PoloPlaz has been the choice of hardwood flooring professionals for more than 50 years. In all that time, our commitment to superior quality has never wavered. But it was time for a new look, and our team is excited to share the results! Like us on Facebook for details and special promotions, then visit our new website for practical guidance, project photos and even more ways to connect with PoloPlaz professionals.
We are privileged to be the finish of choice for the University of Memphis. The Memphis Tigers’ men’s basketball program is among the best in the country. How fitting it is for their basketball court to be among the ranks, too.
You may not catch it at first glance, but look closer and you will see the Memphis skyline has been painted onto the floor. If you look a little longer, you realize this design tells a story.
Memphis has earned a reputation as a basketball city. The region has become a hotbed of high school basketball talent. College coaches from across the country flock to the area and recruit many of the nation’s top players. The city also hosts a successful NBA team, the Memphis Grizzlies.
Having experienced success at the high school, college and professional level, it’s safe to say basketball has helped make the city of Memphis. It just makes sense the Memphis skyline made its way to this college basketball team’s court.
We want to extend a warm welcome to you and invite you to hang out a while and come back often! Our goal with this new blog is to keep you informed and inspired on new products, interesting facilities and the latest in cutting-edge finishing technology.
Each week we will supply you with: helpful knowledge on hardwood floor maintenance, fabulous floors that our clients are creating and in-depth analysis on our most popular products.
We aim to equip you weekly with knowledge necessary to creating a masterpiece with your floor, and helping it stay that way! We hope you join the excitement and enthusiasm here. We look forward to reading your comments and receiving your feedback.
The increased use of multipurpose facilities has created some unique problems for the hardwood flooring professional. Portable flooring systems are frequently dismantled and stored, which presents the opportunity for damage to the finish by marring, scratching, etc. Because of the timeframes involved for screen and recoats, sport floor finishes must develop film properties quickly to reduce the risk of scratching the surface during stacking and transportation. PoloPlaz World Class Finish develops chemical and abrasion resistance quickly to minimize damage. PoloPlaz Super Dry can also improve early film property development by reacting with the finish. This reaction improves early chemical and abrasion resistance, which helps to minimize damage upon stacking. Stacking the floors creates very high pressures on the bottom layers of flooring, which can cause permanent damage to the finish. Padding should be used between each flooring section to minimize damage to the finish. Floors should not be stacked before the 7-day initial curing stage.
- Stack panels face to face, with padding between faces. Do not stack over 14 panels high.
- Stacking material must be free of any surface texture (must be optically clear). Any texture will be imprinted on the finish surface while stacked, and will cause dull spots in the finish. Products such as 2 mil Melinex (available from Plastics Suppliers (800-722-5577)) should be used as stacking material.
- Before stacking, clean sections with PoloPlaz Hardwood Floor Cleaner to avoid scratches from debris. Secure stacked sections well before movement to prevent the panels from rubbing against each other.
- Do not use cardboard or foam as padding. Cardboard can scratch the finish during transportation. Most foams contain plasticizers that chemically attack the finish, causing permanent damage.
Due to their excellent chemical and abrasion resistance, PoloPlaz World Class Finish or Magnum provide the best protection for portable flooring systems. PoloPlaz is the finish of choice on many NBA and major college portable floors.
For complete information on stacking portable floors, contact the flooring system manufacturer.
Temporary game line tape is NEVER RECOMMENDED on sports floors coated with polyurethane, as there is a high risk of delaminating the finish from the floor when removing the tape. However, if tape must be used, use it at your own risk and follow these procedures to minimize damage:
- The finish on the floor must be cured for at least 30 days.
- Use only lightweight tapes that are easy to remove (3M brand 2080 & 2090).
- Do not leave the tape on the floor longer than 24 hours.
Water-based tempura paint can also be used to create temporary lines (see warning below). The finish should be cured for a minimum of 30 days before using these paints. Test the paint first by applying it to a small, inconspicuous area. Allow that paint to dry completely, then remove it with a small amount of warm, soapy water on a rag or sponge. If the paint removes easily and completely, then apply it to the remainder of the floor as game lines.
WARNING 1. Tempura paints can sometimes attack and dull the sheen of the finish. These paints should be removed as soon as possible. Be sure to test the paint before using. 2. Use only white tempura paint. Other colors can bleed into the finish.
Be sure that temperatures of the air, floor and finish are all between 70°F-80°F. As the finish is applied, it will quickly reach the temperature of the floor. A warmer temperature can cause the finish to flash dry and not flow out properly. A cooler temperature can raise the viscosity of the finish, which could result in thicker coats, slower dry times, delayed curing and even wrinkling. High humidity can slow the evaporation rate of the solvents, which will extend dry times. Allow for longer dry times when applying in high humidity. Also, never apply finish when the ambient temperature and dew point are within 5° of each other. This could allow water to condense on the floor, contaminating the finish.
Low-VOC finish should always be applied at a minimum of 500 square feet per gallon. If the coverage rate is below that (i.e. 400 square feet per gallon), then the finish is being applied too heavily. This will extend dry times. For best results, use a heavyweight T-bar to apply. It’s a good idea to calculate the square footage of the entire floor and then place a new pail of finish every 2,500 feet. As you reach each new pail during application, you should have emptied the previous one.
It is important to eliminate outside air and turn off HVAC systems during application and until the film has become tack free (usually about 8 hours). Then, allow fresh airflow on the floor to help with the curing process by removing the solvents that blanket the film. Introducing airflow to a wet film will cause it to skin over and trap the solvents underneath, significantly extending dry times. Only allow air back on the floor once the film has become tack free.
