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Hardwood Floor Care Tips and Recommendations
  • Stain Stigmas

    Jan 14, 2022

    Wood floor stain adds color and aesthetics to elevate the overall look of a floor. Stains are required when changing the color of the wood species.

    The most important part of staining is ensuring that it looks consistent across the entire finished floor. Note that color tones may vary from board to board or within an individual board due to the natural characteristics of wood. However, if the stain appears blotchy and uneven from one area of a finished floor to another, the customer may not be happy.

    Wood Grain

    Various wood species can accept stains differently. Wood species like maple, black cherry, and pine have grains that do not evenly accept stains. Maple has a tight grain that does not allow pigment from stains to fully penetrate the wood. Read more about staining maple wood floors. The swirling grain in black cherry tends to not accept stain well either. Pine has uneven and dense grain. Due to the natural characteristics of these wood types, there is no solution for an even stain.

    Woods like red oak, white oak, and hickory accept stains the best because they have a more open grain that allows the pigment to be soaked up through their large pores. Choose wood with an open grain for the best stain results.

    Sanding

    Sanding a wood floor is a necessary step when preparing to stain it. Poor and inconsistent sanding throughout the area is another cause of a blotchy stain job. Sanding imperfections will leave differentiations, which will affect how the stain is absorbed into the wood. Stain pigment will seep into the more sanded parts of a wood floor, especially if there are scratches or markings. Those areas of the floor will appear to be darker compared to other areas.

    To solve this problem, a resand of the entire wood floor may be necessary. Follow proper sanding guidelines to ensure the floor is evenly sanded and will accept stain uniformly.

    Water Popping

    Water popping is recommended for all wood species to “pop” the smooth and closed wood grain. As the wood absorbs the water, the wood cells expand and remain more open as the water evaporates. It can help stain penetrate the flooring deeper and more consistently. Inconsistently water popping on a wood surface can make stain appear unevenly because the wood grain is more open in some parts of the wood compared to other parts. When water popping, be sure to cover the entire floor. Avoid puddles and do not leave areas too dry. If the stain appears to be blotchy after the water popping method, a complete resand is needed.

    Finish Application

    Floor sealers or finish applied stain that is not fully dry may cause the color to bleed. Wet stains can move around and accumulate in different areas of the wood floor. The build-up will dry darker than the rest of the floor. Resanding the floor will fix this issue. Follow manufacturer recommended dry times to prevent this problem.

    Other

    Miscellaneous causes of stain blotchiness may include improper preparation, debris, and containments left on the floor before staining. These will cause the stain to not apply smoothly or dry correctly. Read more about debris and how to ensure your wood floor is free of containments.

    Many of the cures for the causes previously mentioned above include a complete resand of the wood floor. It is critical to make sure previous coatings are fully removed during the resand process. Follow the NWFA Wood Flooring Sand and Finish Guidelines and check out Basic University onsite classes for any upcoming trainings with NWFA about sand and finish procedures.

    HyperTone Stains

    Basic Coatings® HyperTone Stains™ is a water/oil hybrid wood floor stain line that delivers high-quality pigment, vibrance, and unrivaled color penetration on all wood floor species, including maple and oak, with the benefits of a water-based stain. Read more about how Basic Coatings water-based products work on every wood floor. This first-of-its-kind formula has a safe and easier application process with no PPE required and non-flammability, allowing used rags to be stored normally without the risk of combustion.

    HyperTone Stains also has unmatched versatility with the ability to create an endless amount of colors on commercial, residential, and sports floors. Visit our HyperTone Stain Color Gallery to view HyperTone Stains digitally on 3 different types of wood and click on a chip to see the specific formula that will achieve the color.

    For more information about HyperTone Stains or to speak with a Basic Coatings representative, please visit this link.

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

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

     

  • Detecting Debris in Floor Finish

    Dec 09, 2021

    Debris is a broad term that defines particles, contaminants, or artifacts that end up somewhere they are not supposed to be. Hardwood floors are just 1 of those many places that should not encounter heavy amounts of debris, especially while they are being coated with finish. Debris can cause raised bumps in the film of the wood floor finish if it's not properly removed before finishing it.

