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 Post subject: Debris and other issues with refinished floors
PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2023 9:13 pm 
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Hello all, sorry in advance for the novel.

We have been fixing up an 1850s farm house for the past 5 years. We just had the floors refinished. They are all top nailed pine/fir floors, the kitchen is maple. Gaps everywhere. They were all in rough shape, but my wife loved them and wanted to save them.

I had to pull up plywood in a few rooms where they were covered over, set a few thousand nails down, patched holes from abandoned ductwork and milled some maple a neighbor gave me to fill a missing section in the kitchen. By all rights the kitchen is worn out, barely 1/8" left on top. The house itself is far from perfect, but at 170+ years it's to be expected.

The flooring guy we went with was $7800 Canadian, another quote was over 8. Cash, or it would have been closer to 9. I am an electrician, take pride in my own work and at these prices I expect a job done well. It took them 2.5 weeks. We have had several surprises as it is all coming to an end. There is an incredible amount of hair, dust, paint chips, even a piece of grass in the finish. The worst is by the stairs in the front entrance where the grit in the finish snags my socks, but there is hair throughout. We do have a dog. But hair in the finish that can't be cleaned will drive my wife crazy. It can't be unseen. Picking it out leaves the impression of where it was.

The flooring guy said his helper is coming back Monday to fix the worst of it. After reading similar stories online I'm worried they might make the finish look worse by sanding it down and recoating(what he offered to do). When I came to drop off a progress payment last week his helper was walking around in shoes.. I take mine off.

I had to live out of the porch while they had run of the house and was told I could come in the house to use the washroom in the evening no problem. The flooring would be dry by the time I'm home from work, and they sand and vacuum between coats anyways. With the amount of junk in the finish I doubt this happened.

There are sanding marks running parallel to the floorboards in most of the kitchen, remains of an 80 grit on the Hummel kind of thing. When the afternoon light comes through the wndow these stand out in the shine on the floor like a swollen thumb. There are also obvious tool marks from the orbital where the most cupped boards were sanded. He said they did the best they could with how badly worn the kitchen was.
Again given the age and wear, maybe it's a fair answer.

I was also told I was getting 4 coats of street shoe finish, flat with no stain as we wanted a very raw look. When it was freshly sanded it was very bright, light, almost a white/yellow color. We loved it. They used emulsion pro+ as the sealer, which has an ambering effect. They said it's what they always use. Ive since looked into it and see they make other non ambering sealers. 2 bedrooms upstairs had been refinished with orange poly, long before we bought the house and we have have always hated it. They also used easy street, not street shoe for the finish. What is the difference?
They used 4x1 gallon jugs of sealer, and 4x1 gallon jugs of finish. Flooring area is about 1500sqft.

I'll pause here and say overall the floors do look beautiful compared to the worn, multi-colored paint covered pine or the filthy raw boards in the kitchen, sanding scars and all. Im over the sealer color, despite being darker.. but the debris!

I have to put the house up for sale soon to move our family closer to town. I was just burned by a painter and left with a half finished paint job, spatter everywhere debris in the paint as well and cut lines that wander like a river. I am leery now of making a final payment for their "completed" floor finish as I am letting them "fix" the debris.

Wondering what the pros on this site think about the debris? Am I being unreasonable or are these guys hacks? Could these "dustless floor refinishing" guys have possibly cleaned between coats? Am I right to withhold payment until it's fixed? Can it even be fixed without starting over? Did I get a lesser product or under coated on the finish? Am I being a picky asshat and it's just a beat up old house anyways? That's what I get for a cash deal?

If your head didn't catch fire taking that all in, thank you for reading through it. I'd love to hear the thoughts from other flooring professionals.

I would post a few pictures but I'm not sure how to do it with a phone. When I click Img it just inserts html. Do I need to use a PC?


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 Post subject: Re: Debris and other issues with refinished floors
PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2023 11:07 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 12:02 am
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Cash deals are not a problem if you have a written contract which ought to be if work is going to take more than a day for a single person, cash or not. If you were promised Street shoe and given Easy street then you were taken advantage. Street shoe has a cross linker that makes the finish tougher and more chemical resistant and costs more. There may have been a supplier issue that caused the difference. I do not imagine an easy fix without another screen and re-coat with the contracted finish.
From a standing position looking straight down you should not see sanding marks and debris in the surface. Do you have a walk-off area rug outside of the door to help keep shoes clean? Working in stocking feet is not recommended for safety reasons.
It may have seemed to the floor mechanics that you wanted a rustic style finish and if you are selling the home another who may just like to have this type of floor to match an "older home".
I think that more finish applied will cover mistakes in application and recommend that the floor be tacked before application.
I do not know if you had T&G flooring which in an old house you may have square edge material. If you have square edge flooring, with no T&G then it would be more difficult to clean between the boards. Without T&G each bard moves independently as it is walked on and can disturb what has fallen into the gap between the boards.
For this type of flooring, and for floors that are only one layer (with no sub-floor) I strongly recommend that the floor be blocked underneath between the floor joists so the boards move less when walked on.
If all the work that was described on the contract have been done you owe them a final payment. Sometimes fancy equipment does not guarantee great work.


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