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  • Taking Care of Sealer and Finish, Every Day

    May 13, 2022

    Wood floor sealer and finish can make or break a floor. Sealer and finish serve as lines of defense against floor traffic by creating protective layers when applied. It is important for wood floor contractors to properly store and prepare wood floor sealer and finish prior to starting a new project, or else the result may not be what was desired, or the floor may not hold up over a long period of time. Continue reading to learn more about what to do before applying wood floor sealer and finish.

    Packaging

    The packing of a product is the first thing a customer sees when they are viewing or ordering a product. Although some customers may be more focused on the product itself, the packaging is still an important part of the manufacturing process. It provides essential information, like the product name, ingredients, directions, batch codes, etc., and protects a product during transit and storage.

    Basic Coatings has brightly colored packaging to make identifying products on the shelf easier. The front label contains the product description, gloss levels, and features for easy reference. The side and back labels contain preparation, mixing application, and floor care instructions specific to each product. Manufacturer information can also be found on the label, along with the batch codes. The batch codes are a combination of numbers and/or letters that are used to identify a set of identical mass-produced products. Basic Coatings uses the Julian date because is it the continuous count of days since the beginning of the Julian period. It’s the best way to check the shelf life of a product because the code contains the year and the day the product was made.

    • Batch Code example: 18039
    • 18 = Year
    • 039 = The day the product was made during the year
    • 18039 = February 8, 2018
    • For convenience, download the Julian Date app

    Be sure to always check the batch code before using the product. The Julian date makes it easy to calculate the difference in dates by subtracting the numbers to find out how old it is. Basic Coatings products have a 1-year shelf life and should be used within a year of the batch code/manufacturing date.

    In the wood floor industry, floor products can be purchased in many different package types and sizes. At Basic Coatings, it is common for wood floor sealers and finishes to be available in 1-gallon bottles and 5-gallon pails. A contractor will select the size that best works for them and their current project. Once the product is received by the contractor, it must be stored correctly and prepped prior to application.

    Storage

    It is important to take care of floor sealer and finish to ensure the product is working to the best of its ability during and after application. If not, it can ruin a project and cause additional time and money to be spent fixing what went wrong.

    When a product is purchased and/or delivered to a contractor or distributor, it will most likely be stored away until it is needed. Basic Coatings recommends that a wood floor sealer or finish should be kept in a room with a temperature under 120 degrees Fahrenheit and above 35 degrees Fahrenheit. More specifically, temperatures between 50 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 degrees Fahrenheit is most ideal for storage. If a product becomes frozen or heat-damaged, it cannot be revitalized and used.

    It is recommended to store wood floor products in a temperature-controlled room, like a warehouse. Do not store products in attics, garages, in direct sunlight, or near appliances like a water heater or furnace.  

    Blending Ingredients

    If you have any additives for your floor sealer or finish, it will require blending to ensure it is dispersed evenly throughout the formula. In addition to any required catalyst, water can be added to Basic Coatings sealers and finishes to help with the application. In waterbased finishes, water is what is used to disperse the solids into a liquid state. It helps increase flow and level time when applying the product. Adding extra water to a sealer or finish is especially helpful when job sites have higher temperatures or lower humidity extra water will give you a longer open time. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to see how much water can be added per gallon.

    HyperTone Stains is also a common additive when used as a tint in specifically approved Basic Coatings waterbased finishes. When tinting finish, mix the products separately according to the label directions prior to combining. Next, combine the products by pouring them into a large container and continue blending with a stir stick until products are mixed and uniform in color. For more information about tinting finish with HyperTone stains, click here.

    It should be noted that 2-component finishes StreetShoe® NXT and PureMatte have a pot life of 24 hours, after which the catalyst slowly becomes less effective as it reacts with the water and polymer in the system. You can re-catalyze these two products, however, we recommend only re-catalyzing one time, and that re-catalyzed finish should be reserved for base coats when possible. XL Catalyst/Hardener is a second component used to re-catalyze various Basic Coatings products. It should be added slowly while stirring the finish with a clean stir-stick. For more information about re-catalyzing, click here.