    In most environments where wood floors are coated, minimal amounts of debris are expected in any coat of finish. Regardless of the process, normal amounts of debris are found at the job site and will exist under, within, or on a newly applied coat of finish. Usually they will disappear over time as the wood floor endures normal wear and tear.

    To avoid having a large amount of debris in the work area, there are a few prevention methods to take, most important of which is adequately cleaning flooring surfaces. Squeaky™ Concentrate Floor Cleaner is a precleaner for wood floors during the coating process. Its formula is tough on a dirt but gentle on floors so it cleans a wood floor without leaving a residue. It can also be used for routine cleaning for dirt, grease, and scuff marks.

    To clean floors with Squeaky prior to coating, follow these steps:

    1. Sweep or vacuum the wood floor
    2. Mix 1 part Squeaky to 4 parts water in a bucket or other container
    3. Place several large towels or microfiber pads in the bucket
    4. Wring out towels until they are damp
    5. Wrap a towel around a broom and tack the floor until it is free of dirt and oil. To prevent the redeposit of dirt and oil, refold the towel using clean sides as needed
    6. When the floor is dry, it is ready for screening or application of finish

    Note: Do not pour Squeaky directly on the wood floor. Excess liquid may be damaging to the fibers. Use plenty of clean towels. Using dirty cleaning solution and dirty towels will redeposit oil and dirt.

    It is also important to clean window sills, countertops, door jams, shoes, and clothing prior to applying the final coat, and to control air movement in the jobsite to prevent airborne debris from landing onto a recently applied coat of finish. If debris is discovered after applying previous coats, it should be removed before the final coat application.

    Debris can come from the finish or applicator themselves. If a finish is unfiltered, improperly mixed, or is contaminated, there is a risk for dried bits of finish to be present. These particles are considered to be debris and will form raised bumps. Another common type of debris comes from applicators. Applicators can shed fibers that will wind up sticking to floor finish or getting stuck under it.

    Once debris is found in the final coat of finish, there are not many options to fix it. In more extreme cases, one way is to completely start over by abrading and recoating the floor. If the debris is affecting only a part of the floor, spot fixing may be the solution. Scrape off the finish on the specific area of the floor, where hair, dust, fibers, or other small pieces of debris were found, then recoat it. Before using these methods, be sure to follow all prevention steps before applying the final coat to avoid having debris present again.

    To get in contact with a Basic Coatings representative with questions about debris or Squeaky, please visit this link.

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

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

  • Pinning Down the Cause of Pin Holes

    Nov 10, 2021

    Pin holes are blemishes on the surface of floor finish that form when the film pulls back from a small area of the floor surface. This forms tiny indents that look like pins pierced the wood floor. The finished floor appears to look and feel uneven, ruining the overall appearance.

    Causes

    Many causes of pin holes stem from applying the finish too thick. If coats of finish are applied too thick, film builds up and solvents are not allowed to escape. It will not dry properly, forming these indents. Additionally, if the first coat of finish is not dry enough before the second coat is applied, the conditions are perfect for pin holes to form.

    Applying the finish in high temperatures is also a potential cause. Temperature can influence dry time because it can dry the finish too fast. If the finish does not dry as recommended by the manufacturer, it can cause pin holes or similar issues. Read more to learn about finish problems in warm temperatures.

    Some pin holes are naturally part of the wood being used for a wood floor. For example, pinworm holes are around 1/16 of an inch and form when a wood-boring insect lives and feeds on the living tree before it is cut down. Most hardwood flooring manufacturers only allow a specific number of pinworm holes because too many will cause moisture problems with the wood. Pin holes can also refer to other wood characteristics like nail holes and open grain.

    Prevention and Resolutions

    To prevent pin holes from forming, follow all finish manufacturer recommended directions when applying floor finish. Understand how much finish is needed to coat a floor and how much time is needed for the finish to dry properly. Know the recommended maximum and minimum temperatures to apply finish and be sure the environment is between those temperatures. Make sure the finish is also not too warm or too cold as well.

    Once pin holes form, repairs to the wood floor are needed. Before beginning, ensure the environment meets the finish manufacturer’s recommendations, including temperature guidelines. Scrape and recoat the floor using the proper applicator with the correct spread rates, both recommended by the manufacturer. Prior to recoating the affected areas, use an abrasive and scraper with the appropriate grit sequence to remove any pin holes from the floor. Once they are gone, refinish the floor. Check with the manufacturer for recommended repairs.

