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  • Tinting with HyperTone™ Stain Saved His Ash!

    Apr 13, 2021

    Tony Vecchio of 1st Class Flooring, LLC, in LaFayette, GA, had been hired to repair a water-damaged floor on a residence’s second story. The project included tearing out a damaged portion and replacing it with new flooring, then sanding, staining, and finishing the entire floor.

    When Tony originally looked at the floor, he was told that it was white oak. As such, he ordered and weaved in white oak. Fast forward to after Tony had sanded/prepped the floor and stained it with a traditional solvent-based stain. Once the floor was dry, he noticed a color variance from the old white oak to the newly weaved white oak. Tony thought it might have to do with grade of flooring, so he applied a coat of sealer, hoping the difference would become less noticeable. Unfortunately, the coat of sealer didn’t appear to change the look of the floor, so Tony applied 2 coats of finish, again in hopes of moderating the variance.

    Once completed, Tony knew he had a challenge on his hands. Instead of the 2 coats of finish helping to blend in the color, it actually made the color discrepancy more noticeable. After some detective work, it was discovered that the homeowner was wrong on the species of existing flooring, and instead of the floor being white oak, it was actually ash. So, as it turns out, the new white oak was actually weaved into existing ash flooring.

    The white oak (near) was weaved into existing ash (far).

    The homeowner loved the refurbished floor but agreed something had to be done to fix the difference in color. They did not, however, want to have to sand the flooring again, and they were definitely not interested in tearing out all the ash. Tony told us, “They realized that even if they sanded the floor down to bare wood again, the ash would have to be stained/finished differently than the white oak if they wanted things to match up.”

    Tony had seen a number of posts from contractors on social media who were tinting Basic Coatings® finishes with HyperTone™ Stains, and he wanted to find out if this new method of applying color could be a suitable solution for this particular challenge. He contacted Basic Coatings, and after discussing his various options, decided to offer tinting the finish to the homeowners. Ultimately, they liked the idea and agreed to move forward with fixing the floor using HyperTone Stains as tint as follows.

    Step 1: The white oak was covered with blue tape at all the seams, and the ash was left uncovered/open.
    Step 2: HyperTone Stain was mixed into StreetShoe® NXT (in this case, 3 ounces of Tobacco per gallon of finish). Steps 3 and 4: The first and second coats of tint/finish were applied to the ash portions of the flooring. 
    Step 5: A top clear coat of finish was applied.Step 6: The tape was removed.

    Final Result

    Ultimately, the homeowners were thrilled with their new floor, especially because they didn’t have to replace all the ash, and Tony was excited that he had a new tool available to him to resolve customer issues and challenges. According to Tony, “This solution will save a lot of contractors from having to re-sand or tear out flooring when things don’t go as planned.”

    We want to thank Tony for his call and the opportunity to help him with products and methods that are unique in the industry. To contact us for help on any hardwood flooring issue, please click here to fill out the online form, and a Basic Coatings representative will contact you shortly. To view our technical bulletin on blending and tinting finish, please click here.

    “This solution will save a lot of contractors from having to re-sand or tear out flooring when things don’t go as planned.”


  • Floor Polish Removal Can Save a Hardwood Floor

    Mar 18, 2021

    The cleaning products aisles at grocery and home improvement stores the world over showcase countless products that claim to improve the appearance of hardwood floors. From the shelves, they beckon homeowners with flashy claims, like “refreshes hardwood,” “new floor in a bottle,” or “professional results.”

    What homeowners who are enticed by these propositions don’t know is that using floor polish is like cracking your knuckles: it feels good at first, but once you start, you can’t stop, and—eventually—you regret forming the bad habit.

    The Problem

    Most of these polish products contain acrylic and stick to the floor really well when dried. Due to low-quality solids and weak chemical bonds within the formulas, however, the new layer of polish rapidly becomes hazy, scuffed, and sticky. So, what do most homeowners do? They apply more polish to their floor to improve its appearance, beginning a vicious cycle that repeats until it dawns on them—usually many coats later—that their hardwoods now need professional help.

    In steps a hardwood floor professional, who likely recommends:

    • Sanding and refinishing in the case of solid or engineered wood floors that are sandable ($$).
    • Tearing out and replacing textured, handscraped, or engineered wood floors that are too thin to be sanded. ($$$) 

    What if we told you that there is another option, and that under the acrylic mess, there could be a perfectly good wood floor in need of simple a recoat or nothing at all?

    The Solution

    Contrary to misguided advice on the web, the answer is not vinegar, ammonia, or abrasive powders, all of which can cause etching in the wood’s surface, harm finish, and take years off a wood floor’s life. The solution, we humbly submit, is Basic Coatings® Dissolver, a product that is specifically formulated to quickly and easily remove acrylic-based polishes while still being gentle on  hardwood floors. 

    How does it work?

    A proprietary blend of solvents, such as benzyl alcohol and glycol ethers, work in conjunction with alkaline organic compounds, like Monoethanolamine (or MEA), to act as a lock-and-key mechanism with acrylic floor polish’s cross-linking. This action results in the “unlocking” of polymer chains and allows the plastic film to be emulsified back into the stripping solution, which can then be picked up in a liquid form. 

    How is it used?

    Before using this product, the presence of acrylic should be confirmed by testing a small spot in an inconspicuous area using an acrylic test kit or a drop of Dissolver (a bluish white dot where the solution was applied indicates a positive result for acyclic).   

    Then, removing the polish is just a matter of following the steps below.

    1. Careful not to over wet the floor, apply Dissolver diluted with water at the ratio specified in the directions on the label. A pump-up garden sprayer works well for this task, and it is best to work in a small area to start, say 5’ x 5’. 
    2. Allow the solution to dwell on the surface for a few minutes, then agitate. A buffer with a white scrubbing pad is ideal.
    3. Then, pick up the solution with the emulsified polish. It is important to not let the solution dry before this step is completed. We recommend using a Basic Coatings Dirt Dragon™ Wood Floor Scrubber for this part of the process. On occasion, it might be necessary to repeat the Dissolver application.
    4. Finally, clean with Basic Coatings Squeaky™ Cleaner to neutralize the chemicals in Dissolver that make the removal possible. At this point, the floor can be recoated if needed using TyKote® Bonding Agent and any Basic Coatings finish.