    Stirring

    Stirring sealer or finish is important for a flawless application. Thoroughly stirring a floor sealer or finish is important because it will re-disperse any settlement of ingredients in the bottle or pail. Use a stir stick or rock the container to stir the product several times before application. It can be challenging to mix a large container of floor sealer or finish due to the size. To help with this, paddle attachment with a drill can be used. Insert the paddle into the spout of the 5-gallon pail and turn on the drill to thoroughly stir the floor product. It’s recommended to occasionally stir the product during use to prevent settling.

    Shaking the product is also an option. If shaking is the preferred method, shake well and let the product sit for at least 20-30 minutes.

    Basic Coatings Sealers and Finishes

    Basic Coatings has revolutionized waterbased technology by offering a variety of waterbased stains, sealers, and finishes that have the ability to stand the test of time on multiple kinds of wood floors. Waterbased advantages include:

    • Increased resistance to wear and abrasion
    • Less volatile organic compounds are emitted compared to OMUs
    • Faster cure and dry times which allows less downtime and more coats of waterbased finishes to be applied
    • Non-flammable
    • Less yellowing and dries clear

    To learn more about the storage and preparation of floor sealer and finish, click here to fill out an online form to speak with a Basic Coatings representative.

  • Basic Coatings® Certified for a Greener Earth

    Apr 22, 2022
    Emulsion PRO+ and VersaSeal side by side with the Mas Certified Green logo and Basic Coatings logo above them

    Earth Day reminds us of the importance of going green and practicing sustainable habits to better the Earth for ourselves and future generations. We accomplish this by recycling, using green products, and many other strategies that have been recommended by organizations who work hard to help with sustainability.

    In the wood floor industry, we can be mindful of sustainability through the products used on the job site. More specifically, products used inside a facility or home can contribute to poor indoor air quality, which can be harmful to you, your customers, and building occupants. The MAS Certified Green® accreditation ensures a healthier indoor environment.

    What is Mas Certified Green®?

    All Basic Coatings® floor finishes and sealers recently earned the MAS Certified Green accreditation for a healthier indoor environment. MAS Certified Green and its well-known green leaf logo were created to help consumers identify products that have been manufactured and designed to specifically reduce chemical emissions in indoor environments. Product types that can earn this certification include interior construction products, furniture, and furnishings.

    In collaboration with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Standard Method, the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association, and the California EPA referenced by the US Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED and CDPH, MAS Certified Green formulated a set of rigorous product testing requirements, protocols, and standards. Testing is conducted by Materials Analytical Services, LLC, using samples of the products that are going through the certification process.

    Types of Testing

    Testing is both static and dynamic to help determine the type and concentration of chemical compounds that are potentially off-gassed from finished products and raw materials into the indoor environment. Static testing involves the measurement of emissions during short flash emissions, while dynamic testing involves placing a sample in a chamber to monitor off-gassed emissions over a long period of time. This testing helps predict air concentrations in the future by establishing decay curves for the materials tested.

    Using a chamber to test for emissions was originally developed by the EPA to assess the off-gassing of hazardous chemicals from building and interior finish goods. Today, it is now required for certain construction and interior finish materials manufactured and used in the state of California. It is also necessary to promote Green Building under the USGBC LEED program and many International Standards in Europe or Asia.

    A measuring cup with a clear liquid in it, labeled CH20 Formaldehyde

    Volatile Organic Compounds

    Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are the biggest driving factor for emission testing because VOCs are emitted into the air as a product is opened, applied, and dries. They contain a variety of chemicals that may have short-term and long-term health effects. Some include irritation, organ damage, cancer, headaches, and dizziness. The EPA reports that the indoor concentration of VOCs can be up to 1,000 times higher than what it would be outdoors.

    Formaldehyde is one of the best-known VOCs and one of the few indoor air pollutants that can be measured. It is a strong-smelling, colorless gas found in many non-waterbased wood products. At even the lowest levels of formaldehyde exposure, it can be irritating to the eyes, noses, throats, and skin or potentially trigger an asthma attack. Exposure to high amounts of formaldehyde has been linked to some types of cancer, including nose and throat cancer and leukemia.

    Green Products

    Besides mandated emission testing, products that meet the MAS Certified Green standards are considered to be “green” products. Green products have gained popularity due to their ability to minimize environmental impact. Some characteristics of green products include reducing the number of toxins released, disposed of, or consumed, containing recycled materials, reducing wastes, conserving energy or water, and using less packaging. These aspects have sparked an interest and a demand from consumers because it is one way consumers can do their part in helping the environment.

