Applying UV-Cured Coatings to Flooring

      Commercial pre-finished flooring comes with a UV-cured urethane finish, but that's an advanced process best left to the specialists. June 17, 2010

Question
I'm reading that the industrial boys use a UV curable finish on their flooring boards that yields a very durable finish. How expensive is the hardware required to apply and cure this type of finish? Is it cost prohibitive for a homeowner (that's not a doctor or lawyer) to consider?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor J:
You could probably find a used line for about $100k. Check at mlsmachinery.com and exfactory.com.



From the original questioner:
$100K, eh? Okay, how do I go about finding a company that will do this for me, if I have a large quantity to finish? I'm near Chicago.


From contributor J:
Find a local place that makes hardwood flooring and ask them who they use.


From contributor M:
How much flooring are you looking to finish?


From the original questioner:
Probably about 6,000 sq.ft. Do these floor finishing places have minimums?


From contributor M:
Some of the flooring is sanded and finished through a vacuum coater with a UV finish. You can try to contact the manufacturers of the finishing lines like Makor or DelleVedove and ask them who in the area can do it. Or you can work through the finish companies and ask the sales rep who can do a run of 20,000 lin ft or so within a reasonable distance. What specie and widths are you looking at?


From the original questioner:
Can you give me the name of a couple of brands of UV finishes that work well? I actually have access to some UV lamps. I would think all I need to do is create an enclosed "tunnel" of some sort, with my lamp above, and a slow moving conveyor below. I brush on the finish, place the board on the conveyor, and out the other end it comes... dry. Might this work, or am I being pretty ignorant?


From contributor J:
Why would you go to the trouble when you can have it done for around $1 per sqft or less? Why not pick up the phone and call around? If you can't find someone to do it for you for a reasonable cost, look at other options.


From contributor M:
Contributor J is right. The vacuum coater I am talking about has a sanding unit in front, then applies an exact thickness of finish on the face with no overspray onto the tongue or in the groove (will be too tight to fit together). The UV light has to be right or it will never cure. The machine guys may be able to turn you on to someone who is all set up with the correct finish for their line. Also pre-finished flooring generally has a slight bevel on the edges to prevent the finish from breaking at the sharp corner. If none of this works, maybe the old fashioned install then finish is the way to go.


From contributor B:
You really don't want to attempt to apply UV coatings by hand. The monomers in UV coatings are very harsh and once you get it into your body, it never leaves. Some people have severe reactions to UV coatings when they come in contact with them. I suggest you leave it up to a person who has the appropriate equipment.


From contributor O:
I am an automated flatline/inline specialist focusing on mainly UV cure systems. It's not the UV lamps that determine the cure, but rather the right UV coatings with the correct photoinitiator for the amount of millijeoules that your bank of lamps are giving off. There are many different types of lights, film thicknesses, photoinitiators and ways to adjust a line to create many different scenarios for UV coatings.

If this is a one time shot, the best solution is to go online and find a contract finisher, preferably using a rollcoating application with UV coatings. At one time there were several.



From the original questioner:
Great info. I bow to your expertise and knowledge! Thanks.

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