The scariest part of recoating a floor is not knowing if it will fail, until it fails.

Why would your coat fail? If there are residues from previous cleaning products, or sketchy “Restore Your Floor’s Shine in Seconds” treatments, your topcoat might not bond to the current surface. If that floor has been cleaned with Murphy’s Oil Soap, Orange Glo, or acrylic waxes like Future or Mop & Glo, a modern polyurethane will NOT bond to it. Even if you screen it aggressively first, you are likely to experience “crawling,” the dreaded “fish-eye,” or just widespread peeling after the finish is applied. *shudder*.

But the problem is, you can’t SEE or even feel the residue from any of those treatments.

You won’t know they are there, until it’s too late. And if your topcoat fails, you can’t just wipe it off and try again. You have to let it harden, and sand everything off. Yes, everything, down to the wood, including the existing coat you were trying to save.

The scariest part of recoating a floor is not knowing if it will fail, until it fails.

Why would your coat fail? If there are residues from previous cleaning products, or sketchy “Restore Your Floor’s Shine in Seconds” treatments, your topcoat might not bond to the current surface. If that floor has been cleaned with Murphy’s Oil Soap, Orange Glo, or acrylic waxes like Future or Mop & Glo, a modern polyurethane will NOT bond to it.

Even if you screen it aggressively first, you are likely to experience “crawling,” the dreaded “fish-eye,” or just widespread peeling after the finish is applied. *shudder*.

But the problem is, you can’t SEE or even feel the residue from any of those treatments. You won’t know they are there, until it’s too late. And if your topcoat fails, you can’t just wipe it off and try again. You have to let it harden, and sand everything off. Yes, everything, down to the wood, including the existing coat you were trying to save.

So, if you don’t know the maintenance history of the floor you want to recoat, STOP!

Test the floor for invisible contaminants before you proceed. Or, the safest route, just assume your floor is compromised and scrub the floor with Pallmann Clean Strong, which is a water-based grease and polish remover.

There are two common types of contamination we fear:

Grease-based residue, like wax or oil-soap.

Acrylic waxes or polishes.

Here’s how it works…

Testing for grease-based residue, like wax or oil-soap

• Choose a low-traffic area that was likely cleaned with the offending substance. Behind a door or under a toe-kick in the kitchen are good spots because they are usually cleaned or coated but the residue wears off more slowly because no-one actually walks there (by contrast, closets are not good test areas because those areas are often skipped during the cleaning process).
• Next, place several large drops of mineral spirits on the chosen area and let them sit for 2-3 minutes.
• Wipe up the paint thinner with a clean white rag. If you see brown or yellow residue on the rag, or if the residue feels waxy, a contaminant is present.

Scrub the entire floor with Pallmann Clean Strong before proceeding to buffing with 180-grit to prepare for coating.

Testing for acrylic waxes or polishes

1 – Find a low-traffic that was likely included in routine cleaning  (as we mentioned before, behind a door is a good option).
2 – Place a large drop of a 1:1 water-ammonia mixture on the floor and allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes.
3 – If the area turns white, a floor polish or wax is likely present. Scrub the entire floor with Pallmann Clean Strong before proceeding to buffing with 180-grit to prepare for coating.

Although this means a few extra minutes of work for you, you do NOT want to skip these steps.

Unless you personally have been in charge of cleaning and maintenance of this floor for a good long while, you don’t want to risk recoating a compromised surface.