    Mas Certified Green Logo

    The MAS Certified Green offers Basic Coatings a sustainable advantage over many competitors. Each Basic Coatings sealer and finish meet the stringent testing and qualifications for VOCs emissions and are compliant with:

    • The criteria of the MAS Certified Green program
    • LEED v4.1 ID+C, BD+C
    • LEED TVOC Emissions at 14-days
    • CHPS 2019 Core Criteria 3.0 EQ C6.1.5

    To signify that Basic Coatings products are part of the MAS Certified Green program, the logo is displayed on each product page. The logo assures that the products are certified for low VOC emissions. Basic Coatings MAS Certified Green products include:

    At Basic Coatings, we are committed to improving the environment one floor at a time. View the official MAS Certified Green Certificate of Compliance here. To learn more about MAS Certified Green, please click here to visit their website.

    In addition, Basic Coatings’ complete line of waterbased products contain less than 275 VOC and are NMP-free, meaning there are fewer harmful fumes and low odor. Other waterbased advantages include faster dry and cure times, long-lasting durability, less yellowing, and non-flammability. Click here to learn more about our sustainability promise. If you have questions about our waterbased products, sustainability, or the MAS Certified Green program, please click here to fill out the online form, and your Basic Coatings Regional Manager will reach out to you.

     

  • Diagnosing White Line Syndrome

    Mar 21, 2022

    The white lines that appear between wood board edges of site-applied finishes on wood floors is commonly known as White Line Syndrome, or WLS. This issue can be a headache for contractors because it ruins the overall look of the floor and needs to be dealt with. There are a few reasons why WLS can occur on wood floors. Continue reading to learn more and how to keep it from happening.

    Trapped Solvents

    Solvents from stains and finishes that are trapped and unable to evaporate can lead to WLS. Although both oil-based and waterbased stains can pool in between boards, cracks, seams, butt-joints, or filled knot holes, oil-based stain takes a much longer time to dry completely. Waterbased stains dry quicker than oil-based stains because water evaporates faster than oil. Oil-based stains, sealers, and finishes also generally contain more solvents than waterbased products. In addition, coating a floor with finish before the solvents from a previously applied product have evaporated will trap them, causing WLS and cloudy lines between wood boards.

    To help with the drying process and to ensure stains and finishes are completely dry, use strategically placed fans pointed at the wet floor. Creating a good airflow across the surface of the floor helps accelerate the drying process. Good ventilation is crucial during any wood floor project to help with the drying phase. There are a few tricks to determine if floor stain or finish has dried. Traditionally, a contractor might take a white rag, wipe the floor and see if any color from the stain is pulled onto the rag. This strategy tests the dryness of the floor surface, but it does not work for the gaps in the floor. Try using a vacuum test in several locations of the wood floor to see if any liquid is pulled to the surface. Simply add a white rag on the end of a vacuum hose and see if any liquid/stain in the tongue-and-groove of soft grains areas of the wood can be pulled up. If liquid is pulled, the floor needs more time to dry. Test if the floor finish is dry by using a moisture meter and/or feeling the floor. If the moisture meter achieves the readings required, or if the finish does not move or leave any marks from your hand, it has dried enough.  

    Moisture

    The wood’s Equilibrium Moisture Content (EMC) is critical to reaching a point of balance with humidity in the environment. With more humidity in the air, the wood will absorb the moisture and expand. With less, it will release moisture and induce shrinkage, resulting in gaps between the floorboards. Once the wood reaches its EMC, it will stabilize and changes in the wood will cease. However, if the humidity in the environment shifts drastically, the EMC will become unstable, and finishes may stretch over resulting gaps instead of breaking, causing the white lines to appear.

    Utilize a wood moisture meter to check the wood for excessive moisture before applying coatings to reduce the risk of WLS. Post-application issues, such as leaks or improper maintenance, can also affect EMC and cause WLS. The use of steam mops, for example, will force vapor moisture into and between boards. Read more about how temperature and humidity can affect a wood floor.

    "Once WLS appears on a floor, the only option is to treat it. "

    Loss of Adhesion

    When a wood floor experiences vertical or lateral movement between boards, finish may begin to lose adhesion and turn white. It can also start chipping or peeling. Peeling can be the source of other problems as well. Read more about peeling here.  

