Metro founder, Joel Negron, was called to look at a refinished floor in south Atlanta last week and observed the all too familiar sight of a poorly refinished hardwood floor. This one in particular showed not just a few of the things that can go wrong in a refinish, but almost all of the possible blunders. Images from the botched job will be used to identify the ways in which cheap and look quality contractors can make a floor look horrible. Metro’s hope is to show what to look for and answer some basic questions.
These poor jobs cause a huge inconvenience to the homeowner on a number of fronts:
– the shock of seeing their home in this manor
– the loss of ability to come back into their home
– the money having to be spent to stay away from home as well as fix their floors
Once the cut rate job has been analyzed, Metro will explain how to keep this from happening by contrasting the Metro way vs. the way in which the botched job was done.
Firstly, we would like to caution anyone with a weak stomache or those easily startled to prepare themselves for what we are about to show. Please don’t be shocked by the pictures of this floor, Metro encounters floors with these types issues daily. Metro will provide an ordered list of the mistakes present in the refinish pictures. And here is a link to some technical resources provided by the NWFA for additional references.
1. The most fundamental, crucial aspect of a sand and finish project is the FIRST CUT, or first sand. This is the foundation of the finish and all other steps fall beside and on top of this step. This floor was not properly cut to begin with exacerbating every error from there.
2. Proof of the failure in this step is shown by the chatter marks and drum lines in the floor. The drum in the sander used on this project had a bend or dent in it. Because of the compromised drum, every time a full turn was made there’s another line dug into the floor.
3. The uneven stain within the field, or body of the floor, is from using a fairly common process of installing the stain with a buffer. This is also to blame for the stain all over the wooden base boards (You will NOT find this step in Metro’s system).
4. The uneven stain around the perimeter of the floor is from lack of skill with the hand tools.
5. There you have it, the stain is not installed correctly, is uneven and not uniform. So, the cut rate flooring company says next, “let’s start putting polyurethane on.” A T-BAR is the hand tool that most use to spread the stain and poly. If the applicator is not regularly cleaned and changed debris builds up on it and is in turn applied to the floor. If you are not skilled with this tool poly can easily drip into the finish of the floor.
6. Different poly manufactures call for different amounts of drying times for their products. The cut rate flooring company did themselves no favors by buffing the floor with not only the wrong grit, but also started doing so before the poly was dry. This action played a large part in the swirls you see in the images provided.
In a past blog article Metro listed out the time tested and proven Metro system for finish/refinish and will link to those steps from this blog to show the contrast.
When choosing (trusting) a flooring company to install and finish a new floor, or refinish your existing hardwoods, there are several things to look for and take into consideration:
1. Look for before and after pictures on the company’s web site. Anybody can have a picture of a pretty floor. What shape was the floor when they started the project?
2. Who does the company associate itself with and possess certifications from?
3. Reviews are a useful tool as well. How many online reviews does the company have? Do they look like honest reviews? What is the date range of the reviews? A good company should have one or more review posted weekly on some site. This can be accomplished easily with a google search of the company name along with “reviews” in the search.
4. What separates the good from the bad flooring companies? Do they have a system unique to them? Do they prefer a certain material or method?
If you will take a few minutes to browse around Metro’s site you will see that we have answers to each of these questions. I hope this helps some of you to stay away from the lowest number on the bottom of a bid. Metro offers true craftsmanship for a great value. That low number looks good on paper but will get much larger when pros have to come in and fix issues like the ones shown in this article.