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 Post subject: Please help me with Varathane OMU finishing mess...
PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 8:33 am 
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Location: Scranton PA
To make a long story short. I am refinishing two living rooms in my home. The floors are heart pine and were covered with shellac. (That was a nightmare to remove). I drum sanded both rooms and was able to fix a lot of the flaws in the floor. There was previous chatter and gouges from someone trying to refinish these floors many years ago. The floor has a 'vintage' look with small gaps, staple marks, scrapes, and top nailin repairs. I am okay with this since the house is 75 years old.

On to the finishing. The Varathane OMU was recommended to me by a store associate (yeah, I should have known better). Months ago, when I did some research, I was going to choose a Bona product, but a friend in the finishing chemical industry told me to stay away from the pro chems and stick with store bought OMU. At any rate, the sludge is nearly impossible to work with. Here are a couple of questions/problems that I need some help with:

1. The second coat was applied cross grained and has drastic streaks and lap marks. Do I need to 100% remove these marks before applying the third coat? I have sanded them with 100, 150, 220 and have removed 80% of the 'ridges' created by the marks. Will additional coats hide this or do need to go back and hit it with the sander again? I am using a palm sander and 5" DA sander.

2. Flaws in the wood add character, flaws in the finish look like poor workmanship. I am considering using the rest of the Varathane to complete the 3 base coat, sand with 220, then roller the top coat with Fabulon or Parks OMU. How long must I wait prior to top coating with a different brand product?

3. If the answer to #2 is more than a couple of days, can I thin out the Varathane to get it to flow better for the finish coat? How much thinner to add per gallon? I am not trying to rush the results, but it's tough living in your dinining room for weeks with furniture piled all over the place. I really can't wait weeks for a cure then top coat.

The weather has been in the 60's day and upper 40's at night. It's been slightly rainey and a bit damper than normal. I don't think the weather is causing problems with the finish drying too fast/slow...it's just a poor quality product.

Any help would be great.

Thanks all!

-Phil


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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 12:47 pm 
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Location: Antioch, CA. 94509
Quote:
1. The second coat was applied cross grained and has drastic streaks and lap marks. Do I need to 100% remove these marks before applying the third coat? I have sanded them with 100, 150, 220 and have removed 80% of the 'ridges' created by the marks. Will additional coats hide this or do need to go back and hit it with the sander again? I am using a palm sander and 5" DA sander.


They should be sanded out. If I were facing this situation, I would use my buffer and a used 100 screen and screen the floors down till the finish was smooth. Then I would buff it again with a 3M SPP maroon pad to remove any screen marks.


Quote:
2. Flaws in the wood add character, flaws in the finish look like poor workmanship. I am considering using the rest of the Varathane to complete the 3 base coat, sand with 220, then roller the top coat with Fabulon or Parks OMU. How long must I wait prior to top coating with a different brand product?


You already know that VOC Varathane is difficult to work with. Why bother? Just go with the Fabulon now. As long as both products are OMU and the previous coat is thoroughly dry, you should have no problems switching finishes.

Quote:
3. If the answer to #2 is more than a couple of days, can I thin out the Varathane to get it to flow better for the finish coat? How much thinner to add per gallon? I am not trying to rush the results, but it's tough living in your dinining room for weeks with furniture piled all over the place. I really can't wait weeks for a cure then top coat.


I can't speak for your location but my understanding is that with VOC compliant finishes, it breaks some law(s) if one thins them with thinners. But how are the authorities to know? So I'll not speak about the legality of it but the practical aspect. Yes, you could probably add a small amount of solvents to aid in flow and dry time. Which type and amount are variable. But if you just switched to the professional type of finish, the type you're friend warned you against (?), you won't need to concern yourself about thinning out some ultra thick, won't dry, big box store "floor finish".

Quote:
On to the finishing. The Varathane OMU was recommended to me by a store associate (yeah, I should have known better). Months ago, when I did some research, I was going to choose a Bona product, but a friend in the finishing chemical industry told me to stay away from the pro chems and stick with store bought OMU. At any rate, the sludge is nearly impossible to work with.


This says it all. You are listening to the wrong advice. Why do pros use pro products? Because they need products that are dependable and they can rely on. Fabulon, BONA Woodline OMU, Dura Seal OMU are all pro level products and you should not have the type of problems you have experienced before.


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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 1:10 pm 
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Thanks for the reply, Gary!

At this point, the majority of the cross grain marks are sanded smooth. There are some slight signs of the streaks that I will go over again. It's been a real bear doing it with a 5" orbital, I will rent the screener today and knock out the rest of this job.

Can you elaborate on "dry" before switching to fabulon? This Varathane dries tack free in about 12 hours. They claim normal use can continue after 3 days. Do you think I am safe waiting until Monday to apply the Fabulon or should I wait longer?

You're right, it was poor advice. He is a project manager for a company that manufactures finishing products and wholesales them to other companies and furniture manufactures. I think his recommendations were based upon the complexity of using moisture cure and catalyst type finishes. I think he generally recommended a oil based, consumer product assuming that it would be more forgiving to apply. I have completed many woodworking projects and never experienced problems with the finish quality.

