Reflections: Coating New Wood Floors

Newly installed wood floors must be handled with care. New wood floors are far more susceptible to water damage than their older counterparts. Because newer wood floors have not had time to fill with polymer protection, the wood absorbs water more easily. This water absorption can lead to cupping or warping. Due to seasonal fluctuation and acclimation it is recommended to dry screen and use solvent-based oil modified urethanes for the first two, three or four recoats because of its flexibility. Using water-based coatings too soon can potentially cause boards to bond together to create one large panel of wood. This is called panelization.

The Reflections® Wood Floor Program offers oil-based wood floor coatings that are designed to give your gym floors excellent durability and brilliant shine. Reflections can extend the life of your gym floors, providing years of beauty, performance, safety, and durability.

Reflections oil-based wood floor coatings include Coliseum® 450, Coliseum® 350, Coliseum® 275, and Super 40 Gym Coating. Each coating is extremely durable and can achieve high gloss with one to two coats. Reflections has VOC (volatile organic compounds) compliant oil-based wood floor coatings with less harsh odors. They are also not as viscous making them easier to apply.

Age isn’t the only factor in choosing a wood floor coating. Not all new gym floors are the same and other factors such as time and equipment availability play a part in the recoating process. The care put into a new gym floor can last for the entire lifetime of a floor. Reflections experts understand each component of the environment of your gym. Reflections provides the products and training that fit your facility and its staff members best. Because coating your gym floors is not the only thing needed to maintain them, Reflections has all the products you’ll need for daily and long-term maintenance.

Ensure your new gym floor is well taken care of with Reflections training. This includes in-person training from Buckeye representatives as well as online training through the Buckeye Honors® Training Program. The Honors Custodial Training Program for schools and universities is available 24/7 with videos, PowerPoints, wall charts, and product literature to help staff members with wood floor care and more. Supervisors have the ability to assign videos and tests on various maintenance tasks to staff members. They can then view the results to ensure each staff member is up-to-date on maintenance procedures.

To find out more about how Reflections can be customized to fit your gym floor, contact your local Buckeye representative.

Your Wood Floors: Oil vs. Water

Cure time. Floor prep. Safety. A lot can factor into coating your wood floors. Here are some things to consider before deciding which wood floor coating is best for your facility.

A Floor’s Age

Simply put, oil-based wood floor coatings are the only choice for newly installed wood floors. Because wood is composed of cellulose, it is porous enough to absorb water. This is why wood often expands when the air is moist in the summer and contracts when the air is dry in the winter. Over time, wood develops polymer protection against water. Until floors have been coated at least 4 times, it’s best to use an oil-based wood floor coating.

VOCs and Cure Time

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are odorous gases that can sometimes be dangerous to the health of employees or others in your facility.

While curing, oil-based wood floor coatings often emit more VOCs than water-based wood floor coatings. Oil-based wood floor coatings can take 2 weeks to fully cure. This means, for places like schools, wood floors must be coated in the summer to give them enough time to cure and disperse any VOCs emitted.

For water-based wood floor coatings, cure time is much quicker. Gym floors coated with a water-based wood floor coating can be played on within 2-3 days and are fully cured within a week. They also emit less VOCs while curing. Because of this, a school’s gym floor can be coated with a water-based coating over a long weekend or during spring break. This gives staff the flexibility to choose when to recoat the floors and keeps heavy odors away from teachers and students.

Burnishing

Oil-based wood floor coatings do not respond well to burnishing. However, some water-based wood floor coatings can be burnished to bring back gloss and traction to a wood floor. Buckeye’s Arena 300 responds well to burnishing, helping you regain the shine and durability of your wood floor without having to completely recoat.

Prepping the Floor

There are two ways to prepare a wood floor before coating it, wet prep and dry prep. Dry prepping your floors is not ideal because it leaves behind lots of dust. However, if you plan to use an oil-based wood floor coating and wish to prep and coat your floors on the same day, dry prepping is the only option. This is especially true for new wood floors. Wet prepping new wood floors can cause the floor boards to expand and lead to cupping and peeling. If your wood floors are new, dry prepping them before applying an oil-based coating is the best way to coat your floors.

With older floors and water-based wood floor coatings, you can wet-prep and coat the floor on the same day. This eliminates dust and saves valuable time.

Environmental Safety

Water-based coatings are not flammable. Buckeye’s Arena® 300 is one of the most environmentally safe coatings in the industry, with a NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) rating of 0 for Health, Fire, and Reactivity. Also, when you have finished coating your floors with a water-based wood floor coating like Arena 300, all tools used during the process can be cleaned with water.

For oil-based finishes, this is not the case. Oil-based coatings are flammable and once you have finished coating the floor, the tools used to complete the process must be cleaned with flammable mineral spirits. Oil-based wood floor coatings often have more significant warnings on safety data sheets and, as mentioned, emit more volatile organic compounds into the air.

Room Temperature and Humidity

Fluctuation in room temperature can often cause wood floors to expand or shrink, causing cracks and air pockets to form between boards. The Maple Floor Manufacturing Association recommends that maple wood gyms be kept at a relative humidity of 35-50% and a temperature between 55-75 degrees Fahrenheit year round. While no coatings are immune to the problems that come with changes in temperature and humidity, oil-based coatings tend to resist cracking better than water-based coatings. If your facility has difficulty regulating its temperature or relative humidity, an oil-based coating may be the best choice.

Overall Savings

In addition to the features mentioned above, oil-based wood floor coatings are often less expensive to manufacture and therefore cheaper for the end user. They also only require 1-2 coats in comparison to the 2-3 required for water-based wood floor coatings.

In contrast, the overall savings offered by water-based wood floor coatings can make a difference in your facility. Water-based coatings can save staff time when prepping the floor. Their quick cure time can make the most of your gym floor year round.

Buckeye’s Reflections® Wood Floor Program has oil-based and water-based urethanes depending on your facility’s needs. To find out more about Reflections and which wood floor coatings are right for your facility, contact your local Buckeye representative.

Are you spending too much on your wood floors?

A wood floor is one of the most expensive and prestigious floor types, and is an investment that should be protected. A wood floor maintained following the Buckeye Reflections Wood Floor Care Program will deliver years of beauty, performance, safety, and durability. It is also easy to follow and cost effective.

This program includes hands-on training at no cost to your facility and will extend the life of your wood floors. Buckeye Reflections products are stocked through Buckeye’s exclusive network of distributors. Reflections products do not have harsh odors, and many feature quick dry times.

Buckeye is committed to developing products that are safer for workers and the environment without sacrificing product performance. The Buckeye Reflections Wood Floor Care Program provides the most environmentally safe, VOC compliant Arena® water-based wood floor coatings and high performance, VOC compliant Coliseum® oil-based wood floor coatings on the market. You can clean, abrade and recoat your wood floors utilizing existing equipment in your facility.

Contact your local representative today to customize the Reflections program for your specific needs.