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What would be the best finish for a birch handicap ramp 8ft long that is stained with oil based

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Forum topic by Kenneth Wayne Reeves J.r. posted 02-17-2019 06:31 AM 1508 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch

02-17-2019 06:31 AM

Topic tags/keywords: birch ramp finishing birch tough finish

Hey guys looking for some master craftsman help again. I am doing a handicap ramp made of birch that is 8 ft long by 4ft. Stained it cherry and it came out surprisingly well. Now I need to know what kind of finish is going to take the most punishment. It will have 500 pounds all together including the electric wheelchair rolling on it so i would really appreciate the help on this as well. Thank you in advance for your help guys.


19 replies so far

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1700 posts in 466 days


#1 posted 02-17-2019 12:02 PM

is this for inside or outside ?
how long do you want it to last ?
the plywood itself is not issue of holding the weight,
it is how well the supporting structure is made and the base for it.
does the bracing sit on the ground or on concrete ?
you don’t want the surface to be slick like a dining room table.
it needs to have grit so the walking traffic does not slip and fall.
also, depending on your location, handrails of a certain height may be required.
more to consider than just the finish.

.

.

-- Failure is proof that you at least tried ~ now, go do it again, and again, until you get it right --

View Mainboom's profile

Mainboom

86 posts in 60 days


#2 posted 02-17-2019 01:58 PM

from what im reading you have this done already. so why not use tompsons water seal ? if you wanted something to take a lot of punishment I would not have used birch. you could have use composite decking or even pretreated lumber. im guessing when you say birch you mean birch plywood. typically most ramps are not made of ply. Some are yes but most are not atleast here in the north they are made of pretreated lumber or composite. try tompsons is all I can say. Make sure the sides of your ply is sealed off. hopefully its up to building codes. in my area anything that gets walked on or is structural needs to be 5/8 and supported by 2×10”.Also you have to have footers that are atleast 32 inches deep. for your sake if your in the north I hope you did all this or you wil be replacing the ramp in 3 years.

-- CRANE OPERATORS START EARLY because iron workers need their heros ready when they wake up

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5364 posts in 3546 days


#3 posted 02-17-2019 05:27 PM

You need slip resistant treads.

View AlaskaGuy's profile (online now)

AlaskaGuy

5136 posts in 2612 days


#4 posted 02-17-2019 06:42 PM



You need slip resistant treads.

- MrRon

It’s a ramp so no treads, but you are right the surface should have something to promote traction.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View LesB's profile

LesB

2009 posts in 3746 days


#5 posted 02-17-2019 06:54 PM

If it is inside you can use a poly finish preferably one that is rated for floor use. I have used it on stair treads where is has resisted wear well and traction has not been a problem. If it is outside be sure to use an exterior grade.

If traction is a big problem I think I would put down a rubber runner. Of course that will cover up some the wood but it would be the easiest and neatest think I can think of.
Another option is using a paint made for boat decks that has granules of rubber in it for traction.

I agree that an 8’ length of plywood will need sufficient underside framework support to hold the 500# of weight.

-- Les B, Oregon

#6 posted 02-17-2019 08:17 PM

It is inside. coming off an 8-inch step from a kitchen. Honestly, if you put the ramp on 1\12 that is code nobody is sliding down this. Which is 12 inches out for every inch up. I really thought you guys would know this but the code might be different from your neck of the woods. The finish is what I need help on. I did it with 3/4 sweet birch plywood cause it is harder than oak(except live oak which is the hardest oak). Thompson’s water seal is just that a sealer, not a protectant. I want to protect it. Since you guys seem to be more worried about the base of the ramp, it is built to code with 2×4 joist every 16’ top and bottom along with the side studs connecting to the top and bottom plate. Guys, I am a master carpenter, not a master finisher. I repeat it is a ramp from an 8” step from a kitchen(sorry I should have been for informative), It is on the ground against a wall on one side. The side that is not against the wall has the top of a stair handrail mounted directly to the ramp giving her a bumper(also made of sweet birch and stained cherry) that is 6’ giving a foot from the ends so the chair doesn’t slide off by accident also giving her room to turn onto and off of the ramp.

You need slip resistant treads.

- MrRon
It s a ramp so no treads, but you are right the surface should have something to promote traction.

