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Hardwood Floor Care Tips and Recommendations
  • Grain Raise, Go Away: Finish Aesthetics from the NWFA

    Jun 18, 2019

    Grain Raise_300x300_300dpi

    Like rain on a summer day, nothing will ruin a hardwood floor quite like grain raise. Grain raise occurs when some of the wood fibers swell and become elevated, so the surface feels rough to the touch. Grain raise is also accompanied by a dull appearance.

    So, what combination of circumstances created your grain raise perfect storm? Like usual, the answer is…it depends.

    Environmental issues:

    • It is simply a natural characteristic of wire-brushed or other sculpted floors.
    • A steam cleaner added moisture to the floor.

    Application issues:

    • Abrasion between coats did not adequately knock down the expected grain raise that results from water popping the floor or applying waterbased finishes, sealers, or stains.
    • Grits were skipped, the final sanding utilized an abrasive that was too coarse, or other sanding mistakes were made that rendered the process ineffective.
    • Oil finishes or finish systems were not properly applied or maintained.

    For certain textures, like distressed wood, roughness is no cause for distress. Otherwise, don’t let grain raise rain on your parade! Abrade the surface and then recoat. A full resand may also be necessary in some cases, depending on the severity of the issue. It’s important when addressing grain raise to know which way the wind blows:

    • The moisture content of the floor must reflect normal living conditions.
    • You must follow industry-accepted standards for sanding and finishing techniques as outlined by the NWFA and the recommendations of the manufacturer. When using Basic Coatings® HyperTone™ Stains, for example, we suggest using a thick red pad on a buffer about 15–20 minutes after applying stain to knock down any grain raise and smooth out the floor.

    Have other issues cast a dark cloud on your floors? Email us at social@basiccoatings.com with floor finish problems you’ve encountered, and we’ll select one each month to feature on our blog. If your finish issue is selected, we’ll name you in our post and also send you some Basic Coatings swag!

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

  • See You Later, Alligator: Finish Aesthetics from the NWFA

    May 07, 2019

    alligatoring_small

    Alligator print cycles on and off the runway but is never in fashion when it comes to your floors. Alligatoring, also known as crazing, is when a system of tiny, interconnected cracks appears in a floor finish, so that the surface texture resembles the skin of an alligator.

    So, what unleashed this reptilian beast on your hardwoods? It could be environmental, application-related, or the finish itself.

    Environmental issues:

    • The wood’s moisture content was too high during coating, which can result in water becoming trapped in the finish once the solvent has evaporated (also known as a coalescing problem).
    • The finish was applied to a floor that was too cold or at low ambient temperatures, which can also cause a coalescing problem.
    • The finish was applied at high ambient temperatures, causing the top of the finish to dry more quickly than the full depth, which can result in uneven shrinkage and internal stress.

    Application issues:

    • A compromised previous coat was ineffectively removed and is telegraphing through the top coat.
    • One or more coats were applied too heavily.
    • Not enough time was allowed to elapse between two or more coatings.

    Product issues:

    • The finish or catalyst was expired.
    • The finish contained insufficient solvent or solvent efficiency, which could be a result of manufacturing or exposure to improper conditions.
    • The product was not thoroughly mixed or was past its pot-life.
    • Excessive amounts of or the wrong catalyst or hardener was used.
    • Improper solvents or additives were added to the finish.

    Once alligatoring has sunk its teeth into your finish, your only option is to abrade the surface and then recoat. A full resand may also be necessary in some cases, depending on the severity of the issue and the number of coats affected. There are, however, a few steps that you can take to ensure the best outcome:

    • Ensure the conditions of the jobsite are optimal with respect to temperature, moisture, airflow, etc., consulting with the finish manufacturer as needed.
    • Choose an abrasion method that will completely remove imperfections and then proceed through the correct grit sequence.
    • Work at the spread rates appropriate for the finish as suggested by the manufacturer.
    • Allow each coat to dry sufficiently before applying another.
    • Double-check that the finish and catalyst have not expired and have been stored properly.
    • Thoroughly mix the product, using the correct catalyst or hardener in the correct amounts.
    • Keep track of the time elapsed since catalyzation, remembering to recatalyze or discard once finish is past its pot-life.

