Finishing Red Oak - A Few Questions

momolabsFebruary 20, 2008

We just got a great deal on unfinished select and better unfinished red oak and it went in great in the kitchen (DIY).

I have previously refinished a heart pine floor and used the sander and Varathane water based flooring finish from a big box retailer, and wasn't 100% happy with my results. I feel quite capable or finishing this oak floor myself, but I am looking for advice on the finish. I want a natural look to the floor, and would like to use a water borne poly, but I don't like the washed out lightness of that finish, and prefer a somewhat warmer tone.

My questions are these:

1. I hear good things about BonaKemi, and it looks like their DTS sealer combined with the new Naturale finish would be what I am after. How can I get there products as a homeowner, and would I be wise to attempt to use these products? They say "professional use only", but in reality are they more difficult to use than a water borne poly I buy from a retailer? What is the ballpark price of the BonaKemi products?

2. If I can't get, or should not attempt to use the BonaKemi system, what other recommendations do some of you experts have for me? Options I have come up with on my own are A) Varathane again over an oil modified natural stain or mix of natural and golden oak. or B) Parks Pro Universal sealer under their water based poly. (Parks also have a product called Nano Shield that looks interesting, with aluminum oxide in it.) Are there others that are readily available to the consumer that would be a good option for me?

3. I am a sponge for knowledge, so any other advice I can get, I'll surely appreciate.

Thanks so much for sharing your time and advice.

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momolabs

As a follow up, I have found that I can buy Bona Naturale online, and it is $117 a gallon. Is this going to be different that say Traffic? Is it worth the extra per gallon (which really isn't that much if you are already resolved to pay for Traffic). Is it going to be harder to apply.

I am operating under the assumption that I would put down a sealer (can I use a non-Bona sealer if I want, like Parks Pro universal?), followed by a coat of semi-gloss or gloss (which one) and 2? coats of satin/matte, or would 2 coats of semi or gloss work better with just one coat of satin on top?

Anyone used Bona DTS? Does it give similar results to a non-waterborne sealer?

My original questions still apply as well. Thanks for the help.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 1:43PM
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momolabs

Bump. NO One has any advice or answers to these questions?
What about glennsfc? You seem to be the local expert here on BonaKemi.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 4:45PM
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glennsfc

Haven't used the DTS sealer yet...DTS stands for 'deep tone sealer'...

Naturale is going to have the same durability as Traffic. It will have absolutely no gloss whatsoever. Traffic is available in satin (matte) and semigloss.

You will have to use the tool recommended for each product. The only tool recommended for Naturale is the roller made for it. Traffic is applied with an 18" T-BAR applicator and some skill. If you can read and do some 'dry runs'...you can do it.

Where did you find an online source for Naturale? You must have done some digging.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 12:29PM
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momolabs

Glenn,
Thanks for getting to me. I have found Naturale on floormechanics.com and onlinefloorstore.com (one of those is cheaper and with free shipping)

After more research, I am actually most likely going to go with a stain vs. a sealer. I want to use the drifast stains, but can;t really sample them too easily. I picked up some Cabot stains and tested it on some strips of flooring. I think I like a combination of their natural and early american stain, but I am wondering how that would translate to Bona DriFast. Also, I used a random orbital sander and ended with 120 grit on my samples. I think this resulted in a lighter color and may not be easily repeatable on the floor. I know I read something before about using different grits on the last cut when staining vs. just sealing, or depending on how dark a stain you are going with.

What is your rule of thumb?

Should I redo my samples using 80 grit or 100 grit and then decide?

I still haven't decided on Traffic or Naturale. If I hear Traffic is easier to apply that might sway me. I do like the idea of a matte finish though.

With Traffic did I hear you say you use 2 coats of semi or 1 coat of semi under the satin?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 3:26PM
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glennsfc

If you can use the complete BonaKemi system...DriFast stain and either Traffic or Naturale...that is the best way to do it...then you have no compatability worries or issues.

Look into 'waterpopping' for the richest stain effect.

You can do semigloss as the first one or two coats with satin as the final, but if what you're looking for is a matte result, then it doesn't matter much what the first one or two coats is as per gloss level.

With a product like Traffic or Naturale, you stop when the floor looks right to you. If two coats over stain looks fantastic, then there is no need to add a third, unless its in a kitchen or other high traffic location.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 1:38AM
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momolabs

I guess it was with other products that I heard the recommendation to start with semi gloss not for the final gloss level but because semi was harder or more durable. I guess with Bona it doesn't matter, so that makes it easier. Certainly with Naturale, I wouldn't be mixing sheen levels anyway because there is only one.

Have you used Naturale yet? I still haven't decided.

As far as the stain goes, yes I am set on DriFast, but I am looking for a shade just a touch richer than Natural, without yellowing it, like I said maybe between Early American and Natural, or maybe just Natural with waterpopping. I'll have to look for some photo examples of that. I wonder if the DTS sealer and the Natural DriFast are very similar and if the DTS would be better. I wish I could see some samples somewhere.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 9:54AM
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glennsfc

I really have to get some DTS sealer and do some samples so I know what the stuff looks like on various species. It is still quite new.

