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Mixing Wood Floor Finishes |
Applying Wood Floor Finishes


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Q. Can a water-based wood floor finish be applied over an oil-modified wood flooring finish and vice-versa?

A. Yes, a water-based finish can be applied over an oil-modified finish.  Likewise, an oil-modified finish can be applied over a water- based finish.  (Because both are urethane, they should be compatible.) The steps and concerns are about the same. First, the original product must be fully cured before you can successfully apply any water-based finish or oil-modified finish.  If you are applying water-based finish over a recent oil-based sand and finish job, you need to make sure that the oil-based finish has had enough time to cure.  Thirty days is typically enough time, but in very humid climates, 45 days may be necessary.  If applying oil-based over water-based, 14 days of cure time is necessary. If the original finish isn't fully cured, solvents will evaporate into the new finish and impede drying.  Several problems can result:  Alligatoring (wrinkling of the finish), bad adhesion, peeling, flaking off, splotchy areas and fish eye all can occur.  Once you are sure that the original finish is fully cured, make sure you use manufacturers' recommended procedures for preparing the floor and applying the new finish.  Always use recommended cleaning products.  Because of possible contaminants on the floor resulting from things such as non-recommended cleaning products and maintenance procedures, most manufacturers do not guarantee a screen and recoat - whether you are using oil or water-based finishes.  On a related note, many contractors also ask if a water-based finish can be applied over a solvent-based stain.  The answer is yes.  In fact, the majority of stains used today are solvent-based stains, and often  waterborne finish is placed over them.  The key areas to pay attention to when applying a water-based finish over a solvent-based stain are: