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New hardwood floors are horrible - rough, dust specks,etc.

Posted by kirstena (My Page) on
Sun, Oct 19, 08 at 23:55

I could really use some advice here. Our contractor just had our new red oak floors installed. The guys did the top coat finish on Wed and Thurs - a water based finish (Duraseal?). I stopped by on Friday but the floor was still tacky and the fumes were still really bad, so I didn't go in.First red flag - glossy finish. Not the satin we wanted. The contractor first said it's still wet, but then added the third coat would be satin for sure.(!)

Today I went by and there is DUST and specks embedded in the finish everywhere. Even some hairs as well. Not surprising, since there is an inch of dust absolutely everywhere in the house besides the floor. For example, the fireplace hearth, next to the wood floor, has a ton of dust on it. Every baseboard, all the rooms that are getting carpeting, every windowsill are coated with dust.
And, to top it off, the floors feel ROUGH, not just where the specks are, but pretty rough everywhere.
1.) Did they just not sand enough before the finish?
2) Is it possible to refinish the floors without vacuuming up every speck of dust?
3) Can you put 1 coat of satin finish over 2 coats of glossy and get the satin look?
4) WHAT DO I DO?? - the floors look like crap, feel like crap, and I am completely depressed.

Please give me some advice! What is a reasonable expectation from here to get this fixed?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: New hardwood floors are horrible - rough, dust specks,etc.

1. It's not possible to tell if they sanded correctly from the information given. Look for places where the floor appears to be wavey or gouged; that's poor work. Look for edges or ends of boards that are higher than the board next to it; that's poor sanding.

2. No, you can't get a good finish in a dirty area.

3. Yes, one coat of satin will do the job.

4. Demand that it be done correctly and give them one chance to do it.

The odor from a waterbase finish should have been gone or very faint. It's probably oilbase.


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RE: New hardwood floors are horrible - rough, dust specks,etc.

It is common for finishers to use gloss to build with and then the final coat be a satin. If you build with satin, the dulling agents in the satin, make the finish look really cloudy so you don't see the beauty of the wood beneath.

This is a fast paced contractor, that doesn't understand the need for a clean environment to apply finish. The sand and finish guys are most likely pushed to hurry to meet schedules, so they blow and go.

To fix it, it might be able to screen and coat, but from my experience to rectify the trash in the finish, it is a complete resand to bare wood and finish with dust control and a lot of vacuuming and double-triple tacking off the floor, before applying the finish.

You do have to remember, this isn't furniture, so some trash in the finish, is going to happen, no matter how well you prep before the finish is applied. It is just the nature of the beast.


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RE: New hardwood floors are horrible - rough, dust specks,etc.

Just unbelievable the things I hear here about floor refinishing disasters...lousy dust control, foreign matter in finish and poor sanding should not happen.

I hear these complaints mostly from people who engage GC's to hire the subcontractors for their remodels. I am not saying this happens all the time with GC floor finish subs, but if you research these archives you will find a pattern that seems to indicate this to be true.

Fumes from waterborne polyurethane should not be overwhelming.

Best of luck getting your floors the way you want them.


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RE: New hardwood floors are horrible - rough, dust specks,etc.

thanks everyone. Well, they insist they "always look like this" before a final finish coat. I'm skeptical, so they are going to screen and finish coat a small patch of the floor so I can see what the final product will look like. I'll let you know....


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RE: New hardwood floors are horrible - rough, dust specks,etc.

Floors do get smoother with each coat, so I guess the jury is out on this one.


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