How to Prevent Stop Marks on Hardwood Floors

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Applicator stop marks can be quite a nuisance when in the final stages of completing a hardwood floor install or sand and finish project.

Stop marks occur when the applicator suddenly stops moving on the floor. The finish will stop and settle into that spot. The result is a clearly defined mark of finish.

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Stop marks are also much more noticeable on dark woods. Conversely, stop marks might be present on lighter colored woods, but are not as easily seen with the naked eye. In either case it’s important to apply finish correctly to prevent stop marks.

One good strategy to prevent stop marks is to pour a line of finish along the length of a work area. When you use nylo-foam applicator like the Padco variety you will be able to run the applicator the length of the floor without lifting it up. Your re-entry to feather out turn marks should be smooth and light. If you can manage to lay down a pass of finish without stopping, you will have a better shot at preventing stop marks.

Another thing to keep an eye on is the finish manufacturers’ instructions. Some manufacturers will specify which particular applicator to use. Might be lambswool, or maybe a roller, or possibly a t-bar. If you do not use the correct applicator you risk running into problems such as stop marks. In addition to the applicator-of-choice, make sure to follow any other directions the finish manufacturer specifies. Spread rate, applicator weight and type are all important in managing the occurrences of stop marks.

If you have stop marks and would like to get rid of them, the first step you should take is to screen the floor with 120 grit sandpaper. Once the floor is rescreened, then you can reapply the finish when the floor is at an acceptable temperature and humidity.

If you have any additional questions or concerns feel free to contact us at the Philly Floor store by calling (800) 737-1786 or emailing info@phillyfloor.com.

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