I sometimes mix DriFast natural with golden oak to get a slightly darker effect. BTW, your particular wood will impart its own color to the final result...and that is why some finishers will do samples directly on a customer's floor or at least on scrap pieces of the actual flooring.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 10:31AM
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momolabs

Thanks again!
The other reason I am asking a lot of questions about colors, is that I have an upstairs room with old 2-1/4 select red oak where we removed a staircase. The existing oak is is darn good condition but was stained very dark (dark amber with very black grain). I pulled the old oak out to the level of where the stairway cut into the room so I have a straight shot the full width of the room. I will have new 2-1/4 red oak on about 1/4 of the room and want the lightest most natural finished color possible. On my samples, the dark grain cannot be completely sanded out without a ton of sanding, but if I go something a bit darker than natural that darkens the grain on the new oak, I don't notice a real difference in the grain, but the body of the new oak is redder and lighter in general compared to the mellow light brown of the old stuff. So that is why I am testing like 7 or 8 different stains. I want the lightest I can go without seeing a casually noticeable difference between the old and new sections fo the floor.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 10:53AM
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salbwil

glennsfc,
Can you please give me a "ballpark" figure for what I should expect refinishing red oak floors with Bona, doing 1 coat of sealer and 2 coats of finish? I live in eastern Ma.
Thanks, salbwil

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 7:00PM
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glennsfc

Are you going to DIY or hire someone?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 10:35PM
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salbwil

I'm going to hire someone.......beyond me and my hours ;-)
salbwil

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 7:52AM
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glennsfc

Very market driven prices for finish work. Figure minimum $2.50 per square foot in some...minimum $5.50 per square foot in mine (NYC).

However...there are lots of low ballers in any market and you could probably find someone who will do it for less. Know who you're dealing with and ask for references, if the end results are an important consideration.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 5:12PM
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salbwil

Thanks very much for your help !
salbwil

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 8:56PM
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amp08

I have red oak flooring throughout my house. Refinished all of it and installed new red oak in my kitchen during remodel. It's all finished with three coats of Original Waterlox, a tung oil with some additives. It finishes and seals. Is waterproof and really easy to touch up. It's been throughout my house for eight years with no sign of wear. In kitchen for two -- looks beautiful.

Product creates a soft, warm, natural glow. Not high gloss (although I think they have a high gloss product) and definitely not "plastic" looking.

We DIY-ed it all. Rented a drum sander for main floor. I used a good Porter Cable belt sander on the kitchen floor -- the new red oak sanded easily and it's not a large room.

Waterlox is easy to apply, easy to clean up. Very DIY friendly. (You might be able to save a chunk of moola and do this yourself....)

Best of all, it looks fantastic!

Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 6:13PM
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salbwil

glennsfc,
Hope this is the last time I bother you........would you recommend Vermeister or Bona Kemi, and why ?
Thanks, again,
salbwil

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 6:31PM
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glennsfc

Can't recommend one over the other. I only have experience with the BonaKemi products.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 11:18PM
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salbwil

glennsfc,
I just had two estimates and one ( whom I liked) gave a very high estimate(60.00 s.f.) for a living room, stairway( simple tread) and upstairs small hall. I was surprised at the cost of 4452.00. I will get a third estimate, but as I liked the young man, I'm disappointed in his price. Is there that much of a discrepency regarding price with Bona traffic ?
Thanks, salbwil

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 6:24PM
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salbwil

bump
salbwil

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 8:26PM
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glennsfc

Although Traffic and similar high priced finishes cost more, the difference for any job is actually small...A few hundred dollars tops on a decent sized job. (300 feet).

Stairwork is priced differently from simple room quotes. However, you say it is for a simple tread...how many treads?

Gosh, for those prices I should fly to work more often.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 9:13AM
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salbwil

Hi Glenn,
There are 13 stairs, and the downstairs room is a living/ dining combination , so it IS good sized,18 x 32. The upstairs hall is small, around 5 x 10, so the overall sq. feet aren't overly large. As I said, I was surprised at his price. He claims that he trains people in New York and other places and they charge "up to 20 dollars and more a square ft.in N.Y." Me thinks he is wacky !! But, I thought I'd check in here with the resident "expert"
Thanks again,
salbwil

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 4:18PM
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salbwil

Guess I moved the decimal point............sorry, brain cramp
salbwil

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 4:28PM
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glennsfc

Aahhh...I'm no expert, but some people think I am.

That's the minimum I would charge here in NYC for a job that size with 13 steps...probably a tad more. Independent contractors who do their own work have to charge what the work is worth, or not do it at all.

Manhattan work and some parts of Brooklyn are upcharged, primarilly due to the difficulties in working in those places. $20 per square foot for Manhattan work is not unheard of.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 4:21PM
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