    Basic Coatings® water-based finishes have faster cure and dry times than oil-modified urethane (OMU) finishes. With fast dry times, more coats are able to be applied in a day.  It takes water-based 2–3 hours and OMU 6–24 hours to fully dry. On average, it takes 7 days for a water-based finish to fully cure and 30 days for OMU. Read more about the advantages of water-based finishes.

    To get in contact with a Basic Coatings representative with questions about pin holes and/or water-based finishes please visit this link.

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

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

  • Don’t Get Stuck with Sticky Board Syndrome

    Oct 19, 2021

    Imagine the last coat of finish on a new hardwood floor has been applied and it’s time to use the floor, but it feels sticky. This is known as Sticky Board Syndrome. Sticky Board Syndrome is a condition on a wood floor where the finish does not dry, adhere, cure properly, or appear the same on different areas of the board. Keep reading to learn about the causes, preventions, and resolutions, so Sticky Board Syndrome doesn’t plague your floor.

    Causes

    One potential cause of Sticky Board Syndrome is the type of wood used on the floor, like white oak wood. Wood species with an excess of tannic acid, natural oils, or sap can affect the finish’s drying and curing process. An imbalanced pH softens the finish and leaves it susceptive to irregular drying and curing.

    Some wood species have knots, a natural phenomenon that occurs in the grain of the wood from tree growth, which disrupt the drying and curing process. Wood species that have natural knots include pine, cedar, and Australian cypress.

    Contamination of the wood is also a potential cause of Sticky Board Syndrome. Contamination can occur when maintenance products, oil, grease, and other foreign substances are spilled or dripped onto the wood floor surface before or during finish application. When the wood floor is exposed to harmful elements, the wood floor finish cannot dry properly.

    Factory-finished and site-finished wood floor cured with an ultra violet (UV) finish is at risk for Sticky Board Syndrome. UV finish is applied to the wood and cured with a chemical reaction triggered by an UV light. If the correct light is not used or not used long enough, the wood floor will be insufficiently cured.

    Prevention

    To prevent Sticky Board Syndrome, there are a variety of options. Use a universal sealer on either the affected wood boards or over the entire floor. It will block the reaction between the wood and the finish that causes Sticky Board Syndrome. Using a tannin-blocking sealer will minimize the effects of tannic acid on the wood floor finish. Raw™ Sealer and Lock ‘N Seal™ are both tannin-blocking sealers to help with the prevention of Sticky Board Syndrome. Raw Sealer is best for saving the natural look of white oak, while Lock ‘N Seal assists wood species with heavy tannic acid. Read more about tannic acid. Basic Coatings® has a line of waterbased finishes, when paired with a tannin-blocking sealer, can prevent Sticky Board Syndrome. Read more about our waterbased products and characteristics.

    Resolutions

    If Sticky Board Syndrome has plagued the floor already and all other options are exhausted, work on the floor may be required. In some situations, a complete re-sand may be necessary to remove the finish and start over. A new finish system may need to be used if the previous caused the issues with the floor. It is important to read and follow the finish manufacturer’s directions for compatibility and proper use. If only a few wood boards are affected by Sticky Board Syndrome, the individual boards can be replaced.

    To get in contact with a Basic Coatings representative with questions about Sticky Board Syndrome, please visit this link.

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

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

  • A Spotlight on Wood Floor Sustainability

    Sep 14, 2021

    A sustainable home is one that uses resources that have a low impact on the environment. It includes the manufacturing, shipping, and installation of materials that will produce as little waste as possible. Whether a home or facility is currently being built or already standing, there are many elements to consider to make the structures more sustainable, including the type of floors and products used on the floors.

    Wood as a Renewable Resource

    Wood is one of the most sustainable building materials. It is a renewable resource that can be grown and harvested repeatedly. Wood can be reduced, reused, and recycled in countless ways, including as a floor. Hardwood floors serve as a sustainable option in homes and other facilities.

