Lousy finish job on new hardwood floor


Old 02-27-09, 05:50 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: US
Posts: 357
Lousy finish job on new hardwood floor

I hired a professional installer to put in some unfinished white oak 3/4" T&G flooring. Saw his work at a friends house where he installed pre-finished hardwood and it looked great. He brought samples to the house and said a unfinished oak with three coats of finish would look great so I decided to go with that option. What a mistake!!!

After 3 coats of finish, the final product is full of swirl marks from his overuse of an orbital sander in between coats and there are numerous bumps in the finish. The bumps look like residue from the sanding. There is even one large spot where it looks like he took a lunch break and left the sander running on the floor as there is a 360 degree swirl mark in the finished floor.

I talked to him this morning and he was shocked I didn't like the finish. He is stopping by tonight and I intend to give him the heave-ho, because if he thought the finish was fine, I'm not going to waste my time having him try to re-do it again.

Unfortunately, I couldn't be at home while he was working due to work commitments so I don't know if he used a water or oil based finish, but I suspect it was oil based (unknown brand)due to the smell and the fact I had to stay off of it for 10-12 hours each day after he finished until it dried enough to walk on.

What are my options?

Sand the finish off to the wood and start over? Spot sand and refinish?

Any way to buff out the scratches and bumps?

What grit paper should be used to sand off the blemishes and get rid of the swirls?

I'll probably have to hire another pro given the area involved, but want to have a little better idea what I'm in for.

Should have done prefinished!!!!

Thanks for any help
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Old 02-27-09, 06:23 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
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IMO sanding and finishing gives a better job although prefinish is the best way to go in an occupied home.

I assume you haven't paid him yet. Your check book is your best weapon although you can't refuse to pay him and not allow him to fix the workmanship. It's hard to say what needs to be done, site unseen. Were the floors finished with or without stain? How deep are the sanding scratches?

The fix may be as simple as sanding and a fresh coat of poly applied or it may require a lot of sanding and several coats of poly. Does he vacumn up all the sanding dust before applying the poly?
Old 02-27-09, 06:50 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: US
Posts: 357
Paid him $1000 which covered the materials, the remaining $1200 due upon completion of the job. I'll give him something for his time over the last three days although he was there for only brief periods after the floor was installed.

Day one (after the install of the flooring) he sanded the installed floor and applied the first coat of finish that pretty much was absorbed right into the wood. Day two he just put on a second coat with no sanding--in and out in 15 minutes. Day three he sanded and applied the finish coat. As I was not there, I can't say how well he cleaned up the sanding dust.

As far as letting him try to fix his work, I just have no confidence in his ability to get a correct finish on the floor as a blind man could see these imperfections in his so called finished product.

I'm thinking the fix will involve at least going down to and into the second coat as this is where the scratches are showing through the final coat.

Sorry for the ranting, but we planned for the inconvenience of moving all of the appliances out of the kitchen for four days and putting everything back this weekend and now I'm looking at going back to almost square one and starting this all over again.

Last edited by sgtgerryf; 02-27-09 at 06:52 AM. Reason: Clarification
Old 03-06-09, 07:28 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: US
Posts: 357
Problem fixed

Had a new flooring contractor come in and he stood in the kitchen and hallway just shaking his head at the "workmanship" of the previous contractor.

Ultimately, he was able to fix 95%+ of the blemishes, scratches and other issues left by the first contractor and only charged me $150 for the repair which involved lightly sanding the majority of the floor with some hand work on real problem areas plus a new finish coat that really looks great.

Seems like a lot of other posters have problems with finishing issues also and hopefully they can get their problems resolved also.

At least now I know a top notch flooring guy I can rely on for future projects that I might not want to do myself. If you live near Baltimore and looking for a good flooring contractor, let me know and I'll give you his number.
Old 04-02-09, 07:06 AM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 2
Hey there, do you live in Maryland? I could use the help of a top notch hardwood floor guy.

Old 04-03-09, 12:47 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: US
Posts: 357
Private Message me

I think forum rules prohibit listing contractors.

Send me a private message and I'll give you the contact info.

I live near Ellicott City which is where the contractor is based, however his main installer lives near Annapolis, so he covers quite a wide area to do installations.

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