Home Owners F.A.Q
Frequently Asked Questions for Home Owners
Whether you are planning to engage the services of a timber flooring professional, or even considering doing it yourself, Bona has the right products to bring out the best in your timber floor. In addition to a range of finishes designed to give you choices in appearance, colour and performance Bona also have a range of easy-to-use floor care products to keep your floors looking wonderful. Some common owner questions are addressed below to assist you in making as informed decision when it comes to you floor.
Toxic fumes given off by solvent floor finishes contain free isocyanates that affect the respiratory system and are particularly dangerous for asthma sufferers, children and the elderly. Solvent-based floor finishes are classified as poisons and homeowners should vacate premises until solvent based coatings are fully cured. This can take a minimum of 7 – 14 days. In addition the fumes from solvent finishes can taint food in pantries and even refrigerators. Some water-based paints can turn yellow due to the reaction of isocyanates with the amines in the paint. Plants, paintings and pets should also be removed from the area until the finish is totally cured.
Alternatively choose the convenience of a non-toxic water-based floor finish. No toxic fumes or isocyanates - so no need to move out! Bona’s modern polyurethane finishes offer excellent wear resistance, are non-yellowing and bring out the real beauty of timber flooring - without risking your health. Solvent finishes are a thing of the past, so ask your professional floor finisher about the benefits of the Bona water-based alternative.
The myth that solvent based floor finishes wear better is not correct. Today’s polyurethane technology means that the best water-based finishes provide wear resistance superior to that of a solvent-based product - and are 100% polyurethane based without toxic fumes. Water-based finishes are a preferred choice for commercial premises due to their wear resistant properties and non-toxic composition. Minimal disturbance is required as there are no toxic fumes or health risks.
Bona are the world leader in high quality durable floor finishes and since the early 1990's ceased production completely of toxic solvent based finshes, now exclusively producing water-based finishes only. This is in line with EU regulations which ban the use of toxic solvent based finishes in most European EU countries. Bona coatings cover more than 850 million m² of flooring worldwide, having been sold in Australia for over 20 yrs and used to coat flooring at the Brisbane Supreme Court, Old Parliament House Canberra, the National Gallery Victoria, Adelaide Oval and countless other commerical and residential projects.
Bona non-toxic water-based finishes offer many advantages over solvent-based products. Firstly all Bona finishes are classified as non-toxic and there is no need to move out while the finish is curing. This usually takes between 7 and 14 days. Bona finishes are non-yellowing, fast drying and have excellent resistance to wear. Remember however that the timber can be affected by UV light so exposed areas may change colour a little over the first few months. There is also a choice of sheen levels ranging from absolute matt to matt to satin and through to gloss. Unlike solvent finishes that give floors a plastic appearance, Bona finishes look natural and highlight the beauty of the timber.
The difference in product cost between using a water-based finish and a solvent finish is usually about $4 - $6 per m². This is a small difference when the many benefits of a non-toxic Bona finish are taken into account. For example, there is no need to move out during the finishing of the floor. If you are only having floors in part of your house being coated then you can use the remainder of the house. Similarly there are no lingering odours or solvents as there would be with a solvent-based finish so you can reoccupy the coated areas quickly with no fear of being exposed to dangerous chemicals.
It is always difficult to be able to advise what specification is needed for a floor without having information regarding the expected traffic levels, the required appearance with regard to colour / sheen / depth of the finish, the expected floor care regime and the budget considerations. In general terms all of the Bona finishes are suitable for domestic and home office use but clearly they also have varying expected performance levels. For instance, if you have a young family and expect that your floors will be subject to very heavy wear then you may wish to use one of our commercial finishes, such as Bona Traffic, whereas if the floor has lighter use then Bona Mega may be more suitable.
Whichever specification you decide upon with your contractor there are a few things that you should make sure of in relation to the finishes used. The specification should have a Bona primer followed by 2 applications of the same Bona finish; the Bona Traffic Natural 2 coat system is the only exception to this. The use of solvent-based primers from other companies is not acceptable. Similarly using a different Bona finish for the middle coat compared to the final application, such as using Bona Mega and then Bona Traffic, can bring issues. Finally, if you are unsure as to which product to use on your floor always try to use the 'higher' specification to ensure that the system chosen can deal with the expected level of traffic and use.
Although Bona top coats can be used directly on bare timber, we strongly recommend the use of Prime Classic, Intense or White. Firstly, you save money because a primer costs less than a top coat. More importantly apart from the savings there are sound technical reasons to use a primer. Bona Classic, Intense and White ensure the floor has an even look without discolouration or a patchy appearance and minimise any possibility of edge bonding occurring with your floor. You also save time because the products dry faster than top-coats.
There are some simple steps to caring a timber floor. In short, try to prevent the floor getting dirty by using preventative measures such as mats, clean up spillage as soon as possible, use the minimum amount of moisture on the floor and refurbish the floor by re-coating the floor with a single application of finish when required.
Click on the link for more information on Bona floor care products.
Finding a contractor to undertake any building work can be a daunting task. Word-of-mouth recommendations are always good but if this is not possible we would suggest that you consult a Bona Certified Contractor:-
The Bona Certified Contractor program (BCCP) is by invitation only. It is for contractors who prefer to use Bona non-toxic finishes instead of solvent finishes and who demonstrate professionalism in their work practices.
Members of the program are required to make Bona finishes their first recommendation for all timber floors. Other finish systems will only be used if instructed by an architect or property owner.
Bona Certified Contractors are encouraged to use the latest machinery to give the best possible results for their clients. Contractors who use the Bona Dust Control (DCS) system to give dust free sanding or who offer specialised cleaning services with the Bona PowerScrubber are indicated within the BCCP listing - simply click on the Find your Contractor tab. Other things to consider may include the following:-
Most contractors are happy to provide a free quotation, subject of course to the time and distance to reach you. Whilst no contractor likes to feel that they are one of 10 contractors being asked to quote generally they are happy to give a price for the proposed work. This means that you can judge what is a fair price.
To ensure you know exactly what each contractor is offering make sure you obtain a detailed quotation in writing detailing all the work to be carried out. Clarify the little things such as, “Will the rubbish and sawdust from the floor be removed from site”? It is important to compare 'apples to apples' or you might find that your 'cheap' price leaves you with much work still to do.
Ask the contractor for references that you can contact if you choose to. Good contractors are only too happy to have the chance to let you speak to happy customers.
Be wary when the vast majority of the money is asked for 'up front' and make sure you are happy with the end result before making final payment. Stage payments are often used where timber flooring is laid and finished with a payment made after each phase of work is completed but again make sure you are happy before signing off each stage.
The ultraviolet spectrum within sunlight can affect any organic material including timber. Any exposure to light will bring with it some change in colour to a floor irrespective of the use of a stain or finish and even if the surface is not in direct sunlight. Lighter timbers, such as Blackbutt, tend to slightly darken when exposed whereas darker or redder timber species, like Jarrah, can become darker or, if exposed to very direct sunlight, lighter. The use of waterborne finishes can slow the changes seen but cannot prevent the process from occurring.
All timbers, and cork, when exposed to very direct sunlight over an extended period of time are susceptible to ‘fading’ where the surface of the timber can lose most of its colour and become almost white or grey in appearance. This is most noticeable with darker and red timbers but can also be clearly seen on lighter species and timber artificially coloured by heat treatment. It is important therefore that this effect is acknowledged as having the potential for causing colour changes so that steps such as the use of UV blocking films and window dressings, e.g. blinds, curtains, etc. can be put into place.
If colour changes do occur sanding the floor to bare timber will remove the affected surface layer and allow the floor to be returned to its original colour.