    Want to see more visuals? Click here to watch a 3-minute video that outlines the floor polish removal process.

    Acrylic buildup is seriously unsightly, but with the right tools, it’s a relatively easy and inexpensive problem to fix. If you’re a homeowner, please reference our contractor locator for a list of local professionals who can provide an estimate to rescue your hardwoods using Dissolver. To request a local Basic Coatings certified contractor contact you with more information about their services and pricing, please fill out the form here.

    If you’re a contractor or distributor interested in learning more about these products or processes, please contact your Basic Coatings regional manager or fill out the form here.

  • 3 Tactics to Prevent Tannic Acid Discoloration

    Feb 18, 2021

    Tannins are polyphenols, or secondary metabolites of plants, that play diverse roles in plant physiology, like defense against UV radiation, pathogens, microorganisms, and insects. Tannic acid is a specific form of tannin, and its concentration varies not only between different plant species, but even within the same species based on individual growth environment. Generally speaking, however, lighter-colored woods like maple, birch, and aspen contain less tannic acid, while darker-colored woods like oak, cherry, mahogany, and walnut contain more.

    Higher levels of tannic acid can cause discoloration in the staining and/or coating processes. This happens because:

    • Water, including in water-based finishes, can draw water-soluble tannic acid to the surface.
    • Contact with water and iron (like nails) causes tannic acid to take on a gray or blue hue.
    • As an acid, it greens or browns when exposed to alkaline materials, like ammonia, which is a common ingredient (pH regulator) in water-based finishes.

    Even experienced, high-quality contractors can run into problems with tannic acid discoloration, also called tannin bleed or tannin pull. Although tannin pull doesn’t always occur and can occasionally be difficult to spot when it does, the result is often sanding the floor twice (while still getting paid once), making an ounce of prevention with the strategies below definitely worth a pound of cure.

    Photo credit: NWFA, “Problems, Causes and Cures 2018”

    1. Take extra care preparing the floor.

    Remove contaminants that may react with tannic acid by deep cleaning the floor before sanding according to accepted NWFA/MFMA procedures.

    Most importantly for wood species that contain high levels of tannic acid, be sure to remove ALL dust, first by vacuuming, and then by tacking with a dry microfiber mop. If wood dust is not entirely eliminated, it can build up in the application puddle of the finish to the extent that even a light applicator mark leaves a darker layer of finish. 

    2. Use a tannin-blocking sealer…correctly.

    By and large, use of a tannin-blocking sealer is always recommended by manufacturers of water-based finishes to help combat alkalinity and moisture in their formulations. It is arguably most crucial when working on a color-sensitive project. These days, when we hear complaints of discoloration, it usually involves light-colored stains, such as grays and whites. On floors stained dark brown, tannin pull may be present but not visible.

    The first coat of finish should be applied over the tannin-blocking sealer before any buffing, screening, or fine sanding of the grain raise, as this will provide a surface for finish coats to build while preventing or minimizing discoloration. Dry time—between application of stain or paint and sealer, as well as between application of sealer and finish—is also critical to avoiding tannin pull.

    • For HyperTone™ Stains, it is strongly recommended that initial coats of sealer not be applied for 24 hours, even if moisture readings are back to the original baseline.
    • For Basic Coatings® sealers and finishes, each coat should dry a minimum of 2–3 hours (in ideal conditions), with the goal of reaching original baseline moisture readings before proceeding to the next coat.

    Need help selecting a tannin-blocking sealer? Basic Coatings® offers Raw™ Sealer, which is recommended specifically when preservation of the natural look of white oak is desired. We also offer Lock ‘N Seal™ for all other use cases working with species with heavy tannic acid.

    3. Avoid puddling the finish, application trails, and applicator set marks.

    Too much or not enough overlap in the working puddle can leave uneven areas on the floor or streaks, so even coats are critical. Achieve optimal results with a T-bar by following the directions in the video or steps a–c below.

    1. Edge out about 6 inches from baseboard or wall with a paint pad or polyester brush. Stay within 2–3 feet of the finish line to avoid lap marks, streaking or thicker film build. Be sure to feather the edge.
    2. Starting about 1 foot from the head wall, pour a 4-inch wide line of finish the length of the floor going with the grain. Stop about 3 feet from the opposite wall. As close to the wall as possible, hold the applicator at a slight angle and drag it in a “squeegee” or “plowing” type motion to move the puddle from one side of the room to the other. Overlap 2 inches of the last pass and pull parallel passes until the entire floor is coated. Brush out all turns, stops, and other applicator marks brushing in the direction of the grain of the wood. Feather out turns with a painters pad after the T-bar has made the turn. Add finish to the puddle-line when needed to maintain a wet edge across the room.
    3. When 2–3 feet from exiting wall, begin to taper the puddle-line down to a nickel-sized bead. Back out of the room by wetting small sections of the remaining floor, brushing away from you in the same direction as the grain of the wood.

    Using a roller instead of a T-bar? Check out an instructional video by clicking here.

     

    By following these 3 tips, you can prevent tannin pull, even on color-sensitive projects. If you have questions about tannic acid discoloration or other issues you are experiencing, please click here, fill out the online form, and your Basic Coatings Regional Manager will reach out to you!

  • 4 Major Winter Wood Floor Mistakes for Homeowners to Avoid

    Jan 12, 2021

    With 2020 finally behind us, the promise of a better year glimmers before us all: Restaurants that are bursting at the seams with patrons (or at least that aren’t deserted), grandparents finally able to hug their grandchildren again, and—of course— beautiful, spotless hardwood floors. But first…we must make it through the winter.

    While Basic Coatings® can’t help much on the first 2 fronts, we can help with the last. Here are 4 mistakes that many homeowners make during the winter months, along with remedies to ensure their hardwood floors make it through to March, unscathed by moisture from snow, ice, and the salt used to combat them.

