Bon Eon 70 vs Bona Traffic?

casperkillFebruary 5, 2007

We just had our oak hardwood floors refinished (I believe they were original with the house built in 1940) along with some new matching hardwood added to areas previously carpeted/tiled. The floors were finished with:

1) 1 coat Parks Pro Finisher Water-Based Sanding Sealer

2) 1 coat Bona Eon 70 Gloss

3) 1 coat Bona Eon 70 Satin

We wanted to keep things as low-VOC as possible, hence the Bona Eon 70. The Parks Pro Finisher was a point of contention because we requested Bona sealer and found this Parks stuff (from Home Depot?) was being used. After some discussion, the installer/refinisher promised to use Bona for the rest of the project. I confirmed that Bona Eon 70 was being used for the remaining coats.

The floors look pretty good in general, but when I went over to check them out this weekend, they didn't feel as "finished" as I had hoped. They felt a little "rough" as I walked over them- as if the finishing products hadn't created a significant layer of protection over the wood. This is the case for the refinished as well as the new areas. Kind of hard to explain.

I don't want the floors to look unnaturally glossy. I just want a smooth, "slightly waxy like a nice piece of furniture" finish.

What to do at this point? I talked it over with the refinisher and he agreed that the results were less than stellar. He said the Eon 70 just didn't cover very well, that he'd never used Eon 70 before, and that Traffic has worked very well for him in the past. He suggested that another coat of Bona Traffic would help get me the result I'm looking for.

Do you think Traffic would be an improvement over Eon 70? Or is the problem possibly somewhere upstream in the process in which case another coat wouldn't do much to help?

I could post pictures, but I don't think they'd help. The floors look either shiny or dull in the pictures depending only on whether there was a light source (like a window) in the picture- and my issue isn't really with the gloss level- rather the smoothness and overall feel of the finish.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions...

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It sounds to me as if your floor finmisher just isn't finished with the work yet.

EON 70 and Traffic have similar application characteristics. I believe the roughness you feel is grain raise that hasn't been knocked down far enough, but that is just a guess on my part on the information you've given thus far.

Traffic now has a VOC content of less than 180 grams per litre. I would only use EON 70 in those situations where the lowest possible VOC experience is specified. I use Traffic 100% of the time.

Your floor person should be able to add a coat of Traffic satin over the EON 70 with no problem. The floor will have to be properly prepared. If your floor person has experience with BonaKemi products, recoating will be easy.

The Parks sealer thing is done as an alternative to BonaSeal. I do not know what the appearance difference is between BonaSeal and Parks sealer, but there may be some.

Just so you know, and to spread some helpful information to any readers who come across this post,...Traffic is a two coat product when used over a film building sealer, such as BonaSeal. When it is applied over BonaKemi's DriFast Natural Stain (which is what I do most of the time), then three coats usually are necessary to get that "slightly waxy like a piece of furniture finish" the staining process adds no measurable film build. The floor may look a little anemic with only two coats over stain.

Perhaps the problem with the Parks sealer here is that it produces little or no film build, but I'm just thinking outloud here and throwing food out for thought.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2007 at 9:15AM
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Thank you for this comprehensive and thoughtful response!

If I would, a couple of follow-up questions...

1) You said, "I believe the roughness you feel is grain raise that hasn't been knocked down far enough. That sounds like what I'm feeling. How is this typically knocked down? As part of the prep step that occurs between coats of finish? Or is the grain raise kind-of "covered up" by the finish itself? Or should this have been knocked down earlier on in the sanding/prep phase of the job?

2) It sounds like the Parks sanding sealer might not have laid a good foundation for EON 70 and that this can be compensated for by just doing additional coats of finish product. In your case this 3rd pass of finish product is also useful when you use DriFast Natural Stain (instead of BonaSeal) but the same could apply in my situation as well. Did I get that right?

It sounds to me (from your response and from our floor guy) that an additional coat of EON 70 -or- Traffic would improve the situation, since 3 coats of water based finish product is often required to get a nice finish (especially when the sealer is something other than BonaSeal). He's going to do this tomorrow- prep and then another coat of Traffic satin- I'll report back with the results!

