed. Keep in mind that my wood is slightly uneven and there are gaps that were not closed up to allow for expansion/contraction. I've done wood projects before, and even if you condition the wood, some is going to soak up more stain and/or poly than other spots. Per the instructions,I applied the second coat, and woke up the next morning to numerous lap marks.Since there is no way to get out of these 2 connecting room by attempting to do one continous area down the middle where you see the most floor, there is no way to do this without lapping. One room is 12x18, with a 6ft doorway going into the next room that is 13x14, then into the hall.
I contacted Minwax, and they instructed me to sand with 220 grit, wipe down with mineral spirits, and redo. I did. Still....lap marks.
Anyway, I called the help line again , and they are helpful. That is why I love this product. I found out that in the state I live (IL) that in order to be VOC complaint, they have to take OUT mineral spirits in order to do so, making it "thicker" I guess you can say. THere's nothing wrong with the product, it's the lack of Minerals. So, I add as suggested,( old stuff was 550, new stuff is 350 VOC) mineral spirits to the oil based poly, and wake to find the same problem. Also, the first 3 times, I used the recommended applicator for oil based polys. THe 4th time, I used a very expensive brush, and did it by hand. Still lap marks, and some dull spots as well where I overlapped onto poly that was possibly beginning to dry. Due to the sizes of the rooms, I have no choice at some point, and that point where I overlap is always, it seems, in the middle of the floor where it sticks out like a sore thumb!
So, I do a 5th time, with a lambswool applicator, and it's better than any other method, but I still have marks, and they are all in visible areas.
Any ideas???
I thought about seeing if I could buff them out and shine them back up, but right now the fear of messing it up more envelopes me!!
Can I buff them or am I going to be making this worse? Hubby is laid off, so calling a pro is out.
If anyone can suggest anything they have tried in the past with favorable results, I would appreciate.
I've done so many pieces of furniture, and I have never, ever had a problem like this in the past.
I'm afraid to poly again without some additional instruction. Any suggestions will be helpful

jojoroberts 04-02-2012 05:24 AM

Are you or did you use a roller? If not use a foam roller- no nap. Is there a slight high spot on that area? Is the light reflections making it look worse?

Janetp 04-02-2012 02:56 PM

I did not use a foam roller....I used a foam brush periodically to clean up edges. I used the synthetic applicator recommended the first 3 times, a high end brush made for poly the 3rd ( yes, I did it all by hand, as I'm very steady and anal) and the 5th time I used Lambs wool applicator. THe sides where the furniture will go looks's the middle part of the floor that is streaky, and OH! YEAH!! THe light flooding in all my windows REALLY makes it looks hideous!!

You are the only one that replied, so that is making me wonder if I am not going to get lucky with a good answer. What I'm thinking is this...every time I've done this, the side parts look great, and that's a good amount of floor that I could avoid doing over. What I am considering doing is taping off the boards from one end to another that are poorly done, hitting it with 220 grit sand paper , clean and prep with mineral spirits. Once that is done, I will go over those sections only and carefully remove the tape as my guide as soon as I'm done with that section. I can do the section next to it tonight once it dries. I don't want to do too big of a section at a time, as that will only create my curent situation all over again.It's an old floor and has it's flaws, but I like that. The small gaps in between will allow me to tape and keep within the area I want to concentrate on. My biggest concern, of course, is adhesion. Will it stick properly to the many layers and hold up? I converted an old cabinet into a bathroom sink and coated it with like 10 layers of poly, but that area pales in comparison to a huge floor. THe poly never lifted on the sink, so I'm thinking a section at a time could work.
I've been working with this poly for a week now, so I guess another day or 2 won't kill me. I'll let you know how it works. Thanks again for the rely.

jojoroberts 04-02-2012 04:44 PM

Good luck! I personally will take furniture and wood floors with character over perfection but that's my style. We have alot of antiques, I love the ones with character. I purposefully refinish with leaving some character.

Janetp 04-02-2012 05:57 PM

I also love the character of the old wood. I love the character these floors have as oppossed to a new floor. It's the imperfections of the extremely visible lap marks that make me cringe. THey stick out like a sore thumb, which takes away from the beauty of the entire floor itself. You eye is just DRAWN to the poly marks and in the light!!! Yikes!!! Even friends who are not nearly as anal as I thought it drew your eye dircetly to them.
My only worry is the adhesion to the poly that was put on days ago. We did our sanding, and right now he's vaccuming and then I'll put the minerals and once dry, the poly.
Fingers and toes are crossed, so it's gonna be fun working like that!!
Wish me luck....I'll need it!!:thumbup:

RhodesHardwood 04-03-2012 12:56 AM

I would buff the floor really good with a 220 grit sanding screen and a white buffer pad. you can rent a square buffer from the home depot, these are easier to operate than the swing type for a diy'er. Then I suggest applying the poly with a 12 or 18" t-Bar applicator. You can google dura tool to find these. You basically pour a small line of the poly on the floor along the wall yu plan to start on. Then use the applicator to sort of squigee the poly back and forth. After each run down the room wring out the applicator and go back over that run. Any other area you need to go over 2 times also wring out prior to going back over it.

Janetp 04-04-2012 12:37 AM

I found out that, due to voc regulations, mineral spirits have been cut from polys by about 25-30%, which was one of my problems. I sanded with 220 grit, and redid the floors, adding 30% mineral spirits back into the poly. Becuae it's about a 34 ft length between the rooms, my problem with the lap marks was resolved when I did the floor in sections so I was able to go from one end to another in one clean swoop and still be able to get out of the room. It looks great, and I wish i had known from the get-go about adding the minerals. I tried buffing, and it didn't help, as the lap marks were thick. Once I thinned it down with the spirits, it was mach better. It looks great and I am happy!! Thanks to all for the suggestions!:thumbup:

paulnpa 01-20-2013 10:14 AM

Lap Mark and Bubbles on Poly
if its not too late for you, the key is in the application. buff the floor out with maroon pad (use an orbital not a buffer) to smooth lap marks. Use a contractor quailty (raw poly no helpers for fast dry or low VOc etc) and thin it a little with paint thinner, about one cup to a gallon. Then apply with a pad (not lambswool) for oil paint/stain. This is the key....lay it down in small sections with the grain (plan this carefully), once down, leave a wet edge and NEVER GO BACK. That means you cannot go retouch an area you missed, so you need to make sure you cover that area completely before you move on. Lay it down, using as few strokes as possible. I like to use the applicator loaded (not pouring the poly on the floor), apply for coverage then one last pass to blend with last area and level as much as possible. MORE THAN TWO OR THREE STROKES of the same poly will cause laps, bubbling and problems. When applying more than one coat, the areas that are not perfect will be fixed with the next coat, even missing a small spot on the final will be forgiven due to the underlayers, however over working or trying to fix something even so little as three minutes later is risky, just don't do it and get it with the next coat.

Finally, this is just my personal opinion - DO NOT USE MINWAY DO NOT USE MINWAX DO NOT USE MINWAX... it has caused me a lot of problems and it is the reason i know so much about the above. Seems every how-to page and problem is associated with a minwax applicaiton.

My first coat with MINWAX was terrible, switching brands for the second coat and applying a third coat worked for me.:thumbup:

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