|Wood Floor Finishing|
Refinishing a wood floor or beginning with a new floor
Removing the Old Finish
In many cases, floors are coated with surface coatings such as oil-modified urethanes or
waterborne urethanes. It is necessary to completely remove the old finish by sanding
down to bare wood. Surface coatings lay on top of the surface. Once scratched, marred
or worn, they must be sanded down to bare wood to be fixed. Therefore, sanding down
to bare wood and applying the Waterlox Processed Tung Oil system, will provide many
years of beautiful looking floors that are easy to maintain, re-coat and rejuvenate as
discussed at the end of this section.
Preparation is the most important step in refinishing your new or old wood floor. The
final sanding should result in a smooth, clean surface suitable for the application of the
Waterlox finish. A professional floor refinisher should complete this process to be sure
that the floor is sanded smooth and without swirl marks. These marks will only stand
out more when the floor is finished.
All wood dust and grit resulting from the sanding operations must be removed. The
importance of this cannot be overemphasized. Very good results can be obtained by
using a vacuum sweeper for this purpose. First, it should be run with the grain of the
wood; then, a second pass should be made across the grain. If a vacuum sweeper is not
available, use a good soft brush, sweeping with the grain in order to remove all the dust
from the cracks. Subsequent wiping of the floor with a clean lint-free rag wetted with
mineral spirits or paint thinner will also aid in the removal of any residual dust.
Optional Steps (Stains and Fillers)
There are two optional steps that are sometimes used in floor refinishing. Increasingly they are being omitted because of the time and expense involved. Both steps are described here in the event that special circumstances dictate their use.
1.Staining with Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish:
In situations where personal preference requires a change in wood color, a stain can be applied. It should be kept in mind that the application of stain has a tendency to emphasize scratches and imperfections and make them more noticeable than a clear finish, which preserves the natural color of the wood.
It is recommended that the stain and/or stain mixture be tested on a piece of scrap wood or an inconspicuous area of the floor and followed by the subsequent coats of Waterlox Original finishes (most hardwoods require 3 coats of our Waterlox Original products. Softer woods like Pine or Douglas Fir require 4 coats at 500 square feet/gallon per coat) before beginning an entire project.
There are 3 basic choices for adding color to the wood surface:
OPTION 1. An unstained floor, finished with Waterlox Original finishes produces an old-fashioned, hand-rubbed looking floor. Our special formula based in Tung Oil produces a natural patina.
OPTION 2. Staining before finishing with Waterlox Original finishes. You can stain the floor with any traditional oil stain. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions for stain cure time, or wait 72 hours before applying coats of Waterlox Processed Tung Oil finishes.
OPTION 3. Adding stain to your first coat of Waterlox Original finishes.
You can add up to 1 quart (32 ounces) of “old-fashioned” oil-based
stain (containing no additives such as urethane), tint or dye to 1 gallon
of Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish. This should be done with your first
coat of Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish. We like ZAR stain for mixing.
This method of staining eliminates a separate step and provides a smooth, even color change
(even on soft woods like pine which normally become blotchy). Make a record of the amount of stain used per gallon so that the procedure can be repeated later if necessary.
At a 1 to 4 mix, the wood generally will be about 1/2 as dark as the stain applied to bare wood and wiped off. Some clients choose to apply a second stain/ waterlox coat to further darken light wood, but should be cautioned that a second stain coat is more difficult to apply evenly.
2. Wood Fillers:
The second optional step involves the use of filler on open pore wood, such as oak, ash,
mahogany, walnut and chestnut. The filler acts to fill the pores assuring a level even
coat. If the use of a filler is desired, there are several good ones on the market. Follow
the manufacturer’s directions for use.
Applying the Finish
1. All surfaces must be thoroughly cleaned, sanded and dusted (as discussed
earlier). They must be free of wax, grease and oil.
2. The amount of coats needed to finish the floor depends on the type of wood
being finished. Harder woods like cherry, oak, heart pine, mahogany, Ipe, teak,
etc. require 3 coats of finish at 500 square feet per gallon per coat. Softer woods
like pine and Douglas fir require 4 coats of finish at 500 square feet per gallon
3. All flooring projects begin with 2-3 coats of Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish (spread at 500 square feet per gallon per coat). One additional coat of Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish will render a medium sheen (50-55° gloss), One additional coat of Waterlox Original Satin Finish will render a satin sheen (20-25° gloss), and two additional coats of Waterlox Original High Gloss Finish will render a high gloss (85° gloss). The choice depends entirely on the appearance you seek, and is dependent on the gloss level you desire.
4. Apply Waterlox Processed Tung Oil Finishes on wood with a lambswool applicator
and feather in with the grain of the wood. Pour the Waterlox Processed Tung Oil
product into a paint roller pan and dip the applicator into the pan (be careful not
to scrape or drag the applicator along the edge of the pan as this will cause
bubbles). Begin finishing the floor at the opposite end of the doorway. Either
finish a 4’ x 4’ square and move across the length of the room, or finish one
length of the applicator pad along the grain, across the length of the room, the
choice in methods is up to you.
5. Be sure to cut in around the edges of the floor first and smooth out any
imperfections (i.e.: air bubbles, lapping or pooling) before the surface has a
chance to set-up with a good quality natural/China bristle 4" brush.