    1. Dismissing Mats

    Sturdy mats and rugs should be every homeowner’s first defense against salt and moisture. In fact, an effective matting system can trap 90% of debris.

    • A coarse, sturdy mat should be placed right outside the home for the purpose of stomping off snow and dislodging salt particles before entering.
    • Another mat or rug heavy enough to wipe shoes on should be placed directly inside the doorway to catch any remaining salt or moisture before it can be tracked into the house.
    • Homeowners may also consider adding a third waterproof mat to the side of the door, where shoes can be placed to dry, as well as keeping towels handy to wipe up any wetness that makes its way onto floors.

    2. Letting Moisture Linger

    When liquid, slush, or ice is spotted resting on hardwood floors, homeowners should make every possible effort to remove it immediately, lest it seep into the floor and cause mold growth beneath the floor surface or warping of the floorboards.

    • If the amount of liquid is excessive, a wet/dry vacuum may be the best tool to start. Homeowners, take heed, however, that utterly soaked wood may crack if it is dried too quickly.
    • Heat should also be avoided during the drying process, as it can cause cupping, which is a type of warping where the edges of individual boards are raised higher than the center. 

    3. Shrugging off Salt

    Most cold-weather salts or ice melt products are made from Calcium Chloride, which is popular due to its affordability and relative effectiveness.

    • Calcium Chloride is crystalline, and the rough texture of each individual crystal—most visible under a microscope—has the potential to scratch and abrade wood floor finish if tracked inside and dragged across or ground into the floor.
      • Homeowners should regularly vacuum floors to suck up these micro-abrasive particles, preferably with a vacuum that is made for hardwood. If equipped with a rotating brush, it should be off or removed entirely before vacuuming.
    • When Calcium Chloride is dissolved in water, it creates Calcium Hydroxide and Hydrochloric Acid, both of which leave behind a noticeable white residue. If the residue is not promptly removed, it can chemically damage the finish, causing hazing and premature degradation, which can also increase dirt embedment.
      • If the residue is “fresh,” it can likely be removed with a damp (not wet) soft cloth. Older or more stubborn salt stains will require a thorough cleaning.

     4. Cleaning with Whatever's in the Closet

    After vacuuming over and around an older or more stubborn salt stain, it is important to thoroughly clean it.

    • Homeowners may be advised by misguided friends or family to use a mixture of vinegar and water on salt stains. We advise those homeowners to let this “quick fix” go in one ear and out the other, as vinegar will leave a residue of its own and is harsh on finish if concentrated too strongly.
    • Homeowners should also resist the temptation to use the general cleaners or disinfectants they may already have on hand, and instead opt for a cleaner specifically formulated for finished floors. Otherwise, they risk damage from inappropriate pH levels and ingredients, such as Hydrogen Peroxide, acids, Sodium Hypochlorite, etc.

    Basic Coatings does have a 2-product solution to help homeowners safely remove salt stains while maintaining the finish on floors.

    • Begin with I.F.T. (Intensive Floor Treatment) used according to label directions.
    • Finish with Squeaky™, again according to label directions.
    • Both of these can be purchased directly from a local Basic Coatings hardwood flooring distributor. Please refer to our distributor locator here.

    For larger spaces or excessive salt levels, our Dirt Dragon™ cleaning machine is designed to provide a risk-free and complete clean that mopping alone cannot, as well as suction excess water away from the floor surface. Many contractors own or have access to the Basic Coatings Dirt Dragon cleaning machine and know the value of an annual deep cleaning. Please check reference our contractor locator for a list of local professionals who can provide an estimate to deep clean wood floors.

     

    If homeowners avoid these 4 mistakes, they should be able to successfully avoid the perils of winter weather. If, however, severe damage is already present, homeowners may need to hire a professional to replace individual boards, fill in splintered or corroded areas, or sand and refinish hardwood floors. To request a local Basic Coatings certified contractor contact you with more information about their services and pricing, please fill out the form here.

  • Will Basic Coatings® Stains, Sealers, and Finishes Work on Imported Woods That Contain Oil?

    Dec 10, 2020

    Yes. Basic Coatings® stains, sealers, and finishes can work on most any species of wood. The process for application differs from native species.

    Procedures for Imported Woods

    Many exotic woods contain natural oils, such as the Brazilian Cherry floor pictured in this post. The natural oils act as a preservative, and those oils can prevent stain and finish penetration. This can compromise adhesion.

    Sanding

    Always follow NWFA guidelines for sanding procedures.

    During the sanding process, natural oils are driven down into the wood. Natural oils will rise back to the surface over time. It is crucial to continue the finishing process as quickly as possible. Plan your timeline for applying stain or sealer so that the floor does not sit overnight between the last full sanding procedure performed and the application of stain or sealer.

    NOTE: Always apply the stain or first coat of sealer the same day the last full sanding procedure was performed.

    Cleaning/Vacuuming

    We recommend thoroughly vacuuming the floor. Wet tacking with solvents can draw the wood's natural oils to the surface and/or can react with the stain or finish.

    Bleach/Reactive Products

    Always perform a compatibility test with these products prior to using with Basic Coatings products.

    Stain

    Water popping may be needed to achieve the desired color. Many exotic woods do not take stain as deeply as native woods. DO NOT leave excess stain on the floor to attempt to achieve a deeper color. This will cause adhesion failures. Let the stain dry thoroughly. Fans can assist with stain dry times.

    Note: Do not allow extended time between stain application and sealer application (i.e., over the weekend).

    Coating  

    Start applying the sealer as quickly as possible, provided the stain is fully dry. Basic Coatings recommends Lock 'N Seal for exotic woods, as many contain tannins.

    Note: Exotics woods offer unique challenges. When working with exotic woods, Basic Coatings highly recommends performing a test spot on the floor prior to proceeding with the project. 

    Basic Coatings is always happy to help answer questions about this topic or any question related to hardwood floors. If you would like a Basic Coatings representative to get in touch with you, please click here and fill out the online form.

  • What Is Stain Bleed Back and How Is It Affecting Your Floors?

