Can I tell how many coats of poly I have?

stuvwxyz99September 30, 2012

I was wondering if its possible to tell how many coats of poly were put down.

I recently had my floors sanded, stained and finished as part of a larger re-model. The original schedule called for 5 days for the floors from start to finish, but the contractors were late and running out of time on the project. In the end, staining was done in one day, and poly was done the next day (two rooms, about 550 sq ft).

I was a bit suspicious that instead of the agreed on three coats, they had just done one coat of poly. I find that superficial scratches (barely perceptible to my fingernail) look quite bad. Could it be that there is only one coat down? Is it possible to tell? Would it explain the highly visible scratches?

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A professional floor finisher can look at your floor and make a good guess at how many coats were applied. The limit for coats of anything per day is two (2), so it is a reasonable guess that you have two coats, if more than just one.

Any wood floor finish coat takes days to harden and cure. Typically, waterborne finishes cure in about seven days. Oilbase finishes can take up to 28 days or more to cure. Before they are cured, they are susceptible to marring.

Another possibility here is problems encountered when rushing a refinish by "hot coating" a floor, which is throwing successive coats of anything over a previous coat. There is not had enough time allowed for the solvents (be they water or spirits) to flash out of the product. The volatiles get trapped by the successive coat and can result in a soft finish and an extended cure time overall. And...during that cure time the floor is susceptible to marring.

Four or five days to complete a sand and refinish of anything is reasonable...two is not, in my professional opinion.

However, since I don't know what finish was used and how long the work days were, temperature and humidity levels and all that...this answer is purely speculation and should be considered just that.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 9:10PM
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Thanks glennsfc. This was done in July. Temp was in the high 80s and humid if I recall.

I'm not really going to have an opportunity to re-finish the floor all over again, so maybe it would be unfair to get someone in just to find out if the prior guy pulled a fast one on me. But it seems like the odds are that only one coat was applied.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 9:31PM
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