    Adhesion issues can occur when finishes are used over oil-based stains or previous coatings that have not dried or cured sufficiently. Contamination between the seams of the boards and poor inter-coat abrasion along the edges of adjoining boards result in finish adhesion failure and WLS. As previously mentioned, making sure the floor is dry will help prevent adhesion issues and WLS.

    Cures for WLS

    Once WLS appears on a floor, the only option is to treat it. If the finish appears to be stretching, break the finish at the gaps to allow any trapped solvents to be released and then reapply a new coating recommended by the finish manufacturer. Resand the area of the floor affected if necessary.

    To help prevent WLS, be sure to address seasonal fluctuations and movement between boards. If these factors are unavoidable, use a less-elastic finish to minimize the effects. Opt for an aziridine 2-component finish rather than an isocyanate 2-component finish, because it is less likely to cause issues. We recommend using StreetShoe® NXT and GymShoe®. Do not apply a more elastic finish on top of a less-elastic one. Always use a sealer before applying a finish to help wood boards separate so there is a cleaner break of the finish. We recommend using VersaSeal™, Hydroline® Sealer, Raw™ Sealer, or Lock N’ Seal™.

    For fast drying stain, apply Basic Coatings® HyperTone™ Stains. HyperTone Stains are ready to walk in as little as 30 minutes, while oil-based stains can take up to 24 hours to dry. Unlike oil-based stains, HyperTone Stains are non-flammable and safer for yourself and your customers. Read more about the dangers of oil-based stains and the benefits of waterbased.

    Using the right finish or stain and maintaining the environment’s conditions will help prevent WLS from occurring. If you have questions about how to prevent or fix White Line Syndrome, 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

     

  • The Dangers of Oil-Based Stains

    Mar 07, 2022

    Safety is always a huge priority when working on any project, including a wood floor job. Keeping yourself and your customers safe while working is critical. A standard part of a wood floor job is the actual staining of the wood for aesthetic purposes. Oil-based stains are the most traditional stains and are known to be extremely flammable, smelly, and dangerous if not properly stored or used. Continue reading to learn about the risks of using oil-based stains and how waterbased stains are a safer alternative.

    Ingredients

    Oil-based stains consist of petroleum distillates, varnish, and linseed oil. Each contribute to the danger of oil-based stains. Petroleum distillates are colorless, flammable liquids that cause mild gasoline or kerosene-like odor when the oil-based stain is applied. When petroleum distillates are inhaled, ingestion, or come in contact with the skin or eyes, it can irritate eyes, nose, and throat and cause dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, nausea, and dry, cracked skin.

    Varnish is the combination of resins, oils, and solvents that creates the transparent, hard, protective film on a wood floor after application. Many varnish products contain benzene, a highly flammable carcinogen. It also emits a strong odor with intense fumes that cause drowsiness, headaches, skin irritation, and dizziness. High exposure can even cause unconsciousness and respiratory distress.

    Linseed oil is derived from dried seeds of flax plants and is a carrier in many oil-based paints and stains. When linseed oil is exposed to air, it combines with oxygen molecules that cause a chemical reaction, creating heat. The heat can cause a fire on a flammable object, like a rag, at as low as 120 degrees Fahrenheit without a spark.

    "The heat can cause a fire on a flammable object, like a rag, at as low as 120 degrees Fahrenheit without a spark."

    Clean Up

    To apply stain, a rag or cloth is normally used. A contractor will dip it into the container of stain and wipe it onto the wood. The process is repeated until finished. What can you do with the oil-soaked rags? Most would just assume they should be thrown out or stored away for the next job. This is when a staining project becomes more dangerous. If not properly disposed of or stored, as the rags begin to dry, the combination of heat, oxygen, and cloth can lead to spontaneous combustion and start a fire. As mentioned above, linseed oil can spark a fire just by being exposed to the air.

    According to the National Fire Protection Association, an estimated 14,000 fires occur annually from spontaneous combustion. For home structures, the garage was the most common area of origin (20% of fires) and oily rags were the most common items first ignited (35%). To prevent spontaneous combustion, oil-based stain rags must be stored and disposed of in a specific way.

