Aluminum Oxide Finishes

Not much can be found on the subject of refinishing wood floors with aluminum oxide finishes. Having some questions asked on our message board, we thought it was about time to confront the subject. Today, many but not all prefinished hardwood floors today, come in a variety of Bona Prep Systemfinishes with aluminum oxide. Not all are applied on the surface during the manufacturing process, as many are sandwiched in between several layers on the bottom and top.

How To Refinish or Rejuvenate These Finishes?

Over recent years we received many calls with an increasing frequency about failures regarding buff/screen and re-coating floors with aluminum oxide finishes. Some people in our industry like to use the same methods and techniques that have been tried and tested true. Over time, as with all things, change comes. Today's finishes are the result of the laboratory sciences, evolving into quite amazing products.

So What’s The Real Problem?

One word - Bonding. By just buffing/screening, vacuuming, tack-ragging the floors, and coating; in many cases the finishes are not bonding to the aluminum oxide finish. The result is that the new finish peels off, either in patches or large sheets. As you might imagine, having this happen as a flooring contractor is not going to result in getting paid for all of your hard work. As a homeowner, you are going to be left in a bad spot at best.

Getting To The Point - Bona Kemi Prep and Recoat Adhesion System

The Bona Kemi prep and recoat adhesion system is used for recoating all types of polyurethane and aluminum oxide finishes. The process is actually very similar to the methods that have been used for decades for recoating wood floors. The key to their system is the Bona Tech Prep spray, which provides a chemical bonding agent. Bona Kemi outlines the steps that should be followed as:

1. Check for contamination of the existing finish. We fully realize you probably won't be sending samples out to a lab for a full chemical analysis, or have a spectrometer laying around in your basement. We recommend you find some out of the way place which would receive the same treatment as the rest of your flooring and scrape some of the old finish to see if there is any noticeable build up of wax, oil, or other contaminants. You can scrape with the edge of a coin, or what not. If there is any indication of contamination, the floors will have to be fully sanded, and refinished. Another method of checking for contamination would be to use a terry cloth rag with some mineral spirits, and rub a small area vigorously. If there is a visible residue left on the rag. Sanding and refinishing will be required. If you decide to do otherwise, you are likely wasting your time and money.

2. Clean the floors the best you can. Sweep and vacuum.

3. Apply The Bona Spray over about a 30 square foot area, and buff with 2 layers of Bona prep pads under a standard 175 rpm floor buffer.

4. Promptly tack-rag- the floors with a rag, micro-fiber / terry-cloth mop head soaked, and wrung out with the BONA spray.

5. Buff the floor again (second time) with before mentioned 175 rpm buffer and Bona prep pads just to make sure the floors will be truly clean and well abraded. AREAS THE BUFFER MACHINE WON'T REACH MUST BE DONE BY HAND.

6. Repeat Step 4. This will help insure full coverage of the prep spray, therefore a good bonding surface for your new finish.

7. When the liquid is dry - apply Bona Sport, Bona Traffic, or Pacific Strong floor finish as directed.

We recommend visiting the Bona Kemi site and watching their video or calling their tech support line, as we have only covered the basic information here. The tech support people @ BK are wonderful, as they fully realize their most satisfied customers are the well informed customers. They are happy to provide you with any information you may need.

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