    Oct 19, 2020

    Stain bleed back is a unique phenomenon that can occur following the application of stain. While the stain dries, it wicks back to the surface of the wood, ultimately leading to color inconsistencies and finish issues. It can happen at the board seams, the surface of the board (often following the grain pattern), knots, or burls.

    Cause

    The main culprit of stain bleed back is failure to allow the stain to fully dry. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to ascertain whether or not stain has completely dried, because while it appears dry on the surface of the wood, an abundance of stain deep in the cell cavities is often still liquid.

    Rushing to coat over undried stain too soon will only exacerbate the issue, as the stain that has “bled back” and the trapped solvents therein can create severe long-term issues, including poly-beading, peeling, and even complete finish failure.

    Prevention and Testing

    The only way to prevent stain bleed back is to allow stain adequate time to dry. It is also critical to avoid pouring stain directly onto a wood surface or allowing pools to sit, both of which cause stain to soak down into the cracks between boards.

    Always read and apply stain following the manufacturer’s application instructions. Take note of temperature and humidity levels, as these can affect drying times. There are several options for testing that the stain has dried, including:

    • Wiping the floor with a clean rag to detect wet stain.
    • Using moisture meters are always recommended, but they can be inaccurate in testing whether stain is ready to coat—especially over cracks. They can also be affected by certain pigments or solvents in the stain.
    • A less-well-known secret is using a vacuum hose directly on the stained floor on those areas that would be the most likely to still be wet, such as cracks and knots, to bring any undried stain to the surface. If excess stain appears upon vacuuming, allow the floor more time to dry and retest before proceeding

     

    The unique nature of waterbased stains, like Basic Coatings® HyperTone™ Stains, will greatly reduce bleed back and related issues.

    Resolving

    Once bleed back happens, it can sometimes be amended by aggressively screening the floor and exposing the trapped stain. After allowing time for it to fully dry, touch up any color issues and recoat. If extensive stain bleed back has occurred below a finish film, however, the floor will require a complete re-sand.

    If you have questions about stain bleed back or other issues you are experiencing, please click here, fill out the online form, and your Basic Coatings Regional Manager will reach out to you.

    Photos courtesy of NWFA’s Problems, Causes, and Cures (3rd Edition, 2018).

     

  • Save Money, Save Time: 2 Innovative Ways to Use HyperTone™ Stains on Sport Floors

    Sep 10, 2020

    In 2019, Basic Coatings® introduced HyperTone™ Stains at the NWFA Convention in Fort Worth, Texas.  Since that time, widespread and profound success have inspired contractors to seek our assistance in using the product beyond simple application as a hardwood flooring stain.

    In addition to the low odor, non-flammability, unlimited, vibrant color options, and ability to consistently stain tough species like maple and Brazilian cherry, the product is now being used in innovative ways—2 of which have proven notably cost and time efficient.

    Tinting Finish

    For residential, commercial, and sport floors, contractors traditionally stain the properly prepared bare hardwood, followed by (a) coat(s) of sealer, and then finish.  This is still the predominant method to change the color of hardwood flooring.

    Some contractors, however, have begun sealing the floor first, then applying coats of tinted finish. The benefits are numerous:

    1. On the front side, this process is faster and provides greater control over the depth and consistency of color. 
    2. On the back side (when it’s time to re-sand the floor), there’s less work, because contractors don’t have to take off as much of the top layer of flooring to remove the stain and/or worry about the stain seeping further into the tongue and grooves. 
    3. Plus, because less sanding is required, more sandings are possible, saving customers significant costs over the life of the floor.
    HyperTone Stains is roughly 10% of the cost. When you add the cost of finish plus stain, there’s a whopping 23% savings!

    But the advantages don’t stop there.

    Spurred by all the buzz, we worked with a sport contractor to quantify the benefits in terms of their savings.  We kept things simple—1 gallon of finish with comparable paint and stain levels—and the results showed that HyperTone Stains is roughly 10% of the cost. When you add the cost of finish plus stain, there’s a whopping 23% savings!

    Paint Versus Tinting Finish

    Although stain was applied to plenty of sport floors in the past, use skyrocketed once the MFMA recognized the practice at their convention in 2018. While paint for game lines and logos continues to be the dominant process, we have encountered sport floor contractors using a heavier load of HyperTone Stains to tint finish instead—again, with various upsides:

    1. Using the same product for lines/logos as the finish could reduce chipping that is often seen with paint (time will tell if this holds true, but so far, so good).
    2. Significant reduction in the cost of paint—both in the number of gallons purchased and the paint gallons that go unused due to shelf life. 
    3. When the paint lines or painted logos are abraded (to prepare to accept finish coats), the heavily pigmented colored dust from the paint can contaminate adjacent colors (or flooring), which can be tough to prevent or remove (for example, a bright red paint logo contaminating the adjacent white).  When HyperTone Stain is encapsulated into the finish and used like a paint, the pigment load is reduced significantly, and the issue is virtually eliminated. 

    We again calculated the cost savings when working with a contractor to tint the finish with heavier pigment loads, so the product could be tested in lieu of game line/logo paint.  When comparing 1 gallon of stain plus finish with comparable game line paint, tinting finish was roughly half the price! While this may or may not be a savings large enough to make the switch for any one job, just like tinting the finish above, the contractor sees tremendous cost advantages over the entire season. 

    When comparing 1 gallon of stain plus finish with comparable game line paint, tinting finish was roughly half the price!

    Ultimately, the jobsite benefits and cost savings have more contractors rethinking processes to improve their offering. If this is something that might interest you, let us know by clicking here to fill out the online form. We’ll be more than happy to work with you to see if these or other innovative HyperTone Stain application methods could enhance the value of your operation, as well as calculate your potential savings.

    To learn more about HyperTone Stains, please click here

     

  • One Simple Secret for Avoiding the Dreaded Picture Frame

    Jul 07, 2020

    When it comes to refinishing hardwood floors, blending the perimeter with the field of the floor is an important skill.