    Are other floor issues rearing their ugly heads? Email us at social@basiccoatings.com with floor finish problems you’ve encountered, and we’ll select one each month to feature on our blog!

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

  • What’s the Deal with Orange Peel? Leave a reply

    Apr 04, 2019

    orange-peel

    Oranges may be a great snack, but that doesn’t mean you want your floor to look like one! Orange peel is the pitting of a floor finish, so that the surface texture resembles that of citrus fruit.

    So, what made your floor a lemon? It could be application-related, environmental, or both.

     

    Application issues:

    • The roller was not suitable to be rolled, had the wrong size nap roller sleeve, or was used incorrectly.
    • The finish or sealer was overworked on the application surface, resulting in the formation of air bubbles within the applicator, which caused incomplete flowing out of the finish.
    • The finish was not applied according to the manufacturer’s recommended coverage rate and was either too thin or too thick.
    • The manufacturer’s recommended solvent additives or dry-time-extending retarders for unfavorable coating conditions were not used.

    Environmental issues:

    • The finish flashed-off too quickly due to hot, dry conditions.
    • The finish dried too slowly due to cool, damp conditions.
    • The finish or substrate was too cold at the time of application, which caused uneven flow and leveling.
    • The surface of the finish was skinned or otherwise disturbed by airflow.

    Once you discover those dreaded dimples, your only option is to abrade the surface and then recoat. A full resand may also be necessary in some cases. There are, however, a few steps that you can take to make sure your recoat bears fruit:

    • Confirm that you’re using the recommended roller with the correct size nap roller sleeve, and make the switch if you’re not.
    • Work at the spread rates appropriate for the finish as suggested by the manufacturer.
    • Verify that the product has adjusted to the proper temperature prior to application.
    • Ensure the conditions of the jobsite are optimal with respect to temperature, moisture, airflow, etc., consulting with the finish manufacturer as needed.
    • If necessary, utilize the proper solvent additives or dry-time-extending retarded.

    Don’t let orange peel and other floor woes make you bitter! Subscribe to the Basic Coatings blog using the form on the top-right of this page to receive notifications when new tips and tricks are posted!

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

  • Is Winter a-SALT-ing Your Floors?

    Feb 13, 2019

    Salt-Truck2-624x410
    When it snows, it salts. While salt trucks go about their business keeping the roads a little bit safer for all of us, it’s our floors that wind up in danger. As people come and go in a facility they stomp, shake and dump snow, slush and salt on floors everywhere. This can wreak havoc on both carpet and hard surface floors.

    A snowy, slushy mess doesn’t end after it dries as unmelted rock salt and stains can be left behind. The stains appear as white as snow across all types of floor surfaces. There is good news; these stains are actually preventable and your floors are savable. Salt stains are not harmful if attended to quickly.

    A great solution to this winter weather woe is to 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 residues are brought in by people entering the facility; a good entrance matting system can trap 90% of this dirt and debris that is brought in!

    A successful matting system includes:

    • A high thread count mat with a rubber back to avoid slipping
    • Keeping outside entries  clear by shoveling  snow and ice up to 25 feet away from the building
    • Scraper mats in your entries, which contain rough threads that will buy tadalafil usa trap more dirt and grime from shoes
    • Wider mats allow more time for shoes to dry before entering the facility
    • Regular maintenance cleaning can help regulate the amount of contaminants brought in—vacuuming floor mats daily can eliminate excess ice melt and dirt from entering the building

    It is important to keep in mind that hardwood floors are vulnerable during the winter. There is danger afoot due to a combination of increased moisture and salt that can potentially harm your hardwood floors and finish. A white film forming on the surface of the floor boards will appear from salt residue. The stain not only looks bad but if it remains too long it will begin to diminish the floor finish and shine. It is extremely important to use a matting system on high traffic entrances with wood floors. Keeping these entrances clean and free of debris, melted snow and slush is the most proactive step to protect your hardwood floor investment.

