screenshot068It’s always heartwarming to be able to help a client who purchased a floor from us over 20 years ago. George and Cyndi Watkins wanted to take the wax finish off their River Recovered® Heart Pine floors, then stain and coat them with a water-based polyurethane.

The Watkins are discerning clients who know what they want and are intelligent about pursuing it. Their Thomasville, Georgia builder, Dudley Lewis, likewise, is an expert. They wanted to remedy the fisheyes in the finish caused by the wax buildup, especially between the boards. Goodwin contacted a number of floor professionals with varying solutions. Howard Brickman, Brickman Consulting, once again came to the rescue.

Dudley told us he was impressed with Mr. Brickman’s advice:

Thanks for your help and the great references.  I had a long and educational talk with Howard Brickman.  He recommends clear shellac instead of a primer as a first step of the recoat after cleaning up the excess wax.  Interestingly he said that he doesn’t see this problem much since most people refinish with oil-base polyurethane.  Apparently the problem with fisheyes from the wax contamination is more common with a waterborne finish.

I called a chemist friend of mine who is a chemical engineer.  He reminded me that wax is a petroleum product and that denatured alcohol or acetone won’t work.  He said to use a good grade of mineral spirits after sanding and after the final buffing that raised the wax from between the boards.  He went into the organic chemistry explanation but it’s been so long since I studied chemistry that it went right over my head.

I had a conference call with the tech support guy for Bona Traffic and the manufacturer’s representative at the same time.  Both said that their product was compatible with the shellac but both encouraged me to try a small area first.  They also said that Bona Traffic was compatible with the Sherwin Williams Wood Classic Stain.”

Thank you, Dudley, for allowing Goodwin and our excellent support colleagues to help you make your clients happy. We hope others can benefit from this very insightful information!