Re-coating a urethane finished floor is part of the regular maintenance of wood flooring and should only be performed by a professional, specializing in wood flooring (like Champion Floor Company). There is a lot that can go wrong and a bad re-coat is only remedied by a full re-sand. YIKES! A re-coat is not a re-sand or a refinishing of a wood floor. That is a different process and will be the topic of a different blog.
So now let’s dive into what a re-coat actually is, the process, and the pros/cons. A re-coat is basically adding an additional coat/s of finish to a floor that is already complete. It is essentially a new wear layer to walk on, extending the life of the finish and time between re-sands. Usually the re-coated floor has been lived on for 5-7 years. The timing of the re-coat has to do with the wear* on the floor. At the first sign of wear, usually in heavy traffic areas, you should call a professional to come and take a look.
The process for a re-coat depends on a few factors, but the main components are the same. First, the floor finish is cleaned and abraded, either physically or chemically. This abrasion gives something for the new coat of finish to adhere to. Next the new finish is applied. Some re-coats involve more than one coat of finish; others are just a one-coat re-coat.
Now there are some great reasons to re-coat a floor. A re-coat will add years to the floor’s life by thickening and renewing the wear layer. It also can act like a mini facelift for the floors, making them shiny and fresh again. Plus, re-coats are less expensive and less messy than a full re-sand.
However, there are some drawbacks. Re-coats won’t fix damaged floors and you cannot change the color of the floors**. Re-coats are also risky. Customers electing to re-coat a floor should have complete knowledge of the floor’s history and cleaning products. There are tons of cleaning products on the market that leave a film on the floor finish. It is impossible to know during the abrasion phase if all the film has been removed. The film will keep the next layer of finish from adhering properly, resulting in a failed re-coat. You also cannot re-coat a floor if any part of the finish is completely worn through to the wood. We usually see this from bar stools and kitchen chairs. The new finish will not adhere to the wood, only to old urethane finish that has been properly abraded. And, as I described above, failed re-coats are only remedied by full re-sanding of the flooring. And, even worse, the re-coat may not fail right away. We have seen peeling finish as quickly as the next day but as late as 6 months later. Can you imagine putting all your furniture back, only to have a failed finish 6 months down the road? It is not a great scenario. This is why you want to be honest and upfront about the maintenance of your floor before the re-coat process. You must hire someone that knows what they are doing. Wood floor professionals that perform re-coats will ask questions and be upfront about the possibility of failures.
Here in Saint Louis, Champion Floor Company will give you a free assessment of your wood floors. We will let you know if a re-coat is a good idea for your floor, or even possible. Give us a call, (314) 739-2555.
* “Wear” on a floor is usually described as excessive scratching or dulling of the finish.
** Beware of companies promising the change the color of the floor with a re-coat. They are adding stain into the finish which leads to cloudy colors and inferior wearing of the finish.