    To help blend in the edges with the scratch pattern over the rest of the floor, most hardwood flooring professionals already know to try to follow NWFA wood flooring sand guidelines, which include:

    • Following the abrasive guide pictured right (click to enlarge)
    • Using the same mineral and grit for the perimeter with an edger as they did in the field with a drum sander
    • Never skipping performance of a final screen

    Why, then, would a hardwood flooring contractor who followed each of these guidelines to a T be experiencing the dreaded picture frame—when the edges of the room have a slightly different appearance than the rest?

    The Story

    In late April of this year, a Basic Coatings® Regional Manager was called by a contractor who had experienced a picture framing issue on a previous job and was looking for some advice. On their recent project, they had stained a floor, applied sealer and finish, then noticed the stain had different sheens between the perimeter and field of the floor. In that particular case, the edges could be best described as having a burnished look. 

    The Regional Manager visited a new project with the contractor and noticed the contractor’s sanding sequence was fine for both the drum sander and the edger—36 grit, then 50, followed by 80, and finally 100, concluding with a 120-grit screen. However, he also noticed that the paper on the edger was not being changed as frequently as it should have been, so he recommended changing it more frequently.

    Once proper sanding was completed, the application of stain, sealer, and finish was consistent and even throughout the floor, including along the edges.

    Lo and behold, no picture frame.

    The Regional Manager and contractor both agreed that by not changing the paper on the edger fast enough on his previous job, the contractor was, unbeknownst to him, burnishing the wood along the perimeter and closing the grain. The edger, cutting at a much finer grit, was essentially polishing the wood along the edges.

    The Simple Secret

    Edging is hard, grueling work. Often, contractors want to finish as quickly as possible, which sometimes results in less frequently stopping to change the paper on the edger. Keeping the paper fresh early and often, however, can eliminate picture frames in the final product.

    Even if paper feels sharp, it very well may be beyond its prime, which is why the best way to judge whether paper is due for changing is by square footage. 

    Ultimately, edgers should be used to reproduce how the rest of the floor was prepared.  This will give you the best chance to blend the stain, sealer, and finish to give you a great looking floor.

    If you have questions about picture framing or other issues you are experiencing, please click here, fill out the online form, and your Basic Coatings Regional Manager will reach out to you. 

     

  • A New Way to Think About Staining Maple Floors

    Jun 08, 2020

    Homeowner: Can you stain my maple floor?

    Contractor: No, maple doesn’t take stain well.

    This is probably said thousands of times a day across the US during a site evaluation of a wood floor. Homeowners are often suspicious when they hear this, since they’re offered countless options of stained maple cabinetry and prefinished wood flooring, and they look quite uniform in color. Contractors are at a disadvantage when refinishing wood floors on site, because they cannot replicate the unique processes used in factory finishing in the field.

    Continue Reading...

    What causes “blotchy” stain?  

    All hardwoods and softwoods have some kind of grain pattern and density differences due to its growth. This is completely natural, but the grain and differences in density are highlighted by the stain. Maple, like several others species such as walnut, American cherry, pine and Douglas fir, do not take stain as evenly as species such as red oak and white oak.Blotchy color can result from other factors as well, such as inconsistent sanding procedures, water-popping, or stain application. Inadequate preparatory procedures can result in previous coatings being left in the wood, also preventing uniform color.

    Many techniques have been tried to correct the issue, including pretreatments, layering stain, and excessive tinting of finish. Contractors notoriously try to apply products outside of the manufacturer's recommendations. Unfortunately, attempts to force an outcome often ends in a failure.

    How can I get maple to take stain better?

    The first step to ensuring the best possible outcome is to follow NWFA guidelines to sand and prepare the floor properly. Water-popping will also help make sure the color is absorbed more evenly.

    Contractors tend to get comfortable with products or procedures they prefer to use, but advancements in floor product technologies do offer some possible solutions. The manufacturers of prefinished products that you’re frustrated with having to match have sought out the products they needed to achieve the results their customers have demanded. You should do the same by looking for alternative products better suited for any given project.

    Basic Coatings® offers a unique solution that resolves a lot of the challenges to job-site maple staining in HyperTone Stains, a water/oil hybrid. Please click here to learn more.

     

  • Can I “Disinfect” or Clean Hardwood Floors with “Antimicrobial” Cleaners?

    May 05, 2020

    The rapid spread of SARS-CoV-2, otherwise known as the 2019 novel coronavirus, and the illness it causes, called COVID-19, has sparked a huge uptick in questions about properly cleaning hardwood floors, especially with regard to recent buzzwords like “disinfect,” “antimicrobial,” and “sanitize.”

    These Products Will Clean Without Voiding Your Warranty

    The 2 primary organizations in the wood flooring industry—the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) and the Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association (MFMA) —have issued guidance on the subject.

    Continue Reading...

    • According to the NWFA, “…using improper cleaners can void (wood floor manufacturer’s) warranty and also cause future problems with recoating.”
    • According to the MFMA, “…NEVER use household cleaning products or procedures to clean your floor. They can be harmful to the floor finish and to the wood and may leave floors sticky or slippery, and potentially harmful. Your finish manufacturer will recommend the proper cleaning and maintenance materials for your MFMA maple floor.”

    Connect with a Contractor

    Hiring a contractor to deep clean wood floors with professional equipment may not be as expensive as you think.

    To request a local Basic Coatings certified contractor to contact you with more information about their services and pricing, please fill out the form below!

    Basic Coatings® correspondingly recommends caution when looking for cleaners for hardwood floors. While many antimicrobial cleaners or disinfectants are marketed as suitable for use on hard surfaces, we encourage you to make sure the product is specifically approved for hardwood floors, and if so, seek specific information how it should be used or applied.

    Antimicrobial products contain specific chemicals—such as ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, peroxyacetic or other acids, and sodium hypochlorite—that are not recommended for use on hardwood floors.

    Approved disinfectants for use on hardwood floors should have a neutral pH and quaternary ammonium listed as the active ingredient on their labels.

