By Jim Flieler

The process of finishing a wood floor can be time consuming, labor intensive and disruptive not only to your cleaning program but also to the entire facility schedule. The more inside tips and secrets of the trade you know, the easier this process can become. Below I share some of my favourite wood floor finishing tips for you and your team.

Pick three people for the team.

Your wood floor care team should include three professionals to optimize efficiency. One person will apply your prep product while one person is ready to come along and do the scrubbing. The third person comes in and does the squeegeeing, wet vac or pickup. I think of it in an American football analogy. Your prep person is like the quarterback. They keep the ball moving, constantly feeding the team “the ball” by putting down product. This way you avoid delays during the process, increasing efficiency and reducing the amount of time and labor involved   

Consider ergonomics by investing in a few key tools.

Using a watering can to apply the coating can take a longer time; it’s a back-breaking, painful and inefficient process.  Imagine going up and down 50 times the whole entire length carrying ten lbs of product and pouring it on the floor! For your actual coating application, we suggest using a weighted T bar which easily glides, along with a bucket with a pour spout on wheels.  We recommend a bucket on wheels in the bottom that takes the weight off the individual performing the task, and allows them to control the amount of product being applied to ensure it is uniform. 

Choose water-based urethane formulas.

It’s very important to allow the coating to cure. Water-based urethane formulas are much safer than our original oil-modified urethanes. The reason we switched to water based solutions is because of the VOCs in oil modified urethanes were extremely high and not in the best respiratory interest of employees or the ozone. VOCs in oil modified urethane will be 450-500 grams per liter of VOC and the industry average acceptance level is about 300 depending on the local authority’s figures. For example, our specific branded enviro-solutions coating is less than 100, making if safer for people and the planet. 

Use the dollar bill trick for cure time.

Cure time is the time after the application when the floor coating hardens. The cure time in between coats is critical. You never want to rush because if the first coat is not totally dry, the next coat will bite into it and cause white patches, peeling and lifting. When in doubt, wait an extra 10 – 20 minutes between coats. If you rush this process, you have to go through that whole labor process again. One little trick I like to use is to take a paper dollar bill, put it on the floor, step on it and swivel back and forth. If that paper glides freely under your foot and does not stick to the floor, that is a good indicator that the floor is ready for a top coat. You want to do that in about ten spots of the floor, corners, etc. and away you go.

Apply an extra coat on high-traffic areas.

Most of the aggressive, heavy traffic and activity on wooden gymnasium floors happens in the courts and the keys around each net. We recommend an extra coat on those specific areas only. Here’s the secret: You put that extra coat on those areas first! You do your prep of the whole entire gymnasium, you then apply a nice coating of the product on the key areas only (which is generally center court and under the basketball ring following the lines). 
Then we suggest one or two coats over the entire surface.

Most people don’t know about these simple tips. That’s why it is so important for you to surround yourself with deep specialists who know these inside secrets after working in the industry and performing these processes for years. 

If you have questions regarding gym floors please email us at or visit our webpage