I think I've goofed ... hardwood floor refinishing

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  #1  
Old 09-18-12, 08:59 AM
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I think I've goofed ... hardwood floor refinishing

Opted to finish the floor ourselves. About 250 sq ft. quote of $8/ft just too much. Sanded everything well. Removed the dust pretty well. First coat of poly (water based, oil enhanced minwax product) Went on fine (used a pad applicator from Lowes) kinda rough so I sanded with 220. Tried to vacuum, didnt get enough dust. Tried using tack cloth, still too much left. Here's where i think I messed up. I knew I shouldn't use a wet cloth as it would raise the grain. So I'd read I can use a cloth with mineral spirits, except I didn't read my can closely. It was acetone. I didn't use much. But I did notice some finish was coming up on my cloth. I did it very lightly and was satisfied I got all the dust. Put coat number 2 on and noticed I had some bubbles. The light wasn't very good and we were getting ready to leave so I just left it alone. I'll be back this weekend to see what really happened.

My first question is did the acetone mess it up?
Next question...what do I do next?
Last question...how is the best way to remove the dust before I put on the next coat?

I'm not looking for perfect results. It's an imperfect floor. We intentionally didn't fill in staple holes and gaps. In my mind it's part of the charm. I don't mind the "patina" from pets and kids scratching it up. I live in a home, not a museum. People wear their shoes in the house and don't worry about messing anything up. If it's bad enough it can be fixed.
 
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  #2  
Old 09-18-12, 09:04 AM
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What trouble did you have getting up the dust?

Based on what you've said so far, I would sand this coat pretty well, since you're actually doing to be removing some of the finish to smooth the surface instead of the usual just scuffing it up to promote adhesion on the next coat. Then, of course, comes the dust removal question....
 
  #3  
Old 09-18-12, 09:06 AM
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The acetone melted or partially dissolved the waterbased poly. I'd suggest a light resand and then apply another coat of poly. Usually a shop vac does a decent job of removing the sanding dust but if it doesn't, it won't hurt to use a damp cloth [just be sure to rinse/fold or whatever so you don't just move the dust around] While a little bit of water can raise the grain of raw unsealed wood - it shouldn't hurt anything over the poly that has already been applied.
 
  #4  
Old 09-19-12, 06:03 AM
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The problem with the dust was that there was so much. Even after I swept, vacuumed and tack clothed it. I guess I just need to be more patient. I'll find out Saturday how bad my finish looks after it has dried a while.
Is there a better applicator to use? I just have on of those rectangle shaped things you put on a long handle. I couldn't find lambswool and I've heard they have troubles leaving lint behind (though I thought that's why you use lambswool rather than other products, so I don't really know)

After my next (hopefully my last) coat will I need to sand it again to smooth it down or should it already be pretty smooth? If so what grit?
 
  #5  
Old 09-19-12, 06:45 AM
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If poly is applied correctly to a smooth surface, no sanding is needed (other than a scuff sand for adhesion of a subsequent coat). Needing to sand the surface of poly indicates something was likely missed in the prep or went wrong with the application.
 
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Old 09-19-12, 09:46 AM
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guess I just need to be more patient
Easier said than done but taking your time and doing it right pays off in the end.

After my next (hopefully my last) coat will I need to sand it again
If the wood is smooth and dust free when you apply the last coat - no further sanding should be required. I've never used a pad other than lambswool. Most any paint store should have them but I don't know if paint depts would. If you run your fingers thru the pad [or roller cover] prior to using it the 1st time that will generally remove any loose fibers. Some go a step further and rinse the pad before using it.
 
  #7  
Old 09-24-12, 06:45 AM
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Just got back from doing the floor. Actually, the acetone didn't mess anything up. I sanded and put on another coat. Realized a I missed a spot and went back and put one more coat on. It looks pretty good. There are a lot of DIY flaws, but for this project, they were expected and acceptable. There's the spot where the sandpaper tore off, startled me and the machine got away from me a bit and now there are some gouges from the sander. Just another story to tell One of the hardest parts was putting on the finish and knowing where I had already put it. Sanding helped because it scuffed the surface, but a lack of light in that room made it really challenging. I have to wait until Saturday to see the finished product, but I expect it will be okay. Overall, it was hard work, but I'll do it again for the other 4 rooms. This time I'll be armed with experience.
I used a water based, oil enhanced polyurethane. I HIGHLY recommend it for DIYers. Easy to use. NO smell at all. And because it's water based, it won't yellow over time. It may not last as long as a good oil based, but the trade offs were worth it for me.
One last question. I'd like the floor to be really smooth. Before the 4th coat, it didn't really need to be sanded (I did so anyway, just a scuffing really) but is there any kind of buffing disc that I can use on a palm sander to just make it that much smoother after the final coat?
 
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Old 09-24-12, 07:10 AM
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I wouldn't - you might get it smoother but it would not, IMO, be worth the effort. There's also the possibility you could end up making things worse instead of better.
 
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Old 09-24-12, 09:05 AM
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What was the final grit you used when sanding?
 
  #10  
Old 09-24-12, 10:08 AM
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I used 220 grit for all between coat sandings.
 
  #11  
Old 09-24-12, 10:12 AM
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220 is the right grit for the scuff sanding between coats.
 
  #12  
Old 09-24-12, 12:46 PM
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... and it isn't smooth enough?

220 grit should have gotten the wood super slick. If it's not, maybe you switched to a finer grit too soon or didn't clean the floor good enough and got boogers in the poly.
 
  #13  
Old 09-25-12, 07:02 AM
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I'm probably being too picky. I'll see it Saturday and find out then. I didn't really need to sand before the last coat, it was smooth then, but taking a little shine off made it a little easier to see where I spread the poly.
 
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Old 09-25-12, 09:08 AM
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taking a little shine off made it a little easier to see
It also allows/helps the next coat adhere better
 
  #15  
Old 09-26-12, 07:14 AM
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A scuff sanding between coats of poly is necessary for adhesion of the next coat; it's not for smoothing.
 
  #16  
Old 10-01-12, 06:09 AM
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Final analysis

The finish looks good. It came out nice and smooth and not too glossy. The kids found a way to polish it up. The dragged each other around the room on a blanket. Okay so it didnt' polish it much, but they did a nice job getting up the dust from putting up the ceiling fan. haha.

Overall I'm glad we tackled this one. There are 3 more rooms to do and experience will make the others better. Some things I learned:
-start with a stronger grit than 60.
-when I rent the machine, try loading the paper several times while still at the store and actually turn on the machine (had trouble with the paper ripping off before I even set the belt down on the floor)
-get more sheets of the low grit and fewer of the finer grit
-figure out a better way to lay the poly. I like the lambswool applicator best, but I still ended up with dark spots from not spreading evenly. And I even paid close attention to that. Thankfully it was just poly and not stain. It might have been worse.
-I will use the water based poly again. Seems to be a good product for my purpose. Time will tell how long it lasts but the ease of using it will probably outweigh durability.
Thanks for you input during the process.
 
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