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Old 02-16-2014, 04:41 PM   #1
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New Stair Parts Question


Had a carpenter install all new stair parts recently - new posts, railings, balusters, the whole deal.

I then had a painter come in a paint the balusters white and stain the posts and railings to match my hardwood floors.

Problem: the carpenter apparently didn't fully wipe away the glue he used when doing his part of the job which the painter must not have known.

The painter then must not have sanded enough to get the glue off and proceeded to apply stain. At this point he should have saw that there was an issue but he came back the next day to seal with poly.

It wasn't until the project was done and paid for that i noticed a whole bunch of spots that are not stained and looks awful - mostly on the bottom of the railing and inside posts.

So my question is who is at fault here? (other than me for paying this guy before doing a proper inspection).

My father says it's the carpenter who needs to rectify the situation because #1 he shouldn't have used glue and #2 he should have told me to tell the painter to sand off the excess.

I tend to think it's the painters fault because #1 he should have sanded better and #2 he should have stopped the minute the stain didnt take on the glue spots.

Also is it reasonable to me to call the painter back and demand he come fix this without having to pay him more money? This was not a cheap project by any means.

The wood used for this was nice, expensive solid oak. Also note the painter and carpenter were 2 independent contractors and not related.

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Old 02-16-2014, 04:55 PM   #2
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It all should have been prefinished before it was even installed and just need to be touched up after to fix any flaws, nail holes, missed spots.
The instant glue hits unsealed wood it's going to fill the pores so stains not going to be able to.

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Old 02-16-2014, 05:02 PM   #3
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It all should have been prefinished before it was even installed and just need to be touched up after to fix any flaws, nail holes, missed spots.
That makes sense in retrospect. I used a carpenter who is very well regarded in town so I trusted he knew what he was doing...
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Old 02-16-2014, 05:35 PM   #4
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It all should have been prefinished before it was even installed and just need to be touched up after to fix any flaws, nail holes, missed spots.
The instant glue hits unsealed wood it's going to fill the pores so stains not going to be able to.
Joe and I disagree completely here, attempting to join prefinished rail is something best left for tract houses. Given that I do stair work I'd want to side with the carpenter but would really need more info.
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Old 02-16-2014, 06:36 PM   #5
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New Stair Parts Question


Isn't the job of a painter to provide a finished product? A professional painter should have corrected the problem before finish. If it was bad enough he/she should have informed you that extra time was needed for a proper finish. IMO finishing over glue is sloppy and unprofessional.
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:03 PM   #6
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I agree. Painter should have seen the issue and stopped to make the correction.
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:09 PM   #7
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Thanks all. I think you've confirmed my thought that the painter is at fault. With that said, what are my options at this point? Can this even be fixed? I believe there are 2 coats of poly on there. Do I just have the painter come back and sand down to the bare wood?
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:37 PM   #8
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New Stair Parts Question


A lot depends on the skill of the painter---I have a touch up kit and can disguise most flubs using the oil or acrylic artists colors--then another coat of varnish to even out the sheen---

My guess is the painter is not truly experienced with wood staining or finishing---that work--the finishing --is rather a specialty--
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Old 02-16-2014, 08:17 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Keith Mathewson View Post
Joe and I disagree completely here, attempting to join prefinished rail is something best left for tract houses. Given that I do stair work I'd want to side with the carpenter but would really need more info.
I too disagree, very seldom did I install prefinished stair parts, try installing a fitting without sanding, it don't happen. I always told the person who had prefinished that they would have to restain where we had to sand. When installing the treads it would scratch the skirts. I always charged more when the parts were prefinished, it was really aggravating.
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Old 02-20-2014, 04:46 PM   #10
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As a stairbuilder i dread when customers want to prefinish any material.
As for the glue, sometimes it's really hard to see if there is any glue left behind before staining. Sometimes you can't even see it. A good painter would have hit the raw wood with mineral spirits first to see any bad areas. This is a common practice before staining wood anyway. So, unless there was an excess amount of glue hanging out i would say the painter should have fixed or at least told you about it before proceeding.
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Old 02-20-2014, 10:04 PM   #11
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I agree with Miller, painter should have checked for glue before staining. Once he tried to stain it, it would have been obvious right then and there that the stain wasn't staying in some spots. At that point, he should have stopped, cussed out the carpenter to himself, then fixed it before applying any finish coats. The carpenter should have been aware of what was being painted, and what was being stained. I always ask. Any glue that oozes out can be wiped off with a wet rag. If wiped immediately, glue will come out and stain will stick. At this point I would use my Fein oscillating tool with the sanding head and sand the areas that didn't stain down to bare wood, carefully, restrain and finish. Pain I the butt, but it can be done.
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Old 02-21-2014, 06:57 AM   #12
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Thanks all - the painter is coming back today to try and fix the issue. Although when he came to look at it yesterday he claims those spots weren't there when he originally stained. I said look pal you're only making this worse for yourself - just admit your mistake and fix it. So we shall see...

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