    When choosing the type of wood, take into consideration where the wood came from. Forest certifications are 1 way to differentiate between the types of wood and where it was sourced. These certifications signify that the forest management company is committed to taking every step to ensure that it is focused on the goal of sustainability. In the United States, there are 3 major forest certifications:

    Researching sustainability practices used by companies and manufacturers and where the wood is sourced from can also help determine if sustainability is a priority. It is also necessary to read labels. Terms like “non-toxic” may sound eco-friendly but can be misleading without additional research. The type of wood chosen for flooring also matters when it comes to sustainability.

    • Reclaimed wood is wood from a previous job. By reusing old wood, it’s not going to end up in a landfill.
      • Read more about using recycled wood and its advantages.
    • Maple trees are one of the most abundant trees in North America. Maple wood is sustainable because there are so many maple trees.
      • Read more about tips and tricks for staining maple floors.
    • Pine trees grow quickly, which makes them easier to replace.
    • Oak trees can be found in many forest-certified forests.

    Read more about the different kinds of sustainable wood here.

    Sustainable Products

    Water-based and oil-based, or oil-modified urethane (OMU), floor finishes are the 2 main types of finishes for hardwood flooring. Oil-based floor finishes contain more volatile organic compounds (VOC) that are emitted into the air when the product is opened, applied, and drying. According to the EPA, “Volatile organic compounds (VOC) means any compound of carbon, excluding carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, metallic carbides or carbonates, and ammonium carbonate, which participates in atmospheric photochemical reactions.” These fumes are harmful to the environment by contributing to pollution in the air and forming smog when combined with other elements in sunlight. It can also impact indoor air quality. When breathed in, high concentrations of VOCs can cause long term health issues for the lungs, liver, kidneys, and respiratory system. OMUs can also be dangerous because they contain distillates that are combustible or flammable. Rags and other applicators are at risk of spontaneous combustion if not properly disposed of or stored.

    Basic Coatings® water-based finishes and sealers are VOC and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) compliant. They contain fewer VOCs than traditional OMUs and can be used anywhere throughout North America. This makes them more sustainable because they are not releasing as many VOCs into the air. Lack of VOCs in water-based products means there is less of an odor and no flammability risk. The extra precautions needed to prevent worksite accidents from the dangers of OMUs are not needed when applying water-based products or for cleanup. Basic Coatings finishes are also N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP)-free. NMP is a coalescing solvent that, when exposed to or inhaled, can cause respiratory problems and skin irritation as well as chronic long-term health concerns. NMP is also a developmental toxicant that is unable to biodegrade, which becomes an environmental hazard. As a result, NMP-free water-based finishes and sealers are more eco-friendly and safer for contractors.

    Water-based products also have advantages beyond safety. There are faster cure and dry times so customers can use their floors quicker after application. The average complete cure time for water-based is 7 days, while OMU is 30 days. Water-based products can dry in 2–3 hours, as opposed to OMU in 6–24 hours. This allows for multiple coats of water-based finishes to be applied in 1 day, saving time and labor. Read more for tips for applying water-based finishes. With a water-based finish and sealer, floors will be resistant to wear and abrasion on residential, commercial, and sport floors. Tougher durability prevents scratches, scuffing, and erosion on wood floors. The floor’s appearance will also not yellow over time like with OMU finishes.

    StreetShoe® NXT leads in wood floor finish durability and fast curing time. Emulsion® PRO+ has many attributes of a traditional OMU including the same ambering, rich tones. HyperTone™ Stains is our water/oil hybrid stain line, the first of its kind. TyKote® Recoat Bonding Agent eliminates any toxic dust accumulation during application. View more of our sustainable products based on the type:

    View our complete product catalog here. For more information about Basic Coatings water-based finishes and sealers, click here.

    Basic Coatings is committed to helping the environment 1 floor at a time. We are a leader in sustainable products and solutions including finishes, sealers, and specialty products. Search for a National Wood Flooring Association professional to help you get started here. Learn more about our sustainability efforts here. To get in contact with a Basic Coatings representative with questions about water-based products and advantages, please visit this link.

