When you walk on a floor for years on end, you really get to know it well. And, in my 15 year-old home, I'm familiar with every nook, scratch and divot in my home's satin-finished hardwood floors. When we first moved in, our home's new, red oak floors were sealed with a builder-grade, oil-based, polyurethane finish. They looked great for about a year or so, until the natural oak color started to turn yellow. A few years later, we replaced the dining room carpet with oak, and had the entire area sanded and refinished so it blended together. The waterborne finish which our contractor applied (a different Bona Kemi product), looked good for a year or so, but quickly began to show numerous scratches, and several years later had lost its luster almost completely. (The sandbox just outside the patio door may have contributed to the dullness). So, three years ago, when we began our kitchen remodel, we decided to replace the rest of the carpet in our adjacent family room, and embark on what we hoped would be our final sanding and refinishing job.
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That's when I researched my options for our wood floor finish. I knew I didn't want to return to the old oil-based polyurethane, which had yellowed terribly, but I also sought a finish which would hold up better than the previous water-based finish, and would look great for years (hopefully decades!) to come. My research pointed to another product from the Bona Kemi line, aptly named Bona Traffic. What first attracted me to Bona Traffic was its recommendation for both residential and commercial floors. I figured, a floor finish meant for commercial floors had to be more durable than my previous lighter-duty finish.
The Application: First of all, kudos to my husband, who works a demanding job during the day and installed the hardwood in our living room on nights and weekends! After nailing in all those unfinished planks, I decided to treat him, and our floors, to a professional sanding, filling and refinishing. Our local "dust free" wood floor specialist told me the sanding and finishing of our 1000 square feet of wood floors would take about four days, and he was right. After they sanded and filled the floor, we opted for a medium-toned, slightly reddish stain. On the second day, after they brushed on several coats of stain, they began the top coat process. First, a sealer coat was applied. Then, two topcoats of Bona Traffic were applied, with ample dry time in between.
After the second topcoat was dry, we were told to stay off the floors for about 5 hours, and then walk with stocking feet for about a week, while the finish cured completely. I'm happy to say, these instructions were not difficult to follow,even with active children, and I've known other folks who had oil-based finishes installed who stayed out of their home for a week while their finish cured! Also, this Bona Traffic finish didn't have a strong smell what-so-ever, and we barely noticed any odor at all. Right away, I was in love with my new, smooth floor finish, and I'm pleased to say that three years later, I'm still happy with my choice.
The Results: Overall, our floors have resisted scratching, especially in the entryway which just receives foot traffic. We are not a stocking-feet only house, and I don't require guests to remove their shoes to gain entrance to my house. I do notice some minor scratching beneath the kitchen table and chairs, but the scratches are shallow and only show up when I'm bending down to scrutinize. We clean our floors with various products, including Murphy's Oil Soap and water/vinegar, and the finish has not faded or lost its reflective properties. The matte finish remains shiny enough to reflect light, but is not overly glossy. And, it's classified as "slip resistant", so Tom Cruise will not be filming any movies here in his socks!
Over the last three years, our oak floors have held up very well, even under a herd of kids, but were no match for one dinner-party guest, who wore 6" heels with a nail sticking out. Ouch! We now have several divots in the entryway which sadly, will never fill in. However, I credit Bona Traffic for minimizing any further damage this fashionista may have caused!
In conclusion, I definitely recommend choosing Bona Traffic for your wood floor finish, whether you're starting from scratch with a new floor installation, or are refinishing an older wood floor. This is one home improvement product which, so far, is living up to its promise of "unsurpassed durability". The finish went down smoothly and evenly, it dried quickly in about three hours, didn't smell badly, and is "GREENGUARD certified for indoor air quality". And, best of all, we didn't need to move out of our house during the finishing process.
PS ~ An additional advantage to Bona Traffic is that the finish can be recoated, without requiring a complete sanding and refinishing. A system called Bona Prep, which I have not tried yet, is supposed to remove surface scratches and scuffs when buffed in, and then a new topcoat is applied. My floor company recommended having my floors recoated after about 5 years of wear, but the finish is holding up so well, it may be a decade before this procedure is necessary.
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