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5 Simple Ways to Prevent Applicator/Finish Streaks: Finish Aesthetics from the NWFA

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Sep 24, 2019

applicator streaks

Applicator/finish streaks is a term used to describe visible lines or ridges in the finish that are caused by the application tool used to apply the coating. This type of surface effect is caused by a thicker line of finish being applied along the edges of the applicator, such as a T-bar, roller, or paint pad not leveling or flowing out upon drying. This surface defect is made worse by fast-setting environmental conditions during coating, i.e., high temperatures and/or low humidity. If it dries too fast, the normal ability of the finish to flow out is impaired.

If you are experiencing these types of issues, you have come to the right place. Here are a few simple prevention techniques that can save you from a streaky floor:
• Make sure all applicator tools (pads or rollers) are clean and soft all over. Not cleaning thoroughly can cause hard spots that can leave distinct lines in the finish.
• Allow the finish to acclimate to room temperature. If the finish is too hot, it might not level out properly.
• If the sun is shining through a window onto the floor, cover the window or coat the floor when the sun is not shining on the floor. If the floor is too hot, the finish might not level out properly.
• Restrict air flow when applying the finish. This will allow the finish to flow and level out properly. A good rule of thumb is to increase airflow about 30 to 45 minutes after your complete application of finish.
• Be mindful of your applicator technique. Never leave lines across grain where possible and feather-out as needed. 

If you are still experiencing applicator/finish streaks, we recommend you contact a Basic Coatings® representative to further assess your needs.

Source: NWFA’s “Problems, Causes and Cures 2018”