This whole project went down hill when my wife decided to "help" me out by putting down the second coat while I was running some errands. She had no idea what she was doing wrong by cross graining. She was quite proud of her efforts. I don't have the heart to tell her how badly she flawed the finish. She's a sweetheart and was just trying to assist me. She asked about the streaks(after she was done) on the floor and I just told her "don't worry baby, they'll be covered by the next coat"...now I just have to sand them without her realizing it.

Thanks again!


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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 1:49 pm 
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Your wife is a very luck woman. Nice example for us all!! :D

_________________
Witty saying goes here.


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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 3:00 pm 
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Your wife is a very luck woman. Nice example for us all!!


I am not sure how I maintained my composure, I was freaking out in my mind. As much as I wanted to say ^#*#@, what did you do???? I simply said "wow! thanks babe" and walked into the other room.

I picked up some Fabulon semi gloss today, hopefully it yeilds a satisfactory result over the sludge.


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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 4:04 pm 
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I posted some photos of the progress I have made with sanding the poly brush marks. Please take a look and share your comments on the progress. At this point, the marks are barely visible and cannot be felt running a finger or fingernail over them. They are visible primarly due to the fact that the "low spots" of the brush marks are semi-gloss and the sanded area's are scuffed.

It's kind of hard to see in the photo's on page two of this album, I took pictures of the worst area on the floor.

http://s307.photobucket.com/albums/nn31 ... /?start=20

Should I continue sanding or does this seem adequate? I am sorry for my ignorance on this issue, I have never experienced this situation before and want to ensure that it's done correctly.

Thanks again for your guidance and comments.


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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 2:48 pm 
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Location: Antioch, CA. 94509
Quote:
Can you elaborate on "dry" before switching to fabulon? This Varathane dries tack free in about 12 hours. They claim normal use can continue after 3 days. Do you think I am safe waiting until Monday to apply the Fabulon or should I wait longer?


You should probably be fine. If the Varathane is sanding now ok and not gumming up, it is probably dry enough.


Quote:
You're right, it was poor advice. He is a project manager for a company that manufactures finishing products and wholesales them to other companies and furniture manufactures. I think his recommendations were based upon the complexity of using moisture cure and catalyst type finishes. I think he generally recommended a oil based, consumer product assuming that it would be more forgiving to apply. I have completed many woodworking projects and never experienced problems with the finish quality.


I'd understand if you were considering using an acid curing urethane or moisture cure. But I'd agree that OMU is the best way for novices to go. But most consumer OMU's are too thick IMO. The exception is Minwax Fast Dry in quarts, not gallons. Gallon cans usually have lower solvents and are more difficult to apply. Your best bet is a pro level OMU like Fabulon, Woodline, DuraSeal and the like.

As to your cross grain marks, they seem to be pretty light at this point. A additional coat should hide them. But you never know for sure till you're done. Make sure to apply the finish at the appropriate coverage, usually 500 ft per gallon.


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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 6:25 pm 
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The floor sanded with no issues or gumming up at all. Most of the areas had not been coated since last Wednesday.

I coated with the Fabulon Semi-gloss this morning. I couldn't get a bubble free finish with the 1/4" nap dove roller so I opted to brush the area. It was a night and day difference compared to the Varathane. Much easier to work with. It spread well, leveled well, and blended with no lap marks.

However, a new concern has popped up. The floor looks like a damn high school gym. It's beyond a sheen. It's like 'holy crap that glare on the floor is blinding gloss'. I am really hoping that this corrects itself overnight. It's not fully cured yet after 6 hours, but 70% of the tackiness is gone. :shock:


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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 10:49 pm 
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What sheen did you apply? Satin, semi-gloss or high gloss?

Quote:
It's not fully cured yet after 6 hours,


FYI, for almost all OMU's it takes two to four weeks to FULLY cure. You are probably referring to being dry enough to walk on, which is something different. Most pro type of OMU's are dry enough to walk on in 8 to 12 hours (overnight) but dry enough to walk on and apply an additional coat is very different from fully cured. Fully cured means reaching it's maximum hardness and performance level. OMU's require a minimum of two weeks for that to happen.


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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 2:06 pm 
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You're right. I shouldn't have used the term 'cured'. I meant dry enough to walk on. At the 8 hour point the floor quickly began to dry out and the gloss dissapeared.

This morning the floor had a pretty dull sheen to it. I would consider it more of a satin than a semi gloss. It's looks a little like plastic and the floor has lost a bit of its character. We'll see how the finished product turns out in a week or two.

At any rate. I finished the last coat this morning and am very glad to say that I am done! The cross grained streaks are 95% not visible, there are a couple of areas that show through, but will will probably fade out a little more under normal use.

I would like to thank you again for your guidance and suggestions. I called a complaint into Varathane yesterday. They seemed familiar with the challenges of the low VOC product and are going to refund my money for the two cans I had purchased. Kudos to them!

I'll try and get some photos up next week, for the gallery.


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