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Simple Tips for Waterbased Users

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Nov 12, 2019

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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.