    Whether you find an antimicrobial cleaner or disinfectant specifically for hardwood floors or not, we advise deep cleaning wood floors immediately after use of any such product to remove residue, which can damage the floor and prevent proper bonding of a future recoat. To that end, Basic Coatings offers a one-two punch in the form of I.F.T.—an aggressive cleaner specifically formulated to remove residue, ground-in dirt, and other soils—followed by Squeaky™ floor cleaner to neutralize.

    Hiring a contractor to deep clean wood floors with professional equipment may not be as expensive as you think. To request a local Basic Coatings certified contractor contact you with more information about their services and pricing, please fill out the form here.

    I.F.T. and Squeaky can be purchased directly from a local Basic Coatings hardwood flooring distributor. Please refer to our distributor locator here.

    1  National Wood Flooring Association. 2010. “Maintenance and Recoating”, 3.
    2 “Residential Floor Care - MFMA". 2013. Maplefloor.Org. https://www.maplefloor.org/For-Homeowners/Residential-Floor-Care.aspx.

  • TyKote® With StreetShoe® NXT Vs. Screen/Recoat with OMU

    Mar 26, 2020


    With how these numbers stack up, who wouldn't use the Basic Coatings® TyKote® Refinishing System with StreetShoe® NXT over a screen and recoat with OMU?

    Curious to see how we came up with these figures? Click here to check out the math for yourself.

    Wondering how other Basic Coatings® systems compare? Reach out to your Regional Manager to find out!

  • Don’t Squeak Back at Me

    Mar 13, 2020

    Squeak


    Have you ever tried to sneak to the refrigerator in the middle of the night, and your squeaky hardwood floors give you away? (No? Us either!)

    For the most part, if a squeak occurs right after installation, you might have excessive bounce in your floor, which you should immediately talk to your contractor about fixing.

    However, some annoying squeaks can develop over time with some hardwood floors.  This can occur as a result of years of wear and tear causing board separation below the surface.

    If this is the source of your floor squeaks, you have a few options that might work.  The first option is worth trying if you have access to the floor from the underside.  After locating the squeak, try using some additional fastening below to floor to see if it can reduce or eliminate the squeak.

    If that is not an option, an alternative might be to use baby powder.  Simply find the squeaky spot, pour in the baby powder and work it down into the tongue & groove, then remove any excess.  Try repeating the process until it reduces or eliminates the squeak.  It’s not always effective, can be only temporary, but it’s worth a try.

    Real hardwood floors are always a great option!  Regardless of your choice of real wood flooring, Basic Coatings® is the expert in staining, sealing, finishing and maintaining your hardwood floor!  Please explore our website for ideas and complete product information.

  • Squeaky Clean

    Jan 27, 2020

    1126 Squeaky Kit

    Have you ever found yourself battling heavy oil-based soils on your hardwood floor? You may be using the wrong products. Most general-purpose neutral cleaners take multiple attempts to remove common contaminants, such as furniture polish, shoe marks, and dust mop treatments, and we ask ourselves, “Who has time for that?”

    Basic Coatings® provides a product that can solve these issues. Squeaky™ Cleaner for wood, LVT/SPC, and laminate flooring is specially made to dissolve oil-based soils in one pass. This is how Squeaky can help you!

    Advantages:
    1. Wood Floor Cleaner: Squeaky is specifically formulated to clean hardwood floors without leaving an oily residue behind for a streak free appearance!
    2. De-foaming: Squeaky has significantly better de-foaming capabilities than neutral cleaners.
    3. Dry Time: The alcohol and solvents in Squeaky assist in the prevention of hardwood floor cupping from water-solution-related issues.

    We want your floors to be as squeaky clean as much as you do!   Squeaky Cleaner Wood Floor Cleaner is available in kits, concentrated, ready-to-use, and in various packaging sizes.

    Instructions for Removing Oil Soap Cleaners with Squeaky Ready-to-Use

    Supplies needed:
    • Basic Coatings Squeaky Cleaner
    • Basic Coatings microfiber mop
    • Rubber/latex gloves and safety glasses

    Process:
    1. Sweep or vacuum the wood floor.
    2. Spray Squeaky Cleaner on a Basic Coatings Microfiber Mop and wipe the surface clean.
    3. To prevent redeposit of dirt and oil, clean the microfiber as needed. Pay special attention to corners.

    Do not pour Squeaky directly on the wood floor. Excess liquid on any hardwood floor may damage the fibers. Do not use this product with any wax-finished floors.

    Real hardwood floors are always a great option! Basic Coatings is the expert in staining, sealing, finishing, and maintaining your hardwood floors.  Please go to www.basiccoatings.com for ideas and complete product information.

  • Death, Taxes, and Winter Time Cracks

    Jan 03, 2020

    DSC03245-600x400

    Three things you can depend on are death, taxes, and cracks between the boards of your wood floors in the winter! Wood floors continually expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity of the jobsite/environment.

    In the winter, with heat being turned up for warmth, the moisture level will decrease. In turn, the wood floor boards will also get drier and shrink, and as they do, they will pull away from each other.  Humidifiers are always recommended to maintain proper moisture levels, but sometimes they are not effective enough.  When moisture levels go down, hopefully the resulting shrinkage (aka “cracks”) are very small and spread evenly throughout the installation, as opposed to fewer and wider cracks. 

    Conversely, as heating is reduced or eliminated, the flooring will then expand, as the moisture in the environment increases and is absorbed by the wood.

    Discuss your options with your hardwood flooring professional to avoid costly challenges associated with shrinkage and expansion.  For example, if you are considering using an OMU (oil-modified urethane), it is recommended to wait until the wood flooring is expanded and tight. This is because, if the flooring is dry and the gaps are open, the oil can drip down into the tongue and groove cracks, where it may not dry completely.  Then, at a later time, if the floor expands, it will force up the undried finish and cause polybeads, which would be an eyesore on your beautiful hardwood floor. 

    If you are considering having a wood floor installed or wood floors sanded and refinished, talk to your wood flooring professional about the type of stain, sealer, and finishes they recommend.  You should also discuss the temperature, humidity, and timing to help reduce the chances of any issues.

    Real hardwood floors are always a great option, and Basic Coatings is the expert in staining, sealing, finishing and maintaining your hardwood floor!  Please peruse our website for ideas and complete product information.