    ¹ “What is the definition of VOC?”. 2021. epa.gov. https://www.epa.gov/air-emissions-inventories/what-definition-voc

     

  • Protect Your Floors, Protect Yourself and Others

    Aug 18, 2021

    The coronavirus pandemic and the current spread of the Delta variant have put a major emphasis on the importance of routine cleaning and disinfecting of all surfaces, especially those with high traffic. Information released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in April 2021 says, “The relative risk of fomite transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is considered low compared with direct contact, droplet transmission, or airborne transmission.” Even with a low risk of virus transmission via surfaces, the CDC still recommends “cleaning once a day is usually enough to sufficiently remove virus that may be on the surfaces and help maintain a healthy facility.”

    Floors, including hardwood, are considered one of the highest traffic hard surfaces where germs and bacteria can be tracked in from shoes, pets, and other outside substances. Disinfecting a wood floor may be harmful to the finish and shorten the overall lifespan of the floor. It is recommended to clean the floor with proper products and application methods to keep a wood floor free of unwanted contaminants and germs.

    Always check with the hardwood floor or finish manufacturer for recommendations on the type of cleaner to use on hardwood flooring. It should be specifically approved for hardwood floor surfaces to avoid damaging the floors.

    Avoid using cleaning products with bleach or aerosols because it can leave discoloration, haziness, or permanent damage to hardwood floors. Antimicrobial products with ingredients like ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, peroxyacetic, and sodium hypochlorite should not be used on hardwood floors. For more information about what to use and what to avoid on your hardwood floors, click here.

    Intensive Floor Treatment (I.F.T.) Floor Cleaner and Squeaky™ Concentrate Floor Cleaner together are a 2-part deep cleaning system to thoroughly and safely clean hardwood floors. Each product is designed to remove different types of soils and contaminants on hardwood floors. I.F.T. is an aggressive cleaner that removes soils like heavy grease, oils, waxes, and dirt. Squeaky is used for routine cleaning of dirt, grease, and scuff marks without leaving a residue. Read more about the advantages of Squeaky.

    Clean wood floors in only a few steps:

    1. Prepare your floor for the cleaning process by removing debris from the floor with a broom or vacuum.
    2. Start with I.F.T., diluting it using a ratio of 4 parts water to 1-part I.F.T.
    3. Wrap a push broom with a dampened towel of the I.F.T. dilution and tack the floor until it is clean.
    4. Rinse the floor with clean water.
    5. Repeat step 3 with Squeaky and do not rinse, since there is no leftover residue.

    While applying cleaning products, do not oversoak the mop or towels to avoid excessive water. If using a spray mop, it should have good control over the amount of solution applied with absorbent pads. Do not use a steam mop due to the possibility of injecting water further into cracks and crevasses that will damage the floor and finish.

    To get in contact with a Basic Coatings representative with questions about I.F.T., Squeaky, or wood floor cleaning products or processes, please visit this link.

    ¹ “Science Brief: SARS-CoV-2 and Surface (Fomite) Transmission for Indoor Community Environments”. 2021. CDC.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/science-and-research/surface-transmission.html

    ² “Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility”. 2021. CDC.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/disinfecting-building-facility.html

  • Craters and Fisheyes: Double Trouble

    Jul 22, 2021

    Craters and fisheyes are visible imperfections on the surface of wood floor finishes that resemble small circular indentations. The rounded dips in the floor are known as craters (pictured top), while the small bumps are known as fisheyes (pictured bottom). Craters and fisheyes are common issues with hardwood floors, but they can easily be avoided by following proper procedures. The root causes are problems with finish, application, and contamination.

    CraterFisheyes

    Causes

    Finish

    Check the expiration date of the finish and be sure it has been stored in temperatures and an environment recommended by the manufacturer, or else it can increase the risk of these 2 finish flaws. Consult the manufacturer for recommended thinners, dry-time extenders, bond-enhancers, and other substances, if additives are needed. The wrong kind of substance or too much of 1 substance can contribute to these phenomena. Craters and fisheyes can also stay visible if existing ones were not removed before applying subsequent coats.

    Application

    An inadequately cleaned applicator is another reason craters and fisheyes appear. If the applicator was cleaned with a solvent that is incompatible with the finish, it can increase the risk of imperfections appearing on the surface, or excess water from washing the applicator may imbalance the finish defoamer system.