    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. Using a daily maintenance cleaner during the winter months is one of the most important steps to extend the life of your floors.

  • A Scrubber Designed for Wood Floors

    Oct 03, 2018

    Dirt-Dragon-Blog

     

    Product innovation can sprout from anywhere. It’s goal – being a solution to solve an unmet need. The story behind the Basic Coatings Dirt Dragon is no different.

    Let’s go back a few years to 1997 when the TyKote system was first developed. Back then, the cleaning process of the TyKote system was done by wrapping towels soaked in cleaning solution around push brooms and tacking the floor. Pretty labor intensive, right?

    But, bigger floors needed a bigger, better solution. This is where the idea for the Dirt Dragon was evolved.

    Basic Coatings saw an opportunity in markets like gym flooring, where large automatic scrubbers were needed for agitating the cleaning solution and extracting it from the floor. Knowing that scrubbing and extracting cleaning solutions is always better than mopping, the Basic Coatings team got to work to improve the TyKote system for the residential and commercial markets.

    The foundation of the TyKote system is to get beautiful floors with less mess, so the first task on the docket was to figure out how to ensure that the majority of the dirt and contaminants are removed from the floor instead of being left behind. This system would need a machine with superior mechanical agitation from the brush to help loosen unwanted dirt. One of the suggested improvements was to use a grout scrubber on wood floors.

    Dirt Dragon Numero Uno

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    The first Dirt Dragon was a grout scrubber that was designed for scrubbing and extracting tile floors. The brush movement from a cylindrical brush is superior to a rotary brush on floors like tile in order to be able to get deep into the grouted joints between tile.

    This first machine was successful at cleaning wood floors better than a mop and bucket, but it had some limitations. One of the main issues with this machine was that it was difficult to remove all water from the floor. Nonetheless, Basic Coatings had introduced an entirely new business model to flooring contractors and the system took off. This success led Basic Coatings to develop a scrubber that uniquely met the needs of wood floors.

    While the first Dirt Dragon was not the first scrubber to enter the market, it was the only scrubber uniquely designed to be used on wood floors. Every other competitive scrubber marketed to the wood floor industry was first sold as a hard floor scrubber by cleaning companies. This is the key factor that sets the Dirt Dragon apart in the industry.

    New and Improved

    Dirt-Dragon-New

    The development of the second generation Dirt Dragon had wood floors in mind first. The guiding principles for product development were:

    • Water and Wood – we were sensitive to the issue that wood is hydroscopic and excessive moisture can cause problems for wood floors.
    • Wood is Unique – wood is a unique surface that is different than tile, concrete or other hard surfaces. Wood can dent, splinter and scratch. The finishes can burnish or dull due to different types of abrasion.

    Understanding the uniqueness of wood led to all of the machine features that the Dirt Dragon is known for today, like:

    • Brush Type – brushes can come in many different specifications and Basic Coatings tested hundreds of different variations on different species of wood. The brush needs to be able to abrade the dirt without abrading the finish or scratching the wood. It needs to be flexible enough to get deep into open wood grain but stiff enough for cleaning performance. Different Brush Bristle Materials were tested. The amount of brush strands inserted into each brush holder hole were varied.
    • Brush Pattern – another brush characteristic is the chevron pattern of the bristles. The entire brush needs to be wet for cleaning. Once wet, the chevron design helps funnel the cleaning solution towards the vacuum port. This pattern was chosen due to our desire to remove all solution from the floor.
    • Vacuum Power – the vacuum is 2x stronger than what typically would have been specified for a floor scrubber. This ensures all solution is removed.
    • Squeegee Design – the machine has forward and reverse squeegee holders and 4 squeegee sides that completely surround the brush. This design really helps to contain the solution.
    • Flow Control – Most scrubbers have an on/off feature. The Dirt Dragon also has a flow control knob that allows the user to dial down the solution applied to the floor for sensitive floors.

    To learn more about the Basic Coatings Dirt Dragon or the TyKote system, click here!

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