Q. When do I know if the floor finish has dried and is ready for the next coat?
A. There are a few guidelines to follow. First, most manufactures state on the label that it takes about 40 minutes for each coat to dry (there are exceptions of course). If you have accelerated air flow with a low humidity, the finish will dry faster. So initially look across the floor while catching the overhead or outside light reflections. If you spot any high-gloss areas that are much shinier then the rest of the floor, it probably indicates a low spot where the finish has puddled and you must wait until that spot dries. When the floor appears more uniform in gloss, you can place the back of your hand on the floor to see if it is tacky.
However, a more thorough method is to place a piece of paper on the floor and step on it to see if it slides. If it doesn’t, then the floor is probably dry enough to continue with the next coat. The critical point is not to be in too big of a hurry. If any of the area has not dried and you attempt to apply more finish, you will make a mess. The new finish will cut into the previous coat and leave an unsightly area.
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