Environmental Green Products :: Repairable Floor Finishes

Repairable Floor Finishes

Repairable floor finishes:
Plastic floor finishes such as polyurethane have become so standard in the United States that many people are surprised to learn they have an option: a repairable floor finish, also known as a penetrating oil or wax finish. Instead of coating the floor with a film, as polyurethane does, these finishes penetrate into wood fibers and protect from within. When the finish wears-as all floor finishes eventually do-spot-repair is so easy that homeowners can keep the finish in good shape indefinitely.

The only problem with most oil and wax finishes is that they need frequent maintenance. Our OSMO Polyx-Oil is far more durable. Tests in Germany, where it is manufactured, showed it to be just as tough as polyurethane. Yet it is very definitely a repairable floor finish-with the added benefits of being natural, low-toxic and pleasant to use.

Why plastics are hard to touch up
Spot repairs on polyurethane are difficult for three reasons:
  • These finishes don't bond chemically to previous layers, so touch-ups grip only where the surface has been thoroughly scuffed. But if you attempt to scuff up a spot with sandpaper and then paint fresh finish over the area, you discover the problem: Inevitably, the dried repair shows.
  • Particularly with oil-based polyurethane, which gives wood a rich amber tint, color-matching can be difficult.
  • The sheen of a patch will differ from that of the surrounding floor, unless the repair is done while the surrounding finish is still relatively new. The problem is that polyurethane looses gloss with heavy wear, and no amount of buffing will restore the sheen to the same level that will show on the patch.
OSMO Polyx-Oil, on the other hand, can be buffed repeatedly to its original luster. Wear spots treated with our Liquid Wax Cleaner buff well too. And when a fresh coat of finish does need to be applied, it's a simple process.

Why resanding is bad
With any floor, it's important to avoid letting the floor get in such sad shape that it must be totally refinished. Sanding grinds away wood. At best, most wood floors can be sanded six times before the nails poke out. Three or four sandings is typical. Some floors get only two. Then the remaining wood needs to be ripped up and replaced.

With polyurethane finishes, the trick is to apply a fresh coat as soon as the old finish dulls. At that point, the old finish can be thoroughly screened (scratched up with an abrasive pad mounted on a machine) and recoated with another layer of plastic. If this job is delayed until the finish wears off in spots, however, it won't work. Then it will be necessary to sand off all the finish and some of the wood and start over. Unfortunately, screening and recoating can't be done unless all the furniture is moved out, and the job usually means calling in professional help. So many families delay the task-and the life of their wood floors is shortened as a result.

See how costs compare
We went to Tom Salisbury of Salisbury Hardwood Floors on Bainbridge Island, a top-notch floor finisher familiar with OSMO Polyx-Oil and most other floor finishes. We asked him to compare the costs of finishes over time. The figures below are typical costs.
Day 1:
1,000 square feet of flooring is ready to install. (Includes kitchen, dining room, living room and entry way)
  • OSMO Polyx-Oil costs slightly more but needs only two coats.
  • Polyurethane is cheaper but needs three coats.
So cost to install, sand & finish is the same.
Year 2:
Piano mover gouges entry floor.
  • Polyx-Oil gets professional touch-up. (Homeowner could do.)
Polyurethane can't be repaired, so scratch stays.
Year 7:
Entry floor and area around dining room table look badly worn.
  • OSMO Polyx-Oil gets another touch-up, involving 300 square feet.
  • Floor with polyurethane must be sanded to bare wood and refinished, involving 1,000 square feet.
* Labor to sand and apply required finish.
* Finish required2
* Handwork in toe kick areas.
* Move & reinstall baseboards
* Move household contents
* Move & reset refrigerator
* Mask to control dust
* Clean up
Total after seven years
We priced water-based polyurethane from Home Depot, just to underscore our point. (2005)

You save $6,969!! And this is just the beginning!

  • Skip the mess.
  • Skip the hassle.
  • Preserve your wood floors.

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