Polyurethane Top Coat appears to be "soft"

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  #1  
Old 06-25-12, 03:05 PM
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Polyurethane Top Coat appears to be "soft"

I've been remodeling my bathroom; complete gut and reinstall. Just finished installing new hardwood flooring, oil-base stain, and three coats of oil-base polyurethane (I allowed 24 hours drying time between all finish coats). It has been three days since the last coat application and I thought it was dry until now. While hanging a shower rod I noticed that in the place where I had been standing there are now indentions in the poly. Upon further inspection I realized that I can push real hard with my finger and leave an indention in the finish.

Up to now I've only walked on the floor without incident. It was only after standing in one place for a little while that I realized there was a problem.

Does the poly need a little more time to dry, or do I have bigger issues that require more extensive measures? If I have other issues that just additional drying time, what are my options at this point?

The weather has been fairly hot and humid for a couple of weeks with no letting up any time soon.
 
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Old 06-25-12, 03:40 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

Did you stir the poly well before using it? sand between coats? Humidity will slow the drying time down some but it should have dried fairly hard by now. I'd be inclined to let it dry longer and see how it goes. Setting a fan at the doorway for air circulation might help.
 
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Old 06-25-12, 04:08 PM
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Thanks for the welcome.

I stirred for quite a while. Upon researching the application of poly, I found conflicting information with the sanding between coats as to whether it was required or not, so I only sanded lightly over the entire surface, and a little more in-depth on areas that I thought needed it (bubbles, missed drips, etc). I then made sure I cleaned up the debris before the next application.

Again, I thought it all went well until today. In retrospect, the only thing that I found odd was how far the poly would spread as I applied it. I thought it would apply paper thin, but it actually applied a little thicker than that. I bought it the same day I began application, used a china brush, and I did not reduce it with thinner.
 
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Old 06-25-12, 04:17 PM
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it's probably a combination of the high humidity and temps and the thick coats which are increasing the drytime. The surface was probably dry to the touch, but not completely cured.

Not all polyurethanes are created equal, though. Is the one you bought specifically meant for floors?
 
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Old 06-25-12, 04:20 PM
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For a smooth finish, sanding is a must. You don't need to sand between coats if the poly hasn't had time to start curing..... but that won't necessarily give you a slick finish.

It's possible you bought a can that was on the shelf for a long time. Thinning it a little might have helped the drying time some. I'd still set a fan in the doorway and wait a day or two, hopefully it will continue curing to a hard finish.
 
  #6  
Old 06-25-12, 04:49 PM
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XSleeper,
The poly was not specific to flooring.

Time doesn't cost much when your waiting, so I'll just let it sit a little while longer with a fan. I'll update the status say about Thursday.
 
  #7  
Old 06-25-12, 09:43 PM
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It will always be soft.

Oil based poly is not to be applied in thick coats as waterbased is.

That and the thicker coat, being recoated before it had time to off-gas.
 
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