Frequently Asked Questions

Why use Bona water-based finishes?

There are two main reasons for using Bona finishes. 

Firstly, for the sake of your health and that of your employees.  It is an undeniable fact that solvent-based polyurethane coatings pose severe health risks to flooring contractors, other trades on site, during and after the floor has been coated, and occupiers of the property.  These coatings contain high levels of solvents, up to 80%, and chemicals such as Toluene Di-isocyanate, Formaldehyde, Xylene and Benzene.  Suppliers of H & S equipment will only recommend the use of an independently supplied air system whenever solvent based finishes containing isocyanate are used because the dangers are such that it is not possible to be protected using a normal face mask. 

Secondly, using water-based finishes will give you an advantage over competitors who only offer customers solvent products.  In other words, you will win more quotes at a higher price.  That’s because homeowners and other customers are willing to pay for the many benefits of Bona non-toxic finishes.  

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Aren’t water-based finishes expensive?

In dollar terms, the difference in product cost between applying 3 coats of a solvent-based finish or 3 coats of a Bona water-based finish is generally between $4 and $6 per square metre depending on the products used and coverage rates.  On a typical 50 m² floor that means a difference of $200 to $300.  The customer must compare the extra cost with the numerous benefits of a non-toxic, non-yellowing waterborne finish.  In many cases, just the fact that there is no need to vacate the premises for at least a week is more than enough reason to make the waterborne choice.

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Aren’t water-based finishes difficult to use?

No, this is a myth which has developed for no readily apparent reason.  In many ways Bona water-based finishes are easier to use than solvent-based finishes.  For example, there is no need to wear a respirator, in normal circumstances, and all coating tools wash out in water so there is no need to have to buy cleaning solvent.  As far as application technique is concerned, water-based finishes are easier to apply than solvent finishes and all that is required is a little experience to get used to a new healthier way of working.  The essentials are the same with all coatings: apply evenly with a smooth technique whilst ensuring that the coverage rate is observed.

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How wear resistant are Bona finishes?

Bona water-based finishes such as Traffic HD, Traffic and Mega are 100% polyurethane and have a resistance to wear comparable with both 2 pack and moisture curing solvent finishes.  The recently introduced Bona Traffic HD has over 60% better wear resistance than the original Bona Traffic and floors can be put back into normal use 24 hours after the final application.  Bona Traffic Natural is a unique formulation with the same performance level as Traffic, as a 3 coat system, in relation to wear.  However, the the absolutely flat matt finish means that it is almost impossible to see any wear even in the most highly trafficked areas.  These levels of performance have been demonstrated in various Standard Abrasion tests and are supported by ‘real life’ evidence over many years.  Bona finishes perform well in busy homes, restaurants, museums, art galleries and retail outlets in 70 countries all over the world.  Since 1980 Bona have sold enough finish to coat 750 million m2 with 175 million m2 of Mega and 150 million m2 of Traffic included in this number. 

Recent examples of commercial projects in Australia include 10,000 m2 at the new Brisbane Supreme Court, the entrance hall & Kings Hall at Old Parliament House in Canberra, 1300 m2 at the new MONA ferry terminal in Hobart and 10,000 m2 of flooring at the National Gallery, Victoria at their St Kilda Rd and Fed Square galleries.

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Why use a sealer or primer?

Bona top coats can be used directly on bare timber but we strongly recommend the use of a Bona Primer.  Firstly you save money because a primer costs less than a top coat, unlike many other coatings systems, and in addition there are sound technical reasons to use a primer.  Prime Classic or Intense ensure the floor has an even look without discolouration or a patchy appearance.  You also save time, again saving money, because both products dry faster than top-coats.  

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Do I have to follow the Bona Specifications exactly?

Bona produced their first water-based finish in 1979, over 30 years ago.  The product datasheets for each individual product are the result of that experience and the accumulated knowledge they have gained working throughout nearly 100 different countries.  The support and advice provided by the Bona distributor is related to the use of the Bona product range in accordance with the guidance provided by Bona in datasheets and other associated product information.  If you choose to use a solvent-based primer / stain from another company, add colour into the finishes or use a different finish specification by using different finishes for the middle and final applications then unfortunately Bona, like all other coatings manufacturers, are unable to support you if you experience difficulties.

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What is the difference between Prime Classic and Prime Intense?

Classic and Intense have different properties but both give great advantages.

A 100% polyurethane coating, Intense has been developed with several things in mind; to reduce a phenomenon know as 'tannin bleed’ on timber species containing high amounts of tannin, such as Blackbutt, to give a greater depth and colour on all timber species in comparison to other waterborne based primers and to reduce the possibility of edge-bonding.  As a 100% polyurethane finish it sands easily if there is a need to cut back the surface.  Intense is suitable for all timber species and has been designed, like Prime Classic, to minimise the effects of edge bonding.  Care should be taken with Jarrah and other ‘reddish’ coloured species to ensure that coverage rates are maintained at 8 m² / Lt as anecdotal reports suggest that where coverage rates are not maintained there is a slightly greater risk of seeing lapmarks. 

Classic is a 100% acrylic coating which maintains the natural colour of timber species.  It is the best choice for minimising the risk of edge-bonding where high levels of movement are expected i.e. new softwood floors, end grain blocks, etc.  Edge-bonding is caused by a combination of the gluing effect of a polyurethane finish and natural timber shrinkage.  When climatic conditions change the timber is prevented from shrinking naturally and the result is uneven gapping between boards. In some cases splitting occurs within the boards themselves.  Classic minimizes the risk of edge-bonding by allowing the boards to move freely as the product stretches with the movement of the timber.  Classic is suitable for most timber species with the exception of Blackbutt or other high tannin timbers.  

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What may be the effects of sunlight on the floor?

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 may become lighter, particularly when exposed to direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time.  The use of water-based 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.

 

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What is ‘tannin bleed’?
This is a phenomenon that occurs on some timber species containing high amounts of tannin, especially Blackbutt. After the second coat of finish has dried, the effect gives a green, blotchy look within the grain of the timber.  Sometimes the finished floor can still be acceptable, but often the floor needs to be sanded back to bare timber and coated again.  Always use Bona Prime Intense when coating Blackbutt, or other similar high tannin content species, as it has been proven to minimise tannin bleed.

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