- AlaskaGuy


from what im reading you have this done already. so why not use tompsons water seal ? if you wanted something to take a lot of punishment I would not have used birch. you could have use composite decking or even pretreated lumber. im guessing when you say birch you mean birch plywood. typically most ramps are not made of ply. Some are yes but most are not atleast here in the north they are made of pretreated lumber or composite. try tompsons is all I can say. Make sure the sides of your ply is sealed off. hopefully its up to building codes. in my area anything that gets walked on or is structural needs to be 5/8 and supported by 2×10”.Also you have to have footers that are atleast 32 inches deep. for your sake if your in the north I hope you did all this or you wil be replacing the ramp in 3 years.

- Mainboom


is this for inside or outside ?
how long do you want it to last ?
the plywood itself is not issue of holding the weight,
it is how well the supporting structure is made and the base for it.
does the bracing sit on the ground or on concrete ?
you don t want the surface to be slick like a dining room table.
it needs to have grit so the walking traffic does not slip and fall.
also, depending on your location, handrails of a certain height may be required.
more to consider than just the finish.

.

.

- John Smith


View OnhillWW's profile

OnhillWW

165 posts in 1535 days


#7 posted 02-17-2019 08:46 PM

As LesB has stated floor rated poly (oil based) is going to give you the best service. You can get this in various sheens rnging from gloss to flat depending on your preference. That large of a surface can be brushed or rolled with a foam roller depending on how fussy you are about bubbles (foam can leave fine bubbles).

There are some water based polys that claim to be floor rated; these will smell less and you can apply 2-3 coats a day. If / when it shows wear screen sand and reapply. Additionally there are catalyzed finishes which will wear well (often used in gym floors)however I have no first hand experience with these. Google is your friend.

-- Cheap is expensive! - my Dad

View GR8HUNTER's profile

GR8HUNTER

5722 posts in 1015 days


#8 posted 02-17-2019 08:47 PM

i like GF Arm R Seal :<)))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

#9 posted 02-17-2019 08:48 PM

Thank you, sir. Do you recommend any? Also, I am never worried about bubbles i have a torch and a quick hand


As LesB has stated floor rated poly (oil based) is going to give you the best service. You can get this in various sheens rnging from gloss to flat depending on your preference. That large of a surface can be brushed or rolled with a foam roller depending on how fussy you are about bubbles (foam can leave fine bubbles).

There are some water based polys that claim to be floor rated; these will smell less and you can apply 2-3 coats a day. If / when it shows wear screen sand and reapply. Additionally there are catalyzed finishes which will wear well (often used in gym floors)however I have no first hand experience with these. Google is your friend.

- OnhillWW


#10 posted 02-17-2019 08:51 PM

Hey just to let you know. Gym floor finishes do not have a higher solid content than wood floor finishes, and they are not categorically tougher than other wood floor finishes.

People seem to think that gym floors experience more wear than other floors, so they assume that whatever finish can withstand that level of abuse must be super-duper. The fact is that gym floors are simply better maintained than most floors, residential or commercial. I’ll give you two reasons why:

1. Those floors are in schools, and schools consider gym floors an investment.

They have a janitorial staff and those floors are dust-mopped daily to remove grit and other particles that would wear away a finish. Thus, excellent maintenance.

2. Gyms primarily experience traffic from soft-soled shoes that aren’t worn outside.

A clean soft shoe on a clean floor is not very abrasive. A high-heeled shoe on a dirty floor is pretty much the same as a sander. If you keep sanders off your floor, the finish lasts longer. Why do you think they had sock-hops in gyms in the 50’s? Not because stocking feet make it easier to dance, but to protect the floor. Schools are also much more disciplined about recoating their gym floors, simply because it is much cheaper to recoat a gym every year than fully re-sand it every three years. But nobody ever sees the gym floor being recoated, so they attribute its longevity to super powers.

Sport floor finishes are almost always high gloss because gloss finishes are grippier, which helps with the stop-start motion of sports like basketball and racquetball. Gymthanes also claim to resist rubber marks and scuffing, and that is a useful characteristic if you are trying to keep a gym floor looking pretty.

If these are valuable attributes for the floor in your home, by all means we can sell it to you. But sport floor finishes only come in five-gallon buckets, which is enough to triple coat between 700 and 800 square feet. But if you have a smaller area, frankly, it would be more cost-effective to simply buy one of the cross-linked commercial finishes which are available by the gallon, and they will be more resistant to day-to-day street shoe abrasion.