  • Don’t Give Your Floors the Cold Shoulder this Winter

    Dec 30, 2019

    salt on floors

    Winter is in full swing and is taking charge with snow, slush, and ice. While bundling up and staying warm inside, make sure you don’t give your floors the cold shoulder. It’s important to be aware of the dangers that the winter elements can leave behind on both carpet and hard surface floors.

    As people come and go in a facility they stomp, shake, and dump snow, slush, and salt on floors everywhere. This snowy, slushy mess doesn’t end after it dries and leaves behind unmelted rock salt. Stains as white as snow can be seen on all types of floor surfaces. While these stains are pesky and damaging, they are preventable and your floors are savable.

    Salt stains are not harmful if attended to quickly. The faster you remove the moisture and chemicals, the less time they have to damage your floors. Keep absorbent towels or rags near your doors to clean up the messes as they occur, and a vacuum or broom to remove any dry residue.

    Use a reliable matting system. A matting system acts as a first line of defense against tracked-in contaminants on your floors. Over 80% of dirt and residue are brought in by people entering a facility; a good entrance matting system can trap 90% of this dirt and debris as they are brought in!

    Prevention is the best defense. It’s important to keep in mind that all floor types are vulnerable during the winter. Using a daily maintenance cleaner is one of the most important steps to extend the life of your floors.

    For the best solution to protect your hard surface floors from salt and other winter debris, use the Basic Coatings® Squeaky™ Floor Care System. Squeaky is designed for daily cleaning of wood, VCT, laminate, and other hard surface floors. If your floors really take a beating this winter, call us at 800-441-1934 for superior service and technical excellence.

  • Something Old, Something New: The Advantages of Using Recycled Wood

    Dec 16, 2019

    brown-wooden-floor-172292

    There are several benefits to using recycled wood for your new hardwood floors.  Here are just a few of the things to keep in mind:

    • Style/design: There’s no question that distressed or recycled wood has been and continues to be a desired look and trend.  When clientele look for wood flooring, they generally like the character you can get from recycled wood.

    • Environmentally friendly: By using recycled wood, you certainly reduce waste that would be going into landfills. Additionally, you eliminate the need to cut down existing trees for milling into new flooring.

    • Durability: Trees harvested years ago tend to have tighter grain, which leaves them harder and denser. As such, recycled wood tends to be more durable than brand new floors, which helps reduce dents and scratches. Our floor finishes, like two-component clear waterbased urethane StreetShoe® NXT, can also increase durability by adding a layer of sacrificial protection!  StreetShoe NXT is available in 4 sheens: Gloss, Semi-Gloss, Satin, and Super Matte to satisfy any design need.

    Where you can find recycled wood for hardwood flooring?

    • Many times, old wood is found from property demolitions. Oak, cherry and chestnut are common woods found in old properties, and they all make great choices for hardwood floor. This wood is often bought by specialty buyers and then resold to end users for personal use.

    • There are a number of manufacturers that specialize in reclaiming wood.   Ask your local contractor or wood flooring distributor about their recycled wood options.

    As the old saying goes, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!” But what should you watch out for? 

    • Bug damage: Bugs will often be killed in the kiln-drying process; however, there can still be bug damage. When using recycled wood, some designers actually desire the look you can get from bug-damaged wood.  Whether you desire that look or not, make sure a qualified professional does a full inspection of the materials to check for loss of density and strength from insects prior to installation.

    • Length versus width versus thickness: Generally speaking, a professional wood flooring contractor can install just about anything anywhere if you can control the environment.  This includes short and thick, long and thin, and everything in between.  For the most part, as the flooring gets wider and thinner, it is less stable. 

    • Species: Obviously, the type of wood species plays a significant role in the look and performance of flooring.  Refer to the NWFA (National Wood Flooring Association) Wood Species Used in Wood Flooring Manual, as it gives all the specifics and options. 

    Real hardwood floors are a great option, but a recycled wood floor can be a “greener” option.  Regardless of your choice, Basic Coatings is the expert in staining, sealing, finishing, and maintaining your hardwood floor!  Please go to www.basiccoatings.com for ideas and complete product information.

  • The Solid Truth

    Dec 02, 2019

    gymshoe

    What exactly are solids? In waterbased hardwood floor coatings, solids are whatever is left on the floor after the coating cures. Solids are usually expressed as a percentage of weight; a coating with 50% solids will be half gone after it dries. Still confused? To put it simply, the higher the solids, the more coating you will have left on the floor after it dries. There are several myths floating around the hardwood floor finish industry regarding solids. Keeping this in mind, let’s examine the three biggest misconceptions about solids.

    Myth #1: The more solids, the better.
    Solids can be anything that does not evaporate during the curing process, so you have to look at what makes up the solids and what each of them does. Merely comparing finishes by percentage of solids is not an adequate test of their capabilities and performances. Finish solids are often a blend of several ingredients, each having a specific purpose. Many of these have nothing to do with how long a finish will last. These various ingredients help the finish resists scuffs, reduce bubbling, improve adhesion, alter clarity, regulate sheen, and last but not least, determine overall durability. Ingredients used to adjust sheen or to control bubbles, for example, may add to the solids, but they do nothing for the durability.

    Myth #2: Taber abrasion tests are always accurate.
    The only scientific data less reliable than a Taber abrasion test result is what you get from your local weatherman. The American Society of Testing and Material (ASTM) states that the accuracy of one Taber abrasion machine compared to another may vary up to a range of 90% to 106%. This is considered the normal range and means the tests can be off by 100% and still be considered accurate. These results can occur even when documented test procedures are used. In a nutshell, this is why we don’t value Taber abrasion tests as the one and only way to determine the durability of a finish.

    Myth #3: Pure urethane solids are best.
    Like the first myth, this one concerning urethane solids is also incorrectly based on the idea that “if a little of something is good, then a lot must be better.” Many people (and some manufacturers) think omitting acrylic will improve a waterbased coating. We’ve found the opposite to be true, and we are not alone.  Like most everything else you can buy, there are expensive acrylics and inexpensive filler acrylics, and the same is true for urethanes.  It is possible to have more expensive acrylics in a finish formula than the urethane used in the same formula. For flooring applications, urethane resins work best when blended with acrylics.

