What are the Advantages of Norton Red Heat Abrasives?

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Norton Red Heat is a hardwood floor abrasive that is made with 100% SG ceramic grain. The benefits for the floor contractor are long life, rapid stock removal and what is known as “the cleanest scratch pattern in the industry.” Norton Red Heat is available in both belts and screens.

Here are some benefits and details of the technology behind Norton Red Heat:

The secret behind the even scratch pattern? 100% ceramic grain

Red Heat is the only hardwood floor abrasive on the market that is 100% ceramic grain. Competitive ceramic products are blended with less expensive grains. These blended products are most often made by combining ceramic with aluminum oxide. The aluminum oxide wears at a different rate (much faster than ceramic) which affects life and can create shiny burnish marks.

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A ceramic grain is larger and cuts deeper than the aluminum oxide which in turn creates an uneven scratch pattern due to the presence of aluminum oxide. However, with Red Heat, the abrasive is made with 100% SG ceramic in the same size grain. Click here to purchase Norton Red Heat belts.

Ceramic micro-fractures and stays sharp, so the stock removal is excellent. The abrasive flattens the floor while providing a clean cut at the same time.

Ceramic has heat-dissipating properties

Ceramic is a material that dissipates heat. The Red Heat line of abrasives operate best under pressure. They are best used with red oak and harder wood species. (Although some contractors report success using a Red Heat belt for about 1,000 square feet, then saving the worn belt for pine jobs, which is soft and does not need a lot of pressure).

Because it dissipates heat so well, Red Heat is highly unlikely to leave burn marks on the hardwood.

Norton Red Heat vs. silicon carbide

To get an understanding of how well Red Heat works on a hardwood floor, let’s take a look at a Red Heat screen vs. a black, silicon carbide screen. Silicon carbide is aggressive, but it dulls quickly because it macro-fractures in big pieces. The silicon carbide grain is shaped like a long, jagged Norton Red Heatshark tooth. These “teeth” cut deeply into the hardwood floor which is why one sees buffer or “swirl” marks.

In contrast,  the 100% ceramic Red Heat screen micro-fractures so it stays sharp. The lower profile ceramic grain leaves a very fine scratch pattern that practically eliminates swirl marks. Another benefit of micro-fracturing ceramic vs. macro-fracturing silicon carbide is screen life. Black screens will only be able to screen approximately 600-700 square feet of bare wood. A Red Heat screen will average approximately 3,000 square feet on bare wood.

This translates to the least expensive way to screen a wood floor yet get the finest scratch pattern, without buffer marks.

You can use Red Heat to re-sand prefinished hardwood floors

One of the reasons Norton invested in creating Red Heat is the need to re-sand pre-finished floors. These floors are tough to sand since they are finished with multiple coats in climate-controlled factory conditions.

In most cases, you can sand down to the bevel with a 40 grit Red Heat belt. But on the tougher jobs, an effective method is to run an 80 grit Red Heat belt across the floor, lightly scuffing the top, not trying to go down to bare wood.

Once the initial “bite” into the tough finish has been completed, run a 40 grit Red Heat belt to go down to the bevel and then go back with a Red Heat 80 grit belt.

Norton Red Heat is great for screening in between coats of finish

When comes it dark stain, which is very popular but tends to show everything, Red Heat is an excellent choice. In fact, a proven method to avoid leaving buffer or edger marks is to use Red Heat Norton Red Heat screensscreen on bare wood, then the Norton Sand Dollar for between coats.

Finish companies praise how the Sand Dollar scuffs the top coat just enough for the physical bond before the chemical bond, but not enough to leave swirl marks or take off too much finish.

If the stain is particularly dark, contractors report success using the Red Heat screen on bare wood, then the blue (coarse) Sand Dollar to remove any last imperfections. Then stain and use the red Norton Sand Dollar (oil base) or yellow Norton Sand Dollar (water base) for between coats.


Click to order Norton Red Heat belts or screens, or call us at (800) 737-1786.


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