Frequently Asked Questions for Professionals
Bona has a passion for Floors. Bona’s mission is to bring out the best in timber floors, with a full range of adhesives, sanding, finishing, maintenance and floor care products together with the best technical support available. Bona works closely with flooring contractors and has a market leading position within the Australian timber flooring industry.
We address some commonly asked questions for Contractors and Specifiers below. Should you have additional enquiries please contact us directly.
We understand how difficult and time consuming it can be to have to digest numerous datasheets for individual products to extract the key points to enable a specification to be written. To make it a little easier we have prepared specification paragraphs which can be placed directly into a specification document with a minimum of changes required. The paragraphs are designed to provide a basic framework for Bona product specification. Where product choices need to be made in relation to appearance or technical issues these are highlighted in blue. View Architect specifier information.
There are two main reasons for contractors 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.
Although illegal in Europe, in Australia a consumer can still choose to either use a solvent or a water-based floor finish. Solvent-based timber floor coatings are toxic, carry serious health risks and are harmful to the environment. Water-based coatings are non-toxic and environmentally responsible. Bona pioneered the development of water-based floor finishes in 1979 and is the recognised world leader in non-toxic water-based coatings for timber floors. Read more about Solvent-based vs water-based finishes here...
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.
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.
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 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 over 90 countries all over the world. Since 1980 Bona have sold enough finish to coat over 2.7 billion m2 of timber flooring!
Recent examples of commercial projects in Australia include over 2,000 m2 at the National Gallery in Canberra, over 8,000m2 at the State Library in Melbourne, 1300 m2 at the 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.
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.
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.
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.
The subject of the effects of light on a timber floor is quite involved and not easily summarized in a single paragraph. Please follow the link for more information.
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.