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sealer under water-based poly

rabbitthebun
November 5, 2015

I'd love to hear from some professionals regarding the need (or not) for using sealer underneath water-based poly on new (and fully sanded old) red oak flooring. the professional we hired doesn't typical use sealer, but the manufacturer (DuraSeal) says to use it. What might I expect finish-wise with/without the use of sealer?

Comments (11)

  • PRO
    Cancork Floor Inc.

    If DuraSeal says to use it...then use it. These products are designed to be used in conjuction with each other. Each does a job. Each links one step to another. Without sealer, we could be looking at a complete ReDo...on HIS DIME.

    The DuraClear Sealant is a TANNIN blocker. This stops the extra tannins in the wood from moving into the finish...the floor will maintain the true colour of the wood/stain longer. Red and white oak have plenty of tannins. They will migrate from the center of the wood to slowly turn your floors yellow (white oak) or cinnamon (red oak).

    If he doesn't want to use a sealer, ask him to sign a waiver stating that if you are not ENTIRELY HAPPY with the look of the finish, he will come back, without hesitation, and redo EVERYTHING. No charge, no questions asked.

    That should get him to see where things would work out for him. It is an extra charge...so he is probably trying to streamline his costs (read: make as much money as he can).

    rabbitthebun thanked Cancork Floor Inc.
  • PRO
    ULTIMATE HARDWOOD LTD
    Now hold on a second here... some finish systems can 'recommend ' a sealer but it's not entirely nessecary. I don't use duraseal as its not very hi quality. I prefer Glitsa. I'm pretty sure any decent finish has a lite/non tannin puller type of product that can also be used as sealer. Personally I think using sealers is for 'Joe the floor guy' that doesn't sand to NWFA industry standards.
    rabbitthebun thanked ULTIMATE HARDWOOD LTD
  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    Lets face it if you make the sealer you should try to sell it too. Its like mattress guys who tell you you need a box spring (not really)

    rabbitthebun thanked Patricia Colwell Consulting
  • rabbitthebun

    What is the timeframe of the tannin issue -- is this problem (changing of the color) something you notice quickly or over the years? Also, is there anything that the sealer does to prevent the oak's grain from being raised too much by the water-based poly or from preventing the water-poly from soaking into the wood instead of sealing the surface?

    Ultimate Hardwood -- how does sanding quality relate to the use of sealers?

    Patricia Colwell -- is your comment based on belief that manufacturers in general will deceive to make money or based on actual experience with red oak, sealers, and water-based poly?

    thanks!

  • PRO
    ULTIMATE HARDWOOD LTD
    @rabbitthebun the more experience flooring pro will sand finer with a tight sanding sequence and most likely choose no sealer. The average or below average guy will try to build up the finish to hide sanding imperfections. As for grain raise its going to happen no matter what with wb poly. It gets know led down by polishing before the final coat.
    rabbitthebun thanked ULTIMATE HARDWOOD LTD
  • PRO
  • rabbitthebun

    Thanks Ultimate and others. This is really helpful. So, if the water-based poly is going to raise the grain no matter what, will a polishing (is that screening? trying to learn the terminology here...) before the final coat (4th?) actually give a smooth finish? or is water-based finish doomed to be rough and grainy? Also, Ultimate -- any comment on the tannin issue raised by Cancork? Will appropriate sanding also resolve that issue without sealer?

  • PRO
    ULTIMATE HARDWOOD LTD
    Screening is an outdated technique from the 80's-90's. To prevent or minimize tannin pull you will need a finish such as Glitsa hi lite or latitude.The correct term is polish,buff or abrade. If your 'floor guy' knows not these terms do your self a favor and hire someone who does.
  • rabbitthebun

    Ultimate -- it's not about the floor guy not knowing these terms, it's about me not knowing. I'm trying to do my homework, because almost no one does wab poly around here in my rural area. I don't have much in the way of choice about who does it nor about the basic product/brand they use. So I'm just trying to do the best I can to make sure the process is the best possible under the (nonideal) circumstances. I appreciate your help.

  • PRO
    ULTIMATE HARDWOOD LTD
    That's exactly what I was getting at.
    Look on the website woodfloors.org
    Click on certified pros tab at the top. Enter your state/province.
    I'm trying to point you in the right direction. It IS about the floor guy. If you hire the wrong one you will spend double or live with a crappy job. I see this time and time again all over. Any good floor sander will educate you as to your project. Stay away from oil based poly urethane. It's garbage. Try a Rubio monocoat finish. Good luck.
  • PRO
    Cancork Floor Inc.

    Ultimate is trying to say that a GOOD flooring refinisher who is TRAINED in water based polyurethane (it is an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT DUCK when compared to oil based) is not someone who would question some of these basic concepts (sealer vs. no sealer; tannin blockers; application amount; etc).

    Usually the floor is sanded 3 times (low grit, medium grit, then high grit is final pass). Once the sanding is done, a lower cost sealer/primer (different companies call it by different names) is applied. This will often raise the grain so a light "buffing" is then done to get rid of that "roughness". Once that is done the little bit of debris is removed (sweeping/vacuuming + tack cloth) and the first of 2 COATS of polyurethane are then applied.

    A finish is often a TOTAL of 3 coats (primer/sealer + 2 coats of finish). I question the use of FOUR (4) coats of finish. Never exceed the recommended coatings of the product being used. A water based polyurethane that is put on too thick = looks like PLASTIC (which is exactly what polyurethane is). And the more coats you have the LONGER THE CURE TIME...A 2 coat finish (water based poly) can be as quick as 5-10 days (which is a huge benefit over oil based). That same polyurethane with 4 coats = 21 -33 days (now we are into huge DISADVANTAGE).

    A well trained finisher who has PLENTY of experience with water based polyurethane will know all of this. Again, Ultimate and I are questioning the TRAINING of your refinisher in a WATER BASED system.

    Professional grade products water based products (that REQUIRE TRAINING) =

    Bona

    Glitsa

    Basics (Streetshoe)

    Loba

    DuraSeal isn't on the list. It is "nice" but not considered high-end. A high-end product should cost $150 - $250 per gallon. That's why a lower cost sealant/primer is used FIRST. The high cost product is reserved for the last 2 coats = finish coats.

    Please check out the NWFA's website "Find a Pro" option. http://www.nwfa.org/

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