  • Simple Tips for Waterbased Users

    Nov 12, 2019

    wood floor

    When using waterbased finishes, the thing to keep in mind is that you are working with water. Equipment and techniques are slightly different than when working with OMUs. Whether you have never experienced using waterbased products or just want a refresher, here are some pointers to remember…

    • Grain raise is normal with waterbased coatings. Don’t fret about it, just anticipate it. Screening to 120-grit or finer is a good ending point before applying stain or waterbased coating. Always follow NWFA guidelines.

    • Just remember, once you apply your sealer or finish, don’t overwork the material, allow it to flow and wet itself out. Like they say, don’t watch a waterbased finish dry, just walk away.

    • Read the manufacturer’s directions for mixing your finish. Some recommend shaking, others recommend stirring, but everyone recommends some way of blending the product before application. This not only allows for ease of proper application, it also prevents final appearance issues like streaking or inconsistent sheen.

    • Clean and tack the floor before coating. It is even a good idea to clean the window sills and counter tops or any place where saw dust could have accumulated.

    • If using a T-bar, make sure to feather out your turns. Also, many contractors like to use rollers or paint pads as it’s easier to use and control versus a T-bar. It’s a personal preference.

    • Regardless of which tool you use, apply an even amount of pressure. Different pressures can lead to varying film thicknesses, which could lead to varying sheens. Be consistent with your application across the floor.

    • Try to achieve the recommended coverage rates. Finishes are designed to be applied at a specific film thickness. If you apply the finish at the recommended rate, it will have a better chance to flow and level.

    • Prior to application, make sure the jobsite temperature and humidity levels are acceptable. Also, make sure to turn off the HVAC system and close all windows and doors during application, which will keep the finish from drying too quickly. After about 30–60 minutes of no airflow, the finish should be level and will tack over, at which point the floor can be opened to airflow.

    • Use fans to move air across the room to help the finish dry and air out the room. A well-ventilated floor makes for a strong finish.

  • The Benefits of Wood Sealers

    Nov 01, 2019

    sealers

    There is a time and a place for everything, including waterbased wood sealers.

    In some cases, you may prefer to use more coats of finish instead of using a sealer. There are, however, plenty of reasons to use waterbased wood floor sealers on raw wood flooring, whether the floor is going to be stained or not. Reasons include cost, color, tannin blocking, proper adhesion, and preventing side-bonding. 

    Cost: Waterbased sealers are less expensive than waterbased finishes. When applying your first coat, the “thirsty” raw wood will generally absorb a lot of product. Filling those pores with less expensive product is just more economical. Additionally, if you screen to knockdown grain raise, you are screening off product and throwing it away. Again, it’s simply more cost-effective to use a less expensive product in that process. 

    Color: You can choose sealers based upon color as well. Some sealers are clear, some have a slight or heavy ambering tone, and some have a color pigment added that creates a certain look or effect prior to applying a finish and/or after applying a stain.

    Tannin: At times, you may have concerns about pulling tannin with waterbased sealers/finishes. That can happen with exotic species, but it is definitely a concern when coating white oak. If you have concerns about tannin, then definitely make sure your sealer is designed to resist pulling tannin. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

    Adhesion: Waterbased sealers are designed to penetrate and offer an excellent bond to the surface of the wood flooring or to stains. In turn, they create an excellent substrate for the finishes to bond to.

    Side-bonding: Waterbased sealers aren’t as strong as waterbased finishes by design, partly to help with application, but also to reduce concerns with side-bonding. Because sealers aren’t as strong, their tendency for side-bonding is dramatically reduced.

    As with any aspect of bringing a vision of wood flooring to life, there are circumstances that might warrant doing things differently. If you have any questions about this subject, please reach out to your local Basic Coatings® Regional Manager for a customized solution.

  • More Causes and Cures: Stain on the Brain

    Oct 24, 2019

    OOJ-618-WFB_JJ18-Techn-bleedback_Lg
    Photo credit: Joshua Crossman, PTL Hardwoods, Yelm, WA

    After all these years, handcrafted hardwood floors are still the flooring of choice for many and add value to any home. There are, however, several job site issues that can challenge any hardwood flooring professional. Let’s take a look at three stain-related job site challenges worth keeping in mind.

    Bleed Back
    Cause: Bleed back is an issue that can occur when staining wood floors. Stain that has penetrated into the open grain of the wood, fine cracks, and even into the tongue and groove between the boards can wick back up to the surface, forming wet dots or a wet line along the edge of the boards. Sometimes this doesn’t happen until after the sealer or first finish coat is applied. In essence, you might think the stain is dry, but if there are pockets of wet finish beneath the surface, it will most likely work its way to the surface at some point.

    Prevention: Inhibiting pockets of wet stain from forming below the surface is crucial, and applying the stain thinly and evenly is an excellent way to start. Some contractors prefer to buff in the stain to achieve an even and thin stain job. Not all stains can be buffed on though, so check the label instructions or contact the manufacturer to find out if a particular stain can be buffed.

    Cloudy or Hazy Finish
    Cause: A cloudy or milky finish can occur when a finish is applied over a stain that is not completely dry yet. The solvent from the stain can get trapped and will cause the finish to look cloudy or hazy as it’s trying to get out.

    Prevention: Allowing the stain more time to dry is the best option. Never rush dry times! Increasing airflow and ensuring that the job site has proper temperature and humidity helps as well. 

    Blotchy Stain
    Cause: Similar to cloudy or hazy finish, blotchy stain can occur when a finish is applied before the stain is completely dry. Blotches can also occur as a result of using wood species that do not evenly accept stain or from inconsistent sanding, water popping, or stain application.

    Prevention: Water popping the floor prior to applying the stain will help the wood absorb the stain and help you attain a more even tone. When water popping, be sure the moisture is gone before staining. Air movement and ventilation is important in getting stain to dry before top coating with a sealer or finish.