Low-VOC products are high in solids. This is great for build, protection and gloss, but it also requires 24 hours before it can be top coated. Drying overnight may not be adequate in some situations, so allow for these products to dry for a full 24 hours before applying another coat.
Never use power scrubbers or automatic floor cleaning machines that disperse water on the floor (especially water under pressure). The use of scrubber machines will void the warranty on your floor. Power scrubbers were designed for other surfaces, such as terrazzo and vinyl floors. Even the softest brushes will scratch and dull the finish. The chemicals typically used in these machines are too aggressive for wood and finishes. The machine’s liquid and scrubbing action can cup the floor, and pull paint and finish from the wood.
Use the following Tie Tack cleaning systems for periodic deep cleaning, tacking between coats, and to reduce spreading contaminants during screen and recoats. The mixing ratios indicate water to Tie Tack ratio, so 3:1 would imply three parts water to one part Tie Tack.
Periodic Cleaning, 3:1 – Mix solution in bucket and clean entire floor. If floor is heavily soiled, two cleanings may be required.
Tacking Between Coats, 3:1 – Do not increase the Tie Tack ratio. You must final tack with clean water only before top coating.
Clean Before Screening, 0:1 – Use Tie Tack at full strength before screening to reduce the risk of contaminants. Do not use it at full strength between coats.
- In a bucket, mix the appropriate ratios of Tie Tack and water. Dip untreated cotton towels in solution and wring towels before placing flat on floor.
- Place push broom on towel one foot from leading edge and fold leading edge over the top of push broom. Push towel the entire length of floor. Before returning back down to the floor, lift and move push broom back on towel about six inches so that only a clean portion of the towel is on the leading edge, and fold the soiled portion of the towel on top or behind the broom bristles. Repeat the process until there is not a clean edge on the towel. At that point, turn the towel over and continue.
- When a towel becomes dirty or dry, replace it with a new clean towel. Never dip a dirty towel in clean solution. Continue cleaning with fresh towels until entire floor is tacked. If floor still appears dirty, it may be necessary to tack the floor again with the Tie Tack solution.
Polyballs are beads of paint or finish that protrude from cracks in the floor when the moisture content (MC) of the wood rises, causing the cracks to close up. A paint polyball is a serious problem, as it can be smeared over the rest of the floor – potentially requiring screening or even recoating. Polyballs typically occur in the spring on jobs that were completed the previous winter. Here’s why:
- Wood furnished from the north in winter is typically supplied at low moisture content. It is milled at around 6% MC and stored at about the same.
- During winter, even in the south, humidity is at its lowest. Couple this with possible heating at the facility and moisture content can be even lower.
- If the floor is laid and finished at this low moisture content, there will be considerable expansion in the spring during higher humidity. This can cause great compression of any paint or finish in the cracks of the floor.
- Paint and finish that accumulate in the cracks of the floor are denied the oxygen required for curing, and could be soft (semi-solid) when the spring expansion occurs. Facility owners and operators may be resistant to maintaining proper temperature and humidity in their facilities due to the high cost of air conditioning. Therefore, we must estimate the worst-case temperature and humidity as an acclimation condition. (On the other hand, floors laid in spring and summer will acclimate to a higher, more representative MC, thereby lessening the problem.)
First, we must establish or estimate the highest moisture content (MC) of the year for the floor to be installed. Use the chart NWFA (water and wood) Handbook chart to estimate the normal MC of the wood, based on temperatures and relative humidity (RH).
Consider an example of predominant winter conditions of 50°F and 25% RH. This is when the floor is to be laid and finished. For this same facility, we can project a spring or summer condition of 70°F and 75% RH. Refer to the chart and you will see a moisture content change from 5.5% to 14.4% or a change of 8.9%! This translates into a dimensional change of 0.70″ across ten 2¼” boards (8.9 x 10 x 2.25″ x .00353). (Change in MC x # of boards x board width x expansion factor for maple).
Of course, this dimension increase is not possible, and is translated into extreme pressure between boards – the type of pressure that causes polyballs. If this floor had been laid and finished at a moisture content closer to the worst case of 14.4, there would have been little expansion and no polyballs.
To ensure polyballs do not ever happen, pay close attention to this winter moisture content problem of both the subfloor and the flooring. When moisture content is low, it must be raised through the use of humidifiers or other means.
To check moisture content without a moisture meter, or if you question the meter reading, assemble ten boards and measure overall width. These boards were milled at 6%. For every 1% of moisture content over that at which it was milled, these ten boards will grow in width about an eighth of an inch. Use this guide to establish the proper moisture content. If there are open cracks in the floor, assume low moisture content. Increase the moisture content before applying the finish.
As an additional measure to prevent polyballs, we recommend that multiple layers of paint NOT be used. There is a new masking system that allows the use of only one layer of paint, even on logos. As an example, if you were going to letter a school name on a border using this new system, you would paint the letters first. Then a computer-generated mask is placed over the letters and the border is painted. This actually leaves a small amount of wood showing around the perimeter and the inside of the letters, which looks more professional.
When polyballs do crop up, get to them QUICKLY. Oftentimes, these balls can be wiped up with mineral spirits if they are still wet. If they have become hard, a straight edge or a drywall knife can be used to break them off. Train your local maintenance personnel on how to deal with them and the problem will not be severe.
Everyone’s warranty should require that the facility owner maintain the proper temperature and humidity conditions in any facility with a wood floor. The consequences of not doing so (i.e. polyballs, cupping, etc.) should be clearly explained. This will at least give you a point of negotiation when dealing with the problem.