Water based finish won't adhere - HELP

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Joined
Jun 20, 2019
Messages
7
Location
Michigan
I just closed on my house 2 weeks ago and I decided to refinish my almost 80 year old floors in the lower level myself.

I have red oak floors that were previously finished with an oil based poly. I sanded the floors about 2 weeks ago, stained them last weekend with an oil based stain, and had always planned on using a water based finish to avoid ambering. I put on 2 coats of water based finish yesterday. After the first coat, I returned to the house and there were a few weird, cloudy spot near my front door. Upon closer inspection, it looked crusty and sure enough, it flaked right off. The rest of the floor looks great. These spots come right off with light rubbing. I got off all of the crustiness and tried again. I coated just those small spots, let them dry, and then applied my 2nd coat to the floor. I just got to the house and the same thing happened in that spot. Again I scraped it off then sanded. I applied another light coat of finish and it has done it again. I have no idea what is causing it and I'm panicking. I don't want to apply anymore coats until I figure out how to handle this.

Any ideas??
 

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I assume you sanded the floor down to bare wood? Depending on heat and humidity, maybe the stain wasn't quite dry even tho it looked dry?
 
A floor that age most likely wasn't stained before finishing. Could it be the floor wasn't sanded all the way down to bare wood?
I'm assuming that what you sanded wasn't the original or first finish. I'm trying to think that maybe someone waxed the floor at some point, or spilled something oily on the floor.
Wood flooring and finishing isn't my line of work, so I'm asking just enough questions to see if something's obvious.
 
A floor that age most likely wasn't stained before finishing. Could it be the floor wasn't sanded all the way down to bare wood?
I'm assuming that what you sanded wasn't the original or first finish. I'm trying to think that maybe someone waxed the floor at some point, or spilled something oily on the floor.
Wood flooring and finishing isn't my line of work, so I'm asking just enough questions to see if something's obvious.
It was definitely bare wood, the gray, worn area was sanded off in the process. I was able to scrape off the finish from this area and I wiped the section with mineral spirits hoping that it would wipe off any excess stain. I did this last night and I've let it sit hoping it will dry if that was the issue. I'm a little reluctant to apply more finish until I figure this out.
 
No, this area is in front of the stairway. This area of the floor was very worn before I sanded, practically no finish left and graying.
That makes me wonder about wax on the floor or oil of some kind that was tracked in and got embedded or soaked into the wood. If the finish was worn off in at area, then it would be a lot more susceptible to intrusion by some type of contaminate. If so, it would probably accept the stain, but not the finish.
I don't know of there may be some sort of a sealer that could be applied before the finish coat..... a sanding sealer. A paint store might be able to tell you if that would work.
 
That makes me wonder about wax on the floor or oil of some kind that was tracked in and got embedded or soaked into the wood. If the finish was worn off in at area, then it would be a lot more susceptible to intrusion by some type of contaminate. If so, it would probably accept the stain, but not the finish.
I don't know of there may be some sort of a sealer that could be applied before the finish coat..... a sanding sealer. A paint store might be able to tell you if that would work.

Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it. I'll look into the sealers.
 
It was definitely bare wood, the gray, worn area was sanded off in the process. I was able to scrape off the finish from this area and I wiped the section with mineral spirits hoping that it would wipe off any excess stain. I did this last night and I've let it sit hoping it will dry if that was the issue. I'm a little reluctant to apply more finish until I figure this out.
The mineral spirits might take a while to get completely dried out. I'd certainly give it plenty of time before attempting anything further. Mineral spirits would take a lot longer to dry out than acetone or lacquer thinner..... that said, lacquer thinner dribbled on a place you didn't want it, would be a bad thing.
 
The mineral spirits might take a while to get completely dried out. I'd certainly give it plenty of time before attempting anything further. Mineral spirits would take a lot longer to dry out than acetone or lacquer thinner..... that said, lacquer thinner dribbled on a place you didn't want it, would be a bad thing.
My mistake, it was actually lacquer thinner.
 

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