I'm learning way more about floor refinishing than I ever thought I would. Interesting stuff.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2007 at 2:44PM
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A couple of other things.

You put water on a piece of sanded wood and what happens? The wood gets rough again. People call it "raising the grain". So you sand and repeat. If you want a really fine finish, say for furniture, you keep lightly spraying or wiping with a damp rag and re-sanding and eventually you can get a piece of wood to be a smooth as marble.

You used a water-based finish. And I am assuming, even though you didn't say, that it was an oak floor? IF so, that is a great example of a wood that really "pops" when wet.

So you will have 2 issues. Partly, the grain raised because of the water-based finish. If you lightly screen and apply another coat or two, that problem can be minimized.

Second, you inevitably have dust and debris in an open environment, especially if you have recently sanded floors in the house. Remember, this is not Intel and you are not talking about a "clean room", which would cost you several million dollars to produce. So some of that dust settles on the finish. That will wear off quickly as you walk on the floor.

One reason that water finishes often take more coats is because the amount of solids suspended or dissolved in the liquid is sometimes lower than in other finishes. That is the stuff you want to stay on the floor, so to get the same protection you need another coat. It's roughly similar to using a cheap primer vs a good primer over a dark wall that you want to paint light, although in this case it does not imply that water finishes are "cheap" in any way.

You don't note how experienced you are with this stuff, so what is acceptable to people who are familiar with floors may be surprising to people who don't know.

Finally, and this may not be the case because the finisher sounds like he isn't too bad, it may be possible that the finisher didn't use a very fine grain on the last sanding. That will give a less than desirable finish.

But it sounds like he knows his job, so I would ask him directly about the specific things that concern you, whether it is feel or look or whatever.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2007 at 5:16PM
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In answer to your questions:

1. Grain raise is cut by abrading the sealer or the first coat of finish with a 3M maroon colored pad with 180 grit strips (or finer) attached to the pad. And, sucessive coats of finish will 'drown' grain raise somewhat and produce a smoother result.

2. Yes, you got that right.

I bet your floor is going to look how you want it to after that final coat. And,...put felt floor pads under all furniture pieces (movable or not); it's cheap insurance for your floor. The best protectors for wood chairs that I have discovered are Safeglides by Glitsa. Ikea sells something similar and I've seen copies in the big box retailers as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Safeglides

    Bookmark   February 6, 2007 at 10:23PM
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Well, I went over to check the results tonight and they're fantastic. After an additional coat of Bona Traffic satin, the floors look (and more relevant to this discussion) *feel* great now! I'm glad we had the additional coat done before we moved into the house.

Thanks a bunch for the advice- I appreciate it. I guess we'll never know whether the issue here was the finish product (Eon 70 vs. Traffic) or the sealer used (Parks vs. BonaSeal) or simply the number of coats required for this product combination. But evidently, in our case a 3rd coat of finish product was needed.

I think the situation we were in here was quite typical of a remodeling project. Flooring is just 1 detail out of 100 and even when we took the time to specify by name in our contract with the GC the flooring finish products we preferred (Eon 70) there were additional details left ambiguous (the number of coats being the primary detail omitted in our case). The oak floor refinishing and installation was sub-contracted out as a result there wasn't much communication with the sub until we were dissatisfied.

We also wanted to keep things as green as reasonably possible which added additional complexity. People practically roll their eyes at us any time we express a green preference. The refinisher initially pushed us towards oil based products and when things didn't turn out great initially it was like "I told you oil based was the way to go. It's not my fault this low VOC stuff doesn't cover well!" I thought it would be easier to do a green-ish remodel by simply specifying some product preferences here and there, but it takes a tremendous amount of effort to see these things through. I wonder if lead-free paint was met with similar skepticism when initially introduced?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2007 at 8:49PM
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Need help. Chemically sensitive and putting unfinished hardwood floor in kitchen to match rest of house. Have used bona kemi waterbase in the past, polyx oil is supposed to have no vocs-will it hold up as well, has anyone tried it. thanks

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 8:46PM
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