6. Allow each coat to dry thoroughly (6-24 hours). Take more time than the usual 6
– 24 hours if drying conditions are not advantageous (i.e. high humidity, below
average temperatures or low ventilation). Ensure adequate ventilation by
opening windows and doors where applicable and insert a box fan in a window
or opening facing outward to circulate new oxygen molecules through the room.
It is not recommended that any solvents or solvent-based materials be used in
an enclosed area. The aid of fans and open doors and windows is strongly
recommended. Read directions on label completely before using. Lingering
solvent odor indicates either inadequate ventilation or high humidity, which
causes slower drying time.
7. Always remove the dust between coats with a tack cloth or vacuum. Sanding is
not necessary between coats for adhesion purposes. However, a light sanding
with fine sandpaper (150 or finer), steel wool (#4/0) or a Maroon pad on a
buffing machine can be completed to remove any aesthetic imperfections such
as dust, lint, hair or mars left in the film.
NOTE: Each floor may require specific abrasives and sequences.
All Waterlox Original Tung Oil finishes are slip resistant. Rugs stay in place and accidents
are minimized. Waterlox provides a smooth surface that retains its grip when wet.
Cure Time of Waterlox Specially Processed Tung Oil Finishes
The first 7 days are the most critical after applying Waterlox Processed Tung Oil
finishes, please adhere to the following practices:
1. After the last coat is applied, we advise to stay off the floor for at least 24
hours (48 hours if possible). After this time, the floor may be used for “sock
traffic” only. No shoes or bare feet (oils from the skin may dull the surface).
2. During the first 7 days keep room/ambient temperature above 70° F if
possible. Air movement in the room helps replenish the required oxygen
needed to cure the finish. Use fans at low speeds for this purpose.
3. Avoid eating or drinking in newly finished rooms for the first 7 days (clean up
of spills with cleaners may damage or dull the finish).
4. Throw rugs can be used in high traffic areas, but should be removed each
night, as the finish needs oxygen to cure.
5. After 7 days, place throw rugs and area rugs down and move furniture back
into the room. Be sure to use felt pads on the bottom of all furniture to help
prevent scratching of the finish.
How to Maintain your Floors
Your newly finished Waterlox floors will give you years of enjoyment. Cleaning consists
of vacuuming, broom sweeping, dusting, or mopping with a slightly damp mop. It is not
necessary to use wax, or any products containing wax, and we recommend against it.
Varnish-type finishes will not dry or bond over wax, grease or oil; therefore, all traces
must be removed before applying more coats.
For dirty areas or annual Spring-cleaning, use Waterlox Cleaner Concentrate, or wash the surface with a non-film forming, non-abrasive, and non-ammonia base detergent or a white vinegar and water solution of 2 capfuls of vinegar to 1 gallon of water. The floor should be rinsed afterward to remove all traces of the residual soap or detergent film.
Renewal of Partially Worn Waterlox Processed Tung Oil Floors
10” Lambswool applicator block and pad (refill pads)
Natural bristle paintbrush (China bristle)
Paint Roller Pan
Fine-grit sandpaper, #4/0 steel wool or a Norton maroon pad
(sanding between coats is only necessary for aesthetics)
Waterlox Original Tung Oil Finishes
Mineral spirits, turpentine or paint thinner
It is not necessary to completely remove the old Waterlox Processed Tung Oil finish
from floors that are not badly stained or worn. They may be restored to better than new
condition by feathering in more of the finish used as the final coat(s) with a lint-free
cloth or by applying a new coat of finish to the entire floor. These floors should be
thoroughly cleaned and scrubbed. They must be free of all dust, dirt and loose particles.
Any amount of old wax must be removed with mineral spirits. Residual wax will interfere
with the penetration and drying action of any floor finish.
After a thorough cleaning, the first step is to patch areas where the old finish has been
completely worn away. Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish should be applied with a brush or
rag in these areas to seal the bare wood. After the patched areas have dried completely
(approximately 24 hours), the entire floor should be coated in the same manner with an
additional coat of Waterlox Processed Tung Oil Finish. To maintain a medium sheen (50-
55° gloss), use Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish for the final coat, to maintain a high
gloss sheen (85° gloss), use Waterlox Original High Gloss Finish for the final coat and to
maintain a lower sheen (20-25° gloss), use Waterlox Original Satin Finish for the final
To summarize the steps to achieve a better than new rejuvenation of floors that have
not been badly worn over time:
1. Clean and scrub the floor. Remove all dust, dirt and particularly wax, grime or
2. Patch worn areas with Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish by applying or ‘feathering’
the finish with a brush or lint-free rag.
3. Coat the entire surface area with one complete coat of Waterlox Original
Sealer/Finish. As a second coat, use Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish for a
medium sheen (50-55° gloss); Waterlox Original Satin Finish for a lower sheen
(20-25° gloss); or Waterlox Original High Gloss Finish for a high gloss sheen (85°
For full application instructions, cautions and helpful hints, pay careful attention to
the directions on the can, and utilize the following Finish buletins from Waterlox:
Return to Waterlox Main Page
Read About : Waterlox Original | Waterlox Satin | Waterlox High Gloss | Waterlox Marine