Arboritec spent the night supervising a commercial UV-cured wood floor recoat project at one the most heavily-trafficked coffee houses in the nation. This particular location for the well-known national chain is nestled in the busy Fisherman’s Wharf area in San Francisco, California, and welcomes over 10,000 visitors weekly.

After just three months from finishing the wood floors with another brand-recognized coating system, the coating was already wearing off and needed a recoat to bring back the life and luster of the wood.

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Together with Greg Walker of Walker Wood Floors and team, and under the general contractor direction of KDC Construction, we put our commercial recoat system to the test.

Standing on a fully cured floor, just before opening the store at 7 am. Together with Greg Walker of Walker Floors, Inc. and team, and under the general contractor direction of KDC Construction, we put our commercial UV system to the ultimate test for a very demanding recoat.

Getting Started with a Commercial Re-Coat

At 10:00 pm, Walker Floors started this commercial re-coat by taking several background moisture readings of the floor using a pinless moisture meter. After recording these background moisture levels, Greg Walker and his team begun removing the excessive dirt, grit and all other contaminants by deep cleaning the floor with Arboritec Cleaner Spray, followed by abrading with a buffer using a maroon pad. After tacking the floor with a damp microfiber mop, this process was repeated using Arboritec Clean ’N Coat, to fully remove the wax and polish build-up from a maintenance floor polish.

In general, Arboritec does not recommend using any kind of wood floor polish on floors that could be subject to periodic, or occasional re-coats, as this can require a full re-sand. Floor polishes often leave a hard-to-remove residue that may compromise the adhesion off new finish coats. If re-coating over waxed or polished floors, testing adhesion of a new coat on a small area can quickly determine if a full re-sand is required.

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After wet abrading the floor with a maroon pad and Clean ’N Coat (which chemically softens the existing layer of worn finish), the surface was let dry and then abraded with a maroon pad affixed with 120 grit sanding strips to increase abrasion.

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The floor was then vacuumed, dry mopped and tacked with a damp microfiber mop. Once dry, the adhesion was tested on a smaller area before coating the entire floor. The test displayed good adhesion, allowing the coating process to begin.

Before applying the first coat of Arboritec Avenue, a 2-component ceramic-fortified commercial-grade waterborne finish, moisture readings were re-taken and compared against their original background values, to ensure the floor was dry enough for coating.

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Using a 2-Component Finish for Re-coats

It is important to always use Arboritec’s 2-component commercial finishes like Avenue and/or Genuine when re-coating over previously finished, or factory finished floors. The enhanced adhesion properties and strength from the addition of the  Arboritec Hardener Plus, (the “2nd” part of the “2-component”) provides a high-strength, durable bond to existing finish coats that is impossible to achieve by using lower quality 1-component products.

Usually, only one coat of Arboritec Avenue is required when followed by UVElite, a site-cured waterborne UV finish. Use two coats of Avenue for re-coat projects that do not include finishing with UVElite.

Checking Moisture and Testing UV Lamps to get ready for UV Site-Curing

Approximately 1.5 hours later, once the floor had dried and ready to walk on, moisture levels were again checked against their original background values before applying a second coat of UVElite.

UVElite is a single component ceramic fortified waterborne finish that requires a portable UV-light in order to cure. Without curing with the UV lamp, UVElite finish will never achieve its impressive instant hardness and durability, leaving the floor vulnerable to damage.

It is important that all UV-curing equipment be tested for lamp operation at every job-site, before applying the UVElite finish. Most UV-machines require 220V power to operate, so it’s very important to check the wall outputs and be sure that the lamp lights up. If no 220V power is available, two opposite-phase 110V wall outlets may be used, combined to 220V via a converter, such as the one provided by the Jelight Company.

Curing with an Ultraviolet Lamp

As soon as moisture level readings from the final coat of UVElite reached within one percent of the previously-recorded background levels, the floor was cured instantly with a Jelight 412EX portable UV machine. If the floor is cured too early by not allowing the moisture levels return to their original values, it may cause blistering from the excess water still left in the finish.

Curing the floor with a portable UV light is easy. Simply push the machine at a speed of 20-30 feet (6-9 meters) per minute, depending on the lamp power (1700W vs. 3000W) , overlapping the cure path at each pass. Overlapping any parts of the floor with the UV light does not cause the finish to over-cure and is highly recommended, to ensure that there are no missed spots. While it is okay to overlap any area of the floor as many times as necessary, never let the UV machine stand in one place too long while the lamp is turned on: the heat of the lamp can cause the finish to blister and the wood to burn. Not surprisingly, always turn off the lamp and unplug the UV machine before taking a break.

The floor is fully cured after completing the cure process and all furniture and fixtures can be replaced. This means no commercial downtime and no lost business – ever again!

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By 7 am, this bustling coffeehouse was back to the business of providing a pleasant cafe experience and delicious, hot stimulants to customers along Fisherman’s Wharf!