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Old 07-08-2013, 01:19 PM   #1
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poly on engineered hardwood floor


I am writing this because I was unable to find a definitive answer to this question when I was searching - just a lot of speculation. I think I now have an answer, and thought I would share. I will post this to a few other sites, as well, because I want people who have questions, to get answers.

I have had problems with wrinkling, especially at the end joints, when water is spilled (sometimes for very short periods of time) onto my newly installed engineered hardwood floor. For this reason, I conducted a test on remaining scrap boards that I had. I used Mercier 1/2" thick engineered Oak, with plywood and HDF substrates. I clicked them together to form a (roughly) 4' x 2' sample floor and place them upon a piece of remaining underlayment. I covered one have of the sample with Minwax semi-gloss poly and let dry for one day. The other half I left with the factory finish.

I will say that my personal impression was that the poly side was more attractive in sheen than the factory side. It looked more natural, like 3/4" hardwood (though, it clearly still looked like engineered). I guess, to be vague, I thought it applied evenly and gave the wood more "character," and less of a plastic look. I had no issue with adherence (I cannot guarantee that this will be the case for another brand of EH, but just test a piece and wait a few days).

I used this sample to perform a water spill test. I dumped several cups of water on the surface of both sides of the sample. I kept reapplying water, evenly, over the surface to account of seepage and runoff. I did this for about 10 minutes and then just let it sit for another 10. Within 10 minutes, noticeable wrinkling was occuring at every end joint on the factory finish side. Nothing from the polyurethane side. Within 15 minutes, The wrinkling on the factory side was significant, and now there was some wrinkling on the side seams, and even in the middle of individual boards. Wrinkles extended out from one end seam, around 3". The average was around 1" from the end. At the end of the test, there was zero wrinkling or any noticeable water damage to the polyurethane side.

To me, it was conclusive evidence that a coat of polyurethane can significantly reduce or eliminate wrinkling and damage caused by minor spills. I think that it is clear that the manufacturers can do a much better job at addressing this problem of water seepage. They market their floors as "just as durable" as 3/4" and "Long-lasting." However, one pipe burst, or dishwasher leak when you are at work or sleeping, and your floor will be destroyed, I guarantee it.

I plan to do a scratch test and a long-term (2-3 day) standing water test later in the week and will post my results.


Last edited by CraigdPGH; 07-08-2013 at 01:22 PM.
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Old 07-08-2013, 01:23 PM   #2
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poly on engineered hardwood floor


by the way... I have photos and will share, soon.

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Old 07-08-2013, 06:47 PM   #3
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poly on engineered hardwood floor


[QUOTE=Constant Improvement;224294]My new to me house has 3/8” engineered hardwood throughout. From a ways back it looks a little dirty and scratched in the sun… then once you get close there are a number of spots that are really ugly looking and have hair and dirt and crap stuck in the finish.

Turns out the guy that moved out lived next door, and told us that he coated the floor with polyurethane to brighten it up. He said he has done this on a number of solid hardwood floors in the past, and it worked great… just this time it doesn’t seem to be working out. It seems like he applied the poly without cleaning up the dog hair and dirt very well.

Does anybody know a way to strip this stuff off the original finish and work from there? Seems like a floor guy told me that most pre-finished floors are silver oxide finished or something like that… and that poly wouldn’t help them? Is there a product that will strip the poly off and leave the original finish?

Also, the high traffic spots are just really dirty looking… I don’t know if it is because of the poly he put down, or what… I tried scrubbing it with a Bona hardwood system, but it didn’t help much.


I would appreciate any advice anyone might have.

If you can determine how thick the wear layer is,you may be able to have it refinished, if the wear layer is 2mm it can be refinished twice,if it's 1mm it can't be refinished at all, but it would certainly be worth while to find out.

All engineered flooring has a factory applied finish of aluminum oxide and polyurathane,the aluminum oxide is the hardest material there is for flooring,and no you can't just take off what the last guy put on it.
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Old 07-08-2013, 07:20 PM   #4
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poly on engineered hardwood floor


Started a new thread for craigdPGH the other one was over 4 years old.
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Old 07-09-2013, 01:46 AM   #5
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poly on engineered hardwood floor


Thanks for redirecting. I just thought it would be helpful. And the last was one of many threads that I have investigated for an answer. There is no problem polyurethaning over the existing finish of most engineered wood. It will adhere as long as it is clean. Do a test piece if you like. I find the finish to be more pleasant than the plasticky factory finish, and the additional water-resilience is well worth the time.
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Old 07-09-2013, 03:01 AM   #6
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poly on engineered hardwood floor


Palx makes a special recoat adhesion chemical that you apply to pre finish floor , I would consider using it as , I have had it not adhere very well on prefinish , It sort of fish eyed , But like oil on water , It stuck , The customer never called and said the job failed , I did a test sample first and it also stuck , I was just suspicious of the way it looked d, I would say ...... It probably will work to seal the joints , But if it' is a floating engineered , It will be likely to work loose again and leak all the same , But you are where you are with it , So why not ? Just Use a Prep system for a recoat , There is a also Bona Prep . I can't recal it for Prefiniish , I have had all my recoats stick , No calls from customers , Again , It sometimes looked suspicious , I always do a test area in an out of the way place , Like you did . So I would wait a few days , Try to scrape it with a coin , Not too hard at first , It should adhere ,

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