NEW! Faster Search Option

Loading

Satin poly over gloss?

Heuglin's picture

Our custom builder's painting crew went ahead and applied a hi gloss polyurethane to our formerly beautiful new oak stairs and railings without consulting us first. To me, they're ruined. I hate hi gloss anything. My wife and I had planned on a satin finish over the stain. We had not discussed it at all with the builder. He just went a head and did it. We don't know why they did this. Here's the question...

What are my options for fixing this? I anticipate some pushback from my builder when we talk this week(he probabluy OK'd it!). Can a satin be easily applied over a gloss without much hassle? Will steel wool, then satin work? Any ammunition would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

SteveSchoene's picture

(post #110480, reply #1 of 18)

Satin varnish can easily be applied over gloss.  In fact, the preferred proceedure for using satin varnish is to have all coats except the last be gloss varnish.  This gives a clearer finish.  If more than one varnish coat was contemplated, this could be the reason for the gloss coat. 


While the gloss could be rubbed out to satin, in the context it will lilkely be easier to apply a coat of satin over the gloss.  The gloss will have to be scuff sanded to ensure adhesion of the next varnish coat, whether gloss or satin. 

Test your finish on scrap, FIRST, or risk having to scrap your finish.

JMartinsky's picture

(post #110480, reply #3 of 18)

Would this method apply to poly as well?

John

SteveSchoene's picture

(post #110480, reply #5 of 18)

Polyurethane is just one variety of varnish, it differs only in that the alkyd resin of many traditional varnishes has been modified with the addition of some polyurethane resin, providing a bit more abrasion resistance.  (Phenolic resin is the other common resin in traditional varnish.  It is harder, but more prone to yellowing.)

Test your finish on scrap, FIRST, or risk having to scrap your finish.

JMartinsky's picture

(post #110480, reply #8 of 18)

Wow, I learn something new everyday!! Well, today anyway. So, can poly be applied over Varnish? What about water based vs. oil?

Thanks,

John

SteveSchoene's picture

(post #110480, reply #9 of 18)

Poly IS varnish, almost no different than other varnishes. 


Almost any finish can be applied over fully cured finishes of another kind--EXCEPT where the solvent of the new finish would hurt the old finish.  This limits lacquer over waterborne, for example, or two-part finishes over single part.  And, varnishes containing polyurethane won't adhere to shellac with wax, nor will waterborne finishes. 

Test your finish on scrap, FIRST, or risk having to scrap your finish.

Heuglin's picture

(post #110480, reply #6 of 18)

Thanks.

SgianDubh's picture

(post #110480, reply #2 of 18)

If the varnishing job is not yet finished, i.e., there are one or two coats yet to apply the intention might be, as Steve pointed out for all the reasons he gave, that only the top coat will be the desired sheen.


If the job is complete as far as the builder/painter/decorator is concerned then an additional coat of the desired sheen can be applied to finish the job to your sheen choice.


However, if you had no agreement with the (sub)contractor specifying a particular sheen, and the materials and sheen choice was left up to the (sub)contractor, it might not be unfair of the (sub)contractor to want to charge you for the extra materials and work.  It would depend on the contract agreement you have. Slainte.


Heuglin's picture

(post #110480, reply #7 of 18)

Thanks. This makes me feel a little better

PCM's picture

(post #110480, reply #4 of 18)

I concur with Steve Schoene. In my finishing shop I often use 2 coats gloss, sanded after each, then the final coat of semi-gloss or satin, depending on desired look. The gloss keeps the final product from looking cloudy.


Pete

DougU's picture

(post #110480, reply #10 of 18)

Steve mentioned this as well, but my floor guy has always told me that he applied gloss for the first few coats because it was a harder, clearer finish then the others. Then follow up with whatever the customer wanted.


Doug

Heuglin's picture

(post #110480, reply #11 of 18)

Thanks for the tip.

TrueGentleman's picture

(post #110480, reply #12 of 18)

Just a reminder, polyurethane is a coalescing finish.  You need to "scuff" the poly finish before every coat.  Steel wool works well for the scuffing.  Polyurethane does not bond to cured Polyurethane.


 


Rich

SteveSchoene's picture

(post #110480, reply #13 of 18)

Only waterborne polyurathane is a coalescing finish, oil-based poly is a reactive finish the same as other varnishes.  In fact, most single part polyurethane varnishes, especially those for the consumer market, are mostly alkyd varnishes to which some polyurethane resin has been added. 


You need to scuff between coats of oil-based poly, the same as you need to scuff between coats of traditional resin varnishes, because the coats only bond to each other mechanically, they don't dissolve into earlier coats like evaporative finishes do. 

Test your finish on scrap, FIRST, or risk having to scrap your finish.

TrueGentleman's picture

(post #110480, reply #15 of 18)

Thank you, you are right of course.


Rich


 

highfigh's picture

(post #110480, reply #16 of 18)

There's a white pad, similar to Scotch Brite and it works really well for dulling poly varnish. I used it for the face frames on my bottom cabs in my kitchen and then waxed them. Really nice and smooth.

"I cut this piece four times and it's still too short."

"I cut this piece four times and it's still too short."
SgianDubh's picture

(post #110480, reply #17 of 18)

highfigh, the trouble with dulling gloss varnish with wire wool or abrasive nylon pads on open pored woods is that the wool or pads tend to abrade only the high spots. The gloss varnish down in the open pores remains glossy and only the stuff exposed on the upper surface is matted down. This leads to an uneven and usually unsightly mixture of sheens.


In my experience open pored woods are generally best finished with a final coat of the desired sheen rather than trying to rub down a gloss polish to a preferred sheen. This, of course, may not be the same experience that others have. Slainte.


highfigh's picture

(post #110480, reply #18 of 18)

Right- open pored woods have this problem. I used maple for my face frames and didn't remember that oak was the wood in this thread.
"I cut this piece four times and it's still too short."


Edited 5/18/2006 10:13 am by highfigh

"I cut this piece four times and it's still too short."
Dave45's picture

(post #110480, reply #14 of 18)

I often have this conversation with customers and encourage the use of a higher sheen than what they actually want.  Finishes often "dull down" within a few months and that shiney gloss look will become more of a semi-gloss - or even a satin.