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Gym Floor Refinishing with Oil Based Finish

Surface Preparation - New Floors

NOTE: Follow MFMA and NOFMA guidelines for acclimation time of wood prior to installation, sanding and finishing.
1. Screen the floor with #100 grit screens in order to smooth the surface, and eliminate any raised grain that is present.

2. Vacuum and then tack rag to remove all dust from screening. Waterless Cleaner should be used as a tacking liquid. This tacking process should be repeated until there is no dust present on the tack rag.

How to Tack a Gym Floor

Wood Floor Abrasion

1. Pour mineral spirits into a clean mop bucket with caster wheels. Immerse terry cloth towels into the mineral spirits and wring out excess.

2. Place the towel on the floor (going with the grain) and set a clean push broom or dust mop onto the towel. Wrap the towel over the front of the frame and then do the same with the trailing part of the towels over the back of the frame.

3. Before coating, the surface must be allowed to dry thoroughly. For further information on screening, consult MFMA or NOFMA for acceptable methods.

Previously Coated Floors

Before recoating a floor previously coated with an unknown finish, a test patch is recommended in order to determine compatibility.

1. Clean the floor first using Mineral Spirits or Prime Time

Wood Floor Cleaner to remove dirt, dust mop treatments, etc. Allow floor to dry thoroughly. This is a recommended step and should NOT be skipped. Cleaning should be done to remove contaminants from the floor.

2. Screen the floor with a #100 grit screen (250 sq. ft. per side) until all gloss is removed.

Place the screen disc on the wood floor, place a "Red Floor Pad" on top of the screen disc and lower your machine with the correct pad holder on the red pad. The red pad is actually "driving" the screen disc. Do NOT place pad holder on the screen discs without having the red floor pad in place.

3. Vacuum, and then tack rag to remove all dust from screening. Mineral Spirits should be used as a tacking liquid. The tacking process should be repeated until there is no dust present on the tack rag. After this tacking process is completed, the floor should appear dull, with no areas of gloss present. The floor is now ready to be coated.

Application - New Floors

For best results, a three-coat system is recommended for newly sanded bare wood floors. If a three-coat system is desired, apply one coat of sealer and two coats of finish. If any coat is allowed to cure more than 24 hours, screening is required using a #120 grit screen before additional coats can be applied.


Three Coat System

1. Apply the sealer with a lambswool applicator, weighted T Bar or EZ Way K-450 across the grain, then pull out with the grain. Allow to dry for at least 8-12 hours with adequate ventilation. If grain raising occurs, screen floor with a #120 grit screen, then tack rag with waterless cleaner.


*You can use Crystal Cote 350 as a sealer providing you thin the first cost with mineral spirits. Simply add 32-36 ounces of mineral spirits per gallon to Crystal Cote 350. After the first coat has dried, screen the floor with 120-150 grit screen prior to applying game lines.

2. Any line marking should be done before applying the two finish coats. Refer to the section on Line Marking for further information.
3. Apply the first coat of finish with the grain. Allow to dry for approximately 8-12 hours.
4. Apply the second coat of finish. Allow 48 hours to cure for light foot traffic, and 5 days for athletic activities. Adequate ventilation is imperative during the curing process.

Previously Coated Floors

After the test patch has determined that the finish to be applied is compatible with the existing finish on the floor, prepare the floor, and then proceed with the following steps:


1. Apply the finish, with the grain, as evenly as possible with a lambswool applicator, weighted T Bar,or K-450 Applicator at the recommended coverage, being careful not to "puddle" the material. Allow to dry approximately 8-12 hours.
2. For best results, apply a second coat of finish in the same manner as in step #1. Allow to dry 48 hours for light foot traffic, and 5 days for athletic activities.

Line Marking - New or Newly Sanded Floors

Apply line markings between the first and second coats. Apply line-marking paint as directed on its label. Always test paint for compatibility before using. Every color should be tested, not just brands.


Lay out the court with masking tape or 3M (Blue) Scotch Brand 2090 Lon Masking Tape as required. Apply paint and allow to dry 1-2 hours. Pull up the tape in 1-2 hours after painting to ensure crisp lines. Allow the lines to dry for a total of 24 hours, lightly screen floor with #120 grit screen or Green scrubbing pad. Tack with a towel dampened with waterless cleaner to ensure a clean substrate. Apply two topcoats as described in Application section.

A word to the wise - after the paint has been applied to the floor and allowed to dry thoroughly (this may take 24-48 hours) you must DE-GLOSS the floor. If you miss this step the finish coat might not adhere to the paint. 


Dry Times

Refer to each products data sheet for dry, recoat times and time allowances for returning floor to traffic.
All dry times mentioned on Data Sheets are based on relative humidity above 50% and temperatures of 75 degrees F or higher. All dry times will vary depending on atmospheric conditions at time of application.

Things To Look For When Finishing A Gym

  • Proper Preparation
  • Dust Free Environment
  • Adequate/proper tacking. No residue left on floor
  • Don't coat if temperature and humidity are too high
  • Don't "Button-up" the gym - good ventilation is required!
  • Don't use old material
  • No oil treated dust mops for sweeping and tacking
  • Do not use soap-based detergents
  • Apply at recommended square foot coverage
  • Do not use tape for court lines
  • Always use screens, do not use stripping pads
  • Allow floor to thoroughly dry before coating
  • Maintain a 'Wet" edge at all times
  • Use only Mineral Spirits to dilute Oil Modified Urethane Finishes - Do not dilute water based finishes
  • Adequate air ventilation must be maintained during and after application
  • Do not over coat with regular floor finish
  • Do not allow traffic (play) for 72-96 hours, depending on finish