Water 'popping'? Any experience or advice?

mythreesonsncFebruary 9, 2011

Hi All,

I posted several days ago asking questions about Waterlox. I have since then talked to my hardwood installer and he more or less talked me out of Waterlox, mainly because of pricing considerations.

He asked me what I like in theory about Waterlox. I told him we are going for a more natural look on our random width walnut, and I like how it seems to bring out the grain. He suggested that we consider "water popping" the floor before using a water based poly. He said that would enhance the grain and might give me the look I am interested in.

I have tried to research this a bit and it seems to me water popping is used to open up the grain to accept stain better, but I was thinking the natural american walnut wouldn't need a stain. Does water popping make any sense on a floor which will not be stained? Does this seem like a good suggestion from the guy?

Thanks in advance for any advice!

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We just had oak floors done and our hardwood guy uses water popping. His explanation is that it opens up the wood and it takes the stain better. It worked and made the grain less obvious, which is what I wanted. So opposite to the explanation you received, but maybe other wood species react differently.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 12:56PM
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Hmmm, glad to hear your info --- seems like that would make sense if you are going to stain it would open it up to allow more even staining, thus resulting in a less obvious grain. This guy told me he's never done it before, so I really want to get my facts straight! I would be so bummed to have it hide the grain!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 2:49PM
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You might want to find a different hardwood guy!! Mine is third generation and has seen/done everything related to wood floors. He tested the stain colors and sheen right on the unfinished floor. They then sanded it out and used the final color/sheen selection. Good luck :-)

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 2:39PM
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Thanks Chispa. I've tried to research a bit more and have read that walnut has a high Tannic acid content, which the waterlox, water based poly and waterpopping would all enhance, which I understand is not as desirable. It has been suggested by some of the walnut flooring sellers that oil based poly is the best way to go for this wood. Still am not sure, but am glad that the flooring guy is willing to make me a bunch of samples to play with the finish. That will be helpful.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 8:22AM
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