    • Rags should not be in a pile
    • Keep them outside and away from building structures
    • Put dried rags in a metal container that is airlocked and sealed
    • Keep the containers in a cool place out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources

    Removing oil-based stains or cleaning up spills requires a solvent, like mineral spirits that dissolve oil, and quick thinking to eliminate a potential fire hazard. There are many different methods and options, but they require additional supplies and steps to be successful.

    Odor

    Volatile organic compounds (VOC) are emitted into the air as soon as the can of stain is opened. They’re also emitted when the stain is applied and then again as it dries. As an oil-based stain dries, the solvents evaporate and release VOCs into the air, contributing to air pollution and a strong solvent smell.

    VOCs are carbon-containing substances that become vapors or gases and assist with the application and drying of stains. When combined with other pollutants, smog can form and create even more environmental and health problems. VOCs contain the solvent odor that comes from oil-based stains. It is an unpleasant scent that could last for months or even years after stain application. It can be irritating for the people who smell the odor and inhaling fumes are harmful to human health. Prolonged exposure can cause wood stain poisoning, resulting in a burning sensation, blurred vision, and collapse.

    Adequate ventilation in the work area is important to reduce oil-based stain odors and help with the indoor air quality. A good ventilation system is necessary to help with eliminating odors and improving air flow and air quality. The EPA reports that the indoor concentration of VOCs can be up to 1,000 times higher than what they would be outdoors, and low air quality can cause health problems.

    HyperTone Stains

    The best defense against oil-based stains and their hazards is to avoid them completely. Waterbased stains are a safer alternative to oil-based stains because water is used as the solvent as opposed to oil. Acrylic resin forms the bond between the wood and pigment of the waterbased stain as it is applied. Then, the water evaporates from air exposure, leaving behind the resin and colorants on the wood surface. It also allows the stain to dry quickly and be ready to walk on in as little as 30 minutes. The ingredients are the clear difference between an oil-based stain and waterbased stain. Removing the petroleum distillates, varnish, and linseed oil of oil-based from the equation significantly creates a safer stain and reduces dangerous risks.

    Basic Coatings® HyperTone™ Stains is a water/oil hybrid, the first-of-its-kind formulation that provides unrivaled color penetration with all the benefits of a waterbased stain. Benefits of a waterbased stain include:

    • Non-flammability, which makes the clean-up process easier. Because water is the solvent, used rags can be piled together, stored together, and disposed of in a regular garbage can without the risk of sparking a fire. Used rags will not spontaneously combust. If there is a spill, only soap and water are needed to clean up. Accidental drips of water from sweat or bottles will also not affect the project, and contractors can continue working as usual.
    • Low odor, which avoids issues associated with offensive, extreme fumes.
    • Low VOCs increase sustainability and improve air quality. Click here for the HyperTone Stains VOC Calculation Chart.

    For those looking for a safer stain option, HyperTone Stains is the best choice for residential, commercial, and sport floors. It’s available in 14 standard colors with the ability to mix new colors for a wide variety of color options. Click here to view our HyperTone Stain Chip gallery for limitless possibilities. For more information about HyperTone Stains, click here. To speak with a Basic Coatings representative, click here.

     

  • 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).

  • Tinting with HyperTone™ Stain Saved His Ash!

    Apr 13, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Final Result

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

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

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


  • Floor Polish Removal Can Save a Hardwood Floor

    Mar 18, 2021

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

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

    The Problem

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

    In steps a hardwood floor professional, who likely recommends:

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

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

    The Solution

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

    How does it work?

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

    How is it used?

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 3 Tactics to Prevent Tannic Acid Discoloration

    Feb 18, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

    1. Take extra care preparing the floor.

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

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

    2. Use a tannin-blocking sealer…correctly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

    Oct 19, 2020

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

    Cause

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

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

    Prevention and Testing

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

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

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

     

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

    Resolving

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

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

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

     

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

    Sep 10, 2020

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

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

    Tinting Finish

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

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

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

    But the advantages don’t stop there.

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

    Paint Versus Tinting Finish

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

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

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

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

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

    To learn more about HyperTone Stains, please click here

     

  • One Simple Secret for Avoiding the Dreaded Picture Frame

    Jul 07, 2020

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

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

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

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

    The Story

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

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

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

    Lo and behold, no picture frame.

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

    The Simple Secret

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

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

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

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

     

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

    Mar 26, 2020


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

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

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

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