    Craters and fisheyes can also form when finish is applied over a not-yet-cured finish or sealer, or if trapped air or solvent bubbles burst but don’t level out in time. Read more about the curing stages of finish here. It can also be a problem if a finish is coated over an incompatible finish or sealer such as:

    • Perfluorooctane sulfonate
    • Wax finished with urethanes or oils
    • Natural oils finished with incompatible urethanes
    • Incompatible finishes from different manufacturers

    Click here to read more tips for applying finish.

    Contamination

    Wood floor surfaces can become contaminated when foreign substances such as maintenance products, grease, oils, polishes, soaps, sweat, and other contaminants are present before coating or have been introduced between coats. These contaminants can be dripped, spilled, or over-sprayed onto the floor surface prior to or during finish application. Contamination can also occur during mixing or packaging. 

    Resolution and Prevention

    If craters and fisheyes are discovered on the wood floor, there are a few options that may help resolve them.

    • Screen and recoat the floor with manufacturer recommended applicators and spread rates.
    • With a coarse to medium-grit abrasive, scrape or sand the area of the wood floor then move upward in grit sequence. If necessary, recoat and consult the finish manufacturer for final abrasives suggestions.
    • A contaminated floor or finish may require sanding in order to remove the contamination and start the finishing process from raw wood. In cases where the floor cannot be resanded, replacement of the affected areas may be necessary.
    • Fill the floor to block contaminates in voids or between boards with a trowel.

    To prevent craters and fisheyes from forming, follow all manufacturer directions and recommendations prior to and during application, including conditions for applying finish and storage. Ensure the applicator is thoroughly cleaned before applying and avoid contact with substances that are not supposed to be on the floor.

    To get in contact with a Basic Coatings representative with questions about preventing craters and fisheyes, please visit this link. For more information about the advantages of water-based finishes and sealers, click below:


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

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

  • Getting the Red Out of Brazilian Cherry

    Jul 06, 2021

    From the mid-1990s to around 2005, Brazilian cherry—also known as Jatoba—was extremely popular and installed in many homes built or renovated during that time. The Brazilian cherry wood floors and rich red, orange, and cherry tones trend has faded, and for those wanting a change, the solution may be easier than it seems. 

    When a contractor is faced with a Brazilian cherry floor, painting it black or bleaching it seem like the only options. Black may not be the first choice for a customer’s new floor, and bleach is an extra step that will increase time, work, and risk factors. Contractors can stain a Brazilian cherry floor to obtain the new color their customer wants by using the color wheel and our wide variety of HyperTone™ Stains

    The Color Wheel

    The color wheel is a useful tool to determine what color masks the red of the Brazilian cherry the best. The primary colors are red, yellow, and blue and the complementary colors are green, purple, and orange. As seen in the image on the right, the primary colors and complementary colors sit opposite on the color wheel. The colors directly across from each other will “cancel out” when applied over the other. Using this logic, Brazilian cherry floors can transform to the desired color.

    Green is directly across from red on the color wheel. It is key to 2 popular stain mixtures below for Brazilian cherry, because it cancels out red. With HyperTone Stains primary colors, achieving the green-toned stain is possible. Mix 4 parts of Yellow and 1 part of Blue. Adjust the color by adding more Yellow or Blue until the correct color is attained.

    Bleached Look

    Create a bleached color floor without the bleach. Add 60 parts of White to 1 part green to achieve the bleached look. For floors with a heavier red color, add 1 part Slate or Tobacco to the mix to help mask the red even more. 

    Brown

    To get a brown color without a red undertone, use 2 parts of Onyx mixed with 1 part Yellow. Because dark wood stains like Onyx have deep black pigments that derive from a dominant blue base, mixture with yellow will create a green tone. 

    Darker Brown

    Use Tobacco, a very dominant, opaque stain that can be applied on its own. Adding a small amount of white can assist in covering the red if needed.

    Gray

    Mix 6 parts White with 1 part Slate to create a paint-like tone that will mask the red. A gray color naturally covers color well, which is why it is often used as a primer on dark-painted walls as opposed to white primers. 

    General Tips

    Keep in mind the following tips to assist you in successfully staining Brazilian cherry.

