Ultraviolet (UV) finishes bring the speed of light to floor finishing. They minimize disruption to an active family’s lifestyle, and can refresh the hardwood floors of a restaurant without causing even a moment of lost business.
Non-UV finishes have their benefits, but in the speed category they fall behind UV finishes instant-curing and early-use floor protection abilities.
Oil-based polyurethane finishes need eight to 10 hours’ drying time. Non-UV waterborne finishes need two to four hours between coats, and often require more coats than oil-based finishes do. Natural, penetrating oils need one to two days for drying. Each of these finish types need several days to a few weeks to cure. Conversion varnishes take two hours’ drying time per coat, and need up to two months to cure.
Wood flooring contractors with UV finishing know-how can tackle a coffeehouse, bar or restaurant project during the dark hours of night, to fit the business’ typical off-hours. In that limited time, professionals can sand and refinish the floor, and have the business’ doors open again for customers the next morning.
Benefits of Using UV Finishes on Wood Floors
UV finishes typically are waterborne finishes, but site-cured, oil-based UV finishes are gaining in popularity. The difference between other waterborne finishes and UV-cured finishes is how they “crosslink.” Crosslinking is when components in a finish link together to give durability and other needed properties.
One-component finishes are crosslinked via oxygen from the air. Two-component finishes crosslink via these chemical compounds: polyisocyanates or polyfunctional aziridines. UV-cured finishes crosslink using photoinitiators, which are “initiated”, or “unlocked,” by the UV light.
Instant Usability. Water-based UV finishes enable instant use of the floor, once the finish has been cured by a flooring professional using a portable UV light system. The instant usability of the floor not only lets the homeowner or business owner return to routine in short order, it prevents early-use damage that often occurs during the curing period of other types of finish.
“With traditional cure systems, a large percentage of floor damage can occur in the initial curing phase,” says Runno Allikivi, President and CEO of Arboritec USA. “That damage comes from the normal wear of life in a home or business. Because those traditional finishes haven’t hardened fully, they aren’t yet ready to protect the floor from pet scratches, rugs that are placed back into position too soon, floors that are mopped too early, furniture that is slid back into place, etcetera.”
Similar to other waterborne finishes, UV finishes need one to three hours to dry. Unlike non-UV products, UV light cures the UV finish on contact, giving the floor maximum durability instantly.
Extra Durability. UV finishes typically are 20 to 40 percent more durable than conventional two-component finishes. So, not only do they protect against early-use wear and tear, they offer greater durability in the long-term, which further prolongs the life of the wood floor.
Environmental Safety. UV finishes are low in volatile organic compounds, or low-VOC. That equals better indoor air quality and overall safer environment for floor owners. The increased durability also creates a longer life of the finish and floor, reducing impact on the life cycle of the floor.
“Environmental responsibility is important to us with all our products,” Allikivi says. “Arboritec’s UVElite is free from NMP, isocynates, and has only 17 grams of VOCs per liter, making it among the most environmentally friendly wood floor finishes on the market.”
Minimal Contractor Time on Job. The speed of the UV finishing process benefits owners and contractors. Less time spent on the UV finishing job site, means the contractor can move on to his/her next project sooner. That also lets owners be comfortable with minimal disruption from the contractors being in their home or business.
Learn more about UV and other finish types by contacting our sales team at Palo Duro Hardwoods. Use the short contact form below or call us at 303-375-0280.