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How to Tint Your Timber Floor White

How to Tint Your Timber Floor White

Ever wondered how to get that Scandinavian ‘White’ look on your timber floors? This step by step guide explains the process in detail. Applying the 'Scandinavian look’ is a popular trend that suits many modern decors, but if not done correctly can result in more of a 'white blotch’ than a beautiful overall whitewash.

For the purposes of this article the author uses Bona White primer and Bona Traffic HD as the preferred method.

The article is written by Niel Morley from VCS Solid Timber Floors in Perth (see below for details).

It has become quite popular to introduce a light tint to a timber floor. This can be achieved on Australian hardwoods. There are a variety of different ways to do this and on the site we list three. In this discussion we’re looking at the approach using Bona White as the primer. This allows you to have a white tint on the floor but at the same time lighten the overall look.

Bona White / Bona Traffic HD

The products that you will need are Bona White and Bona Traffic HD Extra Matt. The combination of these two products gives the most pleasing white appearance using the waterborne system from Bona.

It is important to note upfront that Australian timbers do not take stain very well. Unlike softwoods purchased in the northern hemisphere Australian timbers are very hard and it can be difficult to get any penetration using stains as part of an overall system to produce an excellent looking floor. Therefore, the approach of using a white primer will introduce an overall white with some slight exaggerated white in the softer timber but, given that Australian timber has very little softwood, you should not expect the greatly exaggerated effect that you will get in timber such as oak from the northern hemisphere.

First Use Bona White primer

Bona White primer is ideal for creating a Scandinavian style ‘white’ look. It gives a light whitewashed appearance and on some timber species can preserve an impression of raw, untreated timber. Bona White Primer is most suited for use on lighter ‘blonde’ floors to enhance and emphasize the natural colours of the species (it is not recommended for high tannin or darker tones). To achieve a more solid white look simply add an extra coat. For the most natural effect combine with Traffic HD Extra Matt.

  • Whitewashed look
  • Non-toxic
  • Non-yellowing
  • Seals the timber to give an even finish
  • Reduces grain raising
  • Minimises the risk of edge bonding
  • VOC 60 g/Lt
  • 5.6% total solvent content
  • 12 m2/Lt coverage
  • Drying time 2-3 hours

Ensure the floor is acclimatized to its end-use environment. The surface which is to be coated must be sanded back to bare wood, dry and free from sanding dust, oil, wax and other contamination. The final sanding of the wood should be carried out using a 120 grit abrasive.

Allow the finish to reach room temperature, insert the filter and shake the container thoroughly before use. Optimal conditions are between 18 – 25ºC and 40 – 60% relative air humidity. High temperatures and low humidity will shorten the drying time whilst low temperatures and high humidity will lengthen the drying time.

The minimum temperature for use is 13ºC.

Bona White is not recommended for use on darker or ‘red’ timbers as satisfactory ‘coverage’ of the original colour will not be achieved, even by multiple applications. Bona White must only be used directly onto raw wood. Do not use Bona White in conjunction with stains or oils, or to overcoat other finishes as poor adhesion may occur.

  1. Shake the container well before use and insert the supplied filter. In addition, Bona White must be filtered through a fine external strainer, such as a paint filter, so as to minimize the potential for undispersed lumps / particles being applied to the floor. Pour the finish into a clean dry container.
  2. Apply Bona White evenly, finishing with the grain, using a Bona Roller (microfiber fleece), or applicator pad, at approx. 12 m² / Lt and avoid accumulations of product. Application of excess product and uneven application increases the possibility of application marks being seen.
  3. When dry (approx. 2 – 3 hours), abrade gently to reduce grain raise, and any prominent white particles, using the Bona Scrad system or a sanding screen grit 150 or finer. Care should be taken to avoid damage to the surface by moving quickly and lightly across the floor. Bona White must be sanded after each application to reduce grain raising and even out minor colour variations.
  4. Clean the floor carefully and remove all dust.
  5. If a more intense white look is desired multiple layers of Bona White can be made. Please note, multiple applications may ‘hide’ the grain pattern of the wood.
  6. Bona White cannot be left as the final application and must be finished with Bona Traffic HD variants, Traffic variants or Mega One.

When the Bona White is dry and you have achieved the correct appearance you can apply two topcoats Bona Traffic HD Extra Matt for the very best look.

On Oak it looks different to Australian hardwoods.

Finishing With Traffic Extra Matt

Bona Traffic HD Extra Matt is applied at a rate of 10 m2 per litre and must be allowed to dry properly between coats. Do not rush the application. We recommend that Bona Traffic HD is sanded lightly before the application of the final coat to finish the floor. This will remove any nibs or dust that may have settled in the floor while the first topcoat was drying.

Bona Traffic HD (Heavy Duty) has all the features and benefits of Bona Traffic, but is specially formulated for added durability and wear resistance. Traffic HD is 67% more wear resistant than standard Traffic and its quick drying and curing properties allow most floors to be put back into full use 24 hours after being completed. Traffic HD is perfect for floors where extreme levels of traffic are expected such as retail shops, halls, museums, galleries and other public places.

  • 2 component water-based top coat
  • 100% polyurethane
  • Extreme wear resistance
  • Low-odour
  • Non-toxic
  • Non-yellowing and unaffected by UV light
  • Suitable for over-coating pre-finished floors
  • For use with Bona primers
  • VOC 50 g/Lt (all sheens)
  • 4.75% total solvent content
  • 8-10 m2/Lt coverage
  • Drying time 2-3 hours between coats
  • 1.5 mg/100 rev wear resistance (SIS 923509)
  • 2 sheen levels: Satin and Extra Matt
  • Gloss Level (60 ̊): Satin 45 / Extra Matt 10
  1. Determine how much material is required. Shake the bottle thoroughly before decanting any finish.
  2. Add Traffic HD Hardener to the finish, at the addition rate as detailed on the scales on the bottles, and immediately shake the mixture thoroughly, for 1 minute. The mixture of finish/hardener should be used directly or at least within 4 hours.
  3. Apply the finish using a Bona Roller. Roll with a smooth flowing motion alternately across and with the grain of the wood avoiding accumulations of product. Always maintain a “wet edge” to avoid overlaps. Allow to dry properly before applying further coats. Anticipate slightly longer drying time for each coat that is applied.
  4. If necessary, make an intermediate sanding using a screen or the Bona Scrad System grit P150 (or finer) and remove dust before applying a final coat of finish. Note: If the previous coat of finish has been allowed more than 24 hours drying time then an intermediate sanding is always required. The floor will take light foot traffic approximately 8 hours after the final application and may be put into full use after 24 hours. Allow the surface to dry for at least 3 days before using carpets or other floor coverings. Avoid installing heavy objects and do not damp mop the floor during this time. These timescales assume that normal climatic conditions are maintained.

Article kindly reproduced with permission from VCS Solid Timber Floors in Perth WA, author Niel Morley.
VCS are Bona distributors providing a range of Timber Flooring products and application advice.

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