    • Sanding a floor will determine if more or less pigment will penetrate the wood. Check how much sanding is required. Read more about sanding and other procedures on exotic floors here.
      • Pro Tip: If your normal abrading sequence does not allow the stain to penetrate and adjust color effectively, try lowering grit size for final pass/preparation. For example, if 120 grit is your normal final grit size, try keeping it at 100 grit. This will allow for more stain to penetrate into the floor.
    • Create test formulas to find the best ratio of colors that match the desired color. Click here to read more about using a test area to determine if the color is correct.
    • Use a Clear Base to add transparency or cut color concentration as opposed to a Neutral base, because the latter contains warm tones that will alter the color. 

    By manipulating HyperTone Stains and the color wheel, Brazilian cherry can be masked and transformed into a different color. Curious about red oak floors or tinting? Watch a webinar here and check out our blog post about tinting with HyperTone Stains here.

    If you have questions about HyperTone Stains, please click here to fill out the online form, and your Basic Coatings Regional Manager will reach out to you.

  • Shining a Light on Uneven Sheen

    May 20, 2021

    The application of the final finish coat should be the last step in achieving stunning hardwood floors, but what if the sheen is not consistent? A hardwood floor can appear to have uneven sheen and gloss levels across the surface immediately or long after the final coat dries. This could be related to the finish itself, application errors, and/or other issues.

    Causes

    Finish

    There are several factors to be aware of before applying any finish. The finish should not be expired and be stored at the recommended temperature and environment. Check to make sure all the gallons being used are the same sheen, preferably with the same batch codes.  Regardless of sheen level, make sure you mix and disperse the products thoroughly per manufacturer’s directions Also, note that changing sheens between coats can affect the consistency of the final sheen.

    If the finish needs additives, like dry-time extenders, catalyst, etc., only use those recommended by the manufacturer in the specified amounts. 

    Application

    Check average temperature at the job site. High temperatures and excessive air movement can dry the finish too quickly and possibly result in uneven flow and inconsistent leveling/sheen on the wood floor. Cooler temperatures will affect the finish as well. To learn more about how temperature can affect the finish drying process, click here.

    In preparation for application, make sure the applicator has not been contaminated and that the finish is properly mixed. Be certain that any previously applied coat is completely dry to avoid trapping solvents that create an uneven sheen level. After the finish has been properly mixed, apply the finish with an even amount of pressure. Different pressures can lead to thickness inconsistencies across a floor, leaving visible sheen variations.

    For jobs that require more than 1 gallon of finish, it is a best practice to correctly bundle and batch the finish by pouring all of it into a larger container. Sheen can vary from container to container. By combining them into 1, it will help ensure a more consistent sheen level.

    Other

    The following issues can also cause uneven sheen and levels of gloss.

    • Heavy foot traffic
    • Uneven sanding
    • Natural characteristics of the wood used
    • Natural oils from exotic wood that influence the drying process
    • Cracks or voids that were left unfilled
    • Optical illusions from lighting, height, elevation, etc.

    Prevention and Resolution

    To prevent an uneven gloss, consider the job site and its conditions before starting. Evaluate any factors that could affect the drying of the finish. Research the wood species being used to be aware of any characteristics that could influence the final result.

    If the floor appears to have an uneven sheen and gloss level, double-check that all cleaning procedures are being followed and use cleaning products recommended by the manufacturer. For a quick and easy solution, TyKote® Recoat Bonding Agent may be applied with another coat of finish on top to correct any inconsistencies. TyKote produces zero dust and does not require the use of heavy equipment or intensive labor for application. It can be applied to almost all hardwood flooring and only takes half a day to complete a refinish job. For more information about the TyKote Dust-Free Refinishing System, click here.

    As another solution, a contractor utilized HyperTone™ Stains to tint finish and resolve a color and sheen variance in a home. Read more here.

    For older floors that appear to have lost their sheen, sunlight exposure may be to blame. Overexposure to the sun can affect the look of your floors, including the sheen level. Read more here to learn how to protect your floors from sun exposure.

    If you have questions about how to prevent or fix uneven levels of sheen and gloss, please click here to fill out the online form, and your Basic Coatings Regional Manager will reach out to you.


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

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

  • 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).

     

  • 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.

  • 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.

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