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, you need to be informed when it comes to making decisions about your floor. Bona has the right products to bring out the best in your timber floor. In addition to 100% water-based non-toxic finishes and coatings, Bona also have a range of easy-to-use floor care and maintenance products to keep your floors looking beautiful over thier lifetime.
Commonly asked Home Owner questions are addressed below to assist you in making an informed decision and obtaining the best outcome for your floor.
Finding a contractor to undertake any building work can be a daunting task. Word-of-mouth recommendations are usually a good way to assess the contractors quality of work and reliablility. Using a Bona Certified Flooring Contractor is a guaranteed way of knowing your contractor has a proven professional track record. The Bona Certified Contractor is by invitation only. It is only for contractors who have demonstrated professionalism in their work practices over an extended period of time, and demonstrate expertise in the use of Bona non-toxic waterbased systems.
Bona Certified Contractors have access to the latest Bona machinery to give the best possible results for their clients, including the Bona Dust Control (DCS) system for dust free sanding and the Bona PowerScrubber for deep cleaning. Head here to find a BCC near you.
Most contractors will be happy to provide a free quotation, subject of course to the time and distance to reach you. A couple of quotes from well sourced contractors is generally enough to judge what is a fair price. To ensure you know exactly what the contractor is offering get detailed quotations showing all work to be carried out. Clarify the little things such as, “Will the rubbish and sawdust from the floor be removed from site”? 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, good contractors are only too happy to let you speak to their customers. Be wary if the 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 common for when each phase of work is completed, but again make sure you are happy before signing off each stage.
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.
Caring for a timber floor is simple. To begin with take preventative measures to minimize the floor getting dirty by using door mats, and clean up spillage as soon as possible. Then use an effective floor cleaning solution to regularly clean the floor, nourish its surface and maintain its sheen. A deep clean can be undertaken every few years which will remove light scratches and marks and bring the floor back to life. Sanding and Recoating may be necessary if the floor has sustained deeper scratches and is in very poor condition.
Bona supply a full range of non-toxic Greenguard Certified floor cleaning products head here for more info: Bona floor care products.
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.