Tinting Polyurethane Top Coats

      How to get back to black on a black-dyed floor that took a golden tinge from the poly topcoat. July 3, 2008

I have very dark wood floor. I was trying for almost black but I ended up with a gold-brown tint from the first polyurethane topcoats. I'm trying to get rid of the gold tint and back towards more of a dark blackish tint. What is the best method to tint a poly overcoat or can some one suggest a better method?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor A:
Keystone Liquid Oil Dyes Request Info
Color Chart

Highly concentrated, single phase dyes available in either xylene or high flash aromatic solvent. These products are used primarily for interior wiping stains. Get their black oil and add sparingly.

From contributor B:
Did you stain the raw wood first or are you achieving the final color by adding color to the varnish?

From the original questioner:
It is a maple floor that I dyed with water-soluble black dye and top coated with solvent based Minwax poly. The gold tone in the poly gives it a brownish tint. Is there a solvent based (or other) product that is clear or clearer that I can tint to overcoat the Minwax poly?

From contributor A:
Your best bet is to stick with the oil modified poly Minwax over itself. There are better products but at this stage I would recommend just tinting what you have. In the future make samples before starting your actual work - this will avoid such things happening in the future.

From the original questioner:
I did do a small sample, but not with the exact topcoat. I used a spray for the sample. Live and learn. You need to use the exact products. Even at that I'm surprised how much golder/browner the Minwax makes the job look.

From contributor B:
At this point in time it's best to stick with the system you're now using. Overcoating with another solvent type coating might open an ugly can of worms. If you're faced with another black flooring job, try and obtain your color on the raw wood, instead of in your coating.

From the original questioner:
I have been talking to the Keystone guys for a couple of weeks. I finally found someone very helpful but it's been taking a long time. They are not very experienced on floors and he was not quite sure if oil dye would hold up under foot traffic in oil based poly. Also, they only sell large quantities. He suggested I go back and check out Lockwood. He also suggested a violet tint in the topcoat instead of black might actually cancel out the amber and bring out a deeper black. Also, if I did go with their oil dye what is the difference between xylene and high flash aromatic and which would I use? They are going to send me some small samples to test.

From contributor A:
The samples they send you will be enough to get you through your job - about 2 oz normally. It's concentrated so if you only need light tinting you can use an ounce or less per gallon easily. The xylene will evaporate slower than the hi flash so if speed is important go with the HF if not the xylene. No tinted dye material will be as good as having the color all on the wood but in your case it's either strip and start over or go forward.

From the original questioner:
I can live with the color on the floor now so I'm not going back. I'm just looking to downplay the amber hue in the clear coat as much as possible. I know you have done a lot of other color work. I'm curious though, what did you think of his idea of using violet instead for black to get a darker color? Of course I'm going to do some test work first.

From contributor A:
If they are sending you red and blue you can create it. If it's black and red you can come close. The black is a mixture of blue, red and yellow so adding a tiny touch of red at a time should get you a somewhat violet/purple tone.

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor A:
When I pickle floors to achieve a specific color (to pickle cut any quality paint in half, roll diluted paint on a small section of the floor and immediately wipe off excess paint, allow to dry thoroughly and apply finish) I was advised to (A) use an oil based paint with an oil based finish - or a water (latex) based paint with a water based finish. And to achieve true colors and avoid the ambering or browning inherent with oil-based polyurethane, you should use water based polyurethane (and latex paint to pickle) which would results in no ambering since water based poly is crystal clear. However, water based poly is not as durable (in my experience) and can be more difficult to apply properly.

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