Learn more about finishing your floors, and read our 10 commandments of hardwood floor maintenance, to make a regular floor finish wear as well as you think the gym floors do.v


As LesB has stated floor rated poly (oil based) is going to give you the best service. You can get this in various sheens rnging from gloss to flat depending on your preference. That large of a surface can be brushed or rolled with a foam roller depending on how fussy you are about bubbles (foam can leave fine bubbles).

There are some water based polys that claim to be floor rated; these will smell less and you can apply 2-3 coats a day. If / when it shows wear screen sand and reapply. Additionally there are catalyzed finishes which will wear well (often used in gym floors)however I have no first hand experience with these. Google is your friend.

- OnhillWW


#11 posted 02-17-2019 08:58 PM

I love GF. I use their dyes on most of my curly maple or leopard wood to make it pop. I am just not as proficient at my finish coats yet, I have a guy that sprays lacquer for me for most of my projects. I am doing this job for a buddies mom whose husband just died so I am using what I got on hand to try and keep the price down cause I am the one paying for it. Do you think it will handle the wear?


i like GF Arm R Seal :<)))

- GR8HUNTER


View OnhillWW's profile

OnhillWW

165 posts in 1535 days


#12 posted 02-17-2019 09:34 PM

I only mentioned the catalyzed gym floor finish because it is more akin to waterborne but tougher. Oil based poly is very tough and three coats is normal for floors. I do not have a preference other than Sherwin Williams makes a full range of products and in my experience the stores have staff who know the product line. I have used a lot of GF products, quality yes and a decent range of products. I have used Armor R Seal on gun stocks and small boxes with very good success, just not sure how it holds up to a poly formulated specifically for floors.

-- Cheap is expensive! - my Dad

#13 posted 02-17-2019 09:44 PM

Thank you. See, I have not done any floors so that is were i am really needing the experienced craftsman’s help. I can build anything. I am a shellac and lacquer guy. But when it comes to wearing on a floor or cracking i am really at a loss. I have read all the stuff on the internet but i trust experience more than directions at this point in my life as long as the people have worked with the product before.


I only mentioned the catalyzed gym floor finish because it is more akin to waterborne but tougher. Oil based poly is very tough and three coats is normal for floors. I do not have a preference other than Sherwin Williams makes a full range of products and in my experience the stores have staff who know the product line. I have used a lot of GF products, quality yes and a decent range of products. I have used Armor R Seal on gun stocks and small boxes with very good success, just not sure how it holds up to a poly formulated specifically for floors.

- OnhillWW


View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

956 posts in 1797 days


#14 posted 02-17-2019 10:24 PM

+1 Use a commercial Sherwin Williams floor coating.

There is a lot of hype/myth tossed around about floor coatings. Problem is they have been around for over 100 years and are constantly changing. While some of the old knowledge on floor coatings is true, newest products are 100x better than old stuff. Some are so new, the web hasn’t even posted true/false statements about them yet. So, talk to a finishing professional!
Find Sherwin Williams distributor or retail store and ask about the commercial line of ARMORSEAL floor coatings. They offer entire line of (old school) Varnish, (newer) 1K & 2K Poly, and latest Water based Epoxy coatings.
If you want the hardest, most durable floor coating; use a 2-part commercial coating. Comparing the conventional 1 part retail coatings to 2-part commercial coating is like comparing cheese to granite when it comes to durability.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

#15 posted 02-17-2019 10:28 PM

Thanks, this what I had on the agenda next for today, so kind of prophetic.


+1 Use a commercial Sherwin Williams floor coating.

There is a lot of hype/myth tossed around about floor coatings. Problem is they have been around for over 100 years and are constantly changing. While some of the old knowledge on floor coatings is true, newest products are 100x better than old stuff. Some are so new, the web hasn t even posted true/false statements about them yet. So, talk to a finishing professional!
Find Sherwin Williams distributor or retail store and ask about the commercial line of ARMORSEAL floor coatings. They offer entire line of (old school) Varnish, (newer) 1K & 2K Poly, and latest Water based Epoxy coatings.
If you want the hardest, most durable floor coating; use a 2-part commercial coating. Comparing the conventional 1 part retail coatings to 2-part commercial coating is like comparing cheese to granite when it comes to durability.

- CaptainKlutz


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