Start: This photo shows a kitchen floor after 10 years of hard use. Notice the color difference around the perimeter. The darker color is where the finish hasn’t experienced so much wear and you can still see the original color. The lighter shade in the main traffic area is from wear and use. The homeowner thought the finish had been worn off. It hasn’t. The lighter, chalky color is typical of what a lot of finishes look like after wear and use. The homeowner felt that the floor needed a full sanding and finishing. She was delighted to find out recoating was an option.
Finish: What a difference a little TLC makes! First, the floors were thoroughly cleaned using cleaning products specifically formulated to remove typical contaminants; grease, dried food, detergents and just plain old dirt and grime. It was allowed to dry overnight and then it was buffed with a synthetic pad for the final prep work. Next it was vacuumed carefully and then two applications of a waterborne finish were applied to all the areas. Both applications of finish were made the same day. There was absolutely no dust and the floors and the kitchen were available for breakfast and dinner the entire time. The entire job was completed in just two days. The colors just came right back and the rich colors in the graining of the wood really got your attention. By this time, the homeowners’ children were grown and out of the house so this recoating should be good for about 15 years.
Start: You are looking at a dining room floor right after I did the cleaning. The finish was about 12 years old. The entire first floor was prepped in one day. It was allowed to dry overnight. The floor is about as bland looking as you could imagine. The color of the stain is a walnut color but you can’t tell it by looking at the floor in this stage. Since I had promised the family they would have full use of the floors while I was there, I only made one application per day. With waterborne polyurethane’s excellent drying time, they were able to walk on the floors in the evening with no problem.
Finish: Here is a picture that speaks volumes. I applied finish to just half the room so the homeowner access the door at the top of the picture. The left half of the photo shows the floor with one coat of finish applied. It has dried and you can now see about as classic a before/after comparison as you will ever see. Look at the color difference! For me, this is the best part about recoating worn floors. The color was always there, but the condition of the older finish made it appear dull. Later, I came back and made the application to the rest of the room. The homeowner never left the house, her daily routine stayed the same, they were able to eat all meals at home and once again – no dust and no noxious vapors.
Start: What do you get with three boys pounding up and down a set of stairs? A lot of wear. The tread to the left is one of the larger pie shaped treads where the stairs start to spiral a bit into the kitchen. The light spots are where the soft grain of the pine has actually worn away from the pounding of the three gents bounding up and down the steps. The worst part of the wear was in the center of the treads, especially where they started their turn. All the treads were carefully cleaned and the heavily worn areas were lightly touched up with a little color.
Finish: After the color was applied to the worn spots, made multiple applications just to the center of the treads to some additional build up of finish. I made three applications of finish to these spots and then put two applications of finish over the entire tread. I call this technique “sandwiching” because it allows you to get more protection to what you know will get the most wear. I do it a lot in kitchens where there is noticeable wear in certain spots. Working with waterborne finishes allowed me to make 5 applications of finish in two days. That speed would not be possible with traditional coatings. Once again, the flexibility of waterborne products along with their extraordinary drying time gives this homeowner full use of their floors in the morning and evenings.
Start: This is the entrance foyer and it has seen some wear. There was the usual wear patterns from pedestrian traffic, and also had gouges and indentations from furniture being moved. The two conspicuous lighter spots are moisture damage. The finish on these spots was pretty much gone. There were other areas of significant water damage. The wood is yellow pine so it did not discolor nearly as much as it would had it been oak or some other species. This proved to be critical into how well the floors turned out after the waterborne finished were applied.
Finish: After cleaning properly, the floors were recoated with two applications of waterborne polyurethane. These photos haven’t been altered and you are seeing the actual difference in the colors. You can see a very faint lightness from one of the water spots but all in all, the look of the floors was excellent. The house was extensively furnished with furniture and art work. The downstairs was done in two phases with the furniture moving from one side of the room to the other. The art work stayed on the wall and the mantel because there was no dust. The exceptionally quick drying time of waterborne finishes meant all the work was completed in five work days.