Oak Floor Finish Disappointment - Flooring - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 12-30-2007, 05:02 PM   #1
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oak floor finish disappointment

I'm very bummed. We just got hardwood (oak 2 1/4" unfinished) installed in our new-to-us house. (About 1600 square feet of it). We were not at the empty house when it was finished. They were supposed to do 1 coat oil based, 3 coats water based satin finish.

The floor looks okay from a distance (I'm not happy about the quality of wood, but that's another story and nothing I can do anything about). However if you feel the floor, it feels very gritty and "rough" in a lot of places. There are a few places scattered throughout the house where there's black specs that my husband say is probably from the sandpaper.

Shouldn't the floor feel smooth? It's almost like they didn't sand well or didn't vacuum well after they sanded. It's not really like the grain. In the right light in parts you can see little roughness in the surface, not quite bubbles, but rough.

Luckily we haven't paid for the second 1/2 of this, so we asked them to come out and look at it and offer a fix. They haven't yet.

Is it possible this can be fixed with just more coats of finish (like maybe they tried to get away with only one or something)? Or is this a sand and start over problem?

Advice? Thanks!


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Old 12-30-2007, 05:41 PM   #2
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Not that I am a hardwood floor guy, but I would imagine that they can screen the surface to get it smoothed out, vacuum really good and apply another coat of finish. Keep the furnace off during refinish to stop dust and debris from floating around the house while the finish is curing. The black specs are probably in the wood itself and will either remain there or if you really want them out the floor will most likely need redone. How bad are they? Can they be left as is and disappear once you move in, meaning are they noticeable today because the house is empty and once furnished they won't be so noticable.


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Old 12-30-2007, 10:05 PM   #3
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Mostly just poor quality finish problems. The grittiness is dust that was on the floor when the finish was applied. The finish can be screened and properly vacuumed for a fresh topcoat. Be sure the ac/heat unit is turned "OFF', if it cylces on while the finish is wet, it will distribute a lot of dust into the surface.

The black specks have two possibilities. One is that they are in the wood (this is pretty common in oak). The second is that they are oxidation stains where the water born finish is causing a nail to discolor the wood. If it was a speck from the sandpaper, it would have to be a hunk of grit in the finish and will be pretty obvious to the touch.
The rough spots are possibly related to your description of the fairly low grade of wood used, which should have been clearly stated in the contract.
Lower grades will contain a lot more of "flat sawn" material. This is the stuff that has the huge "flame" patterened grain in it. Some of these patterns are not "grown" together tightly in the tree, and will keep lifting, as if you were lifting the layers of pastry dough. No amount of sanding will get this grain to not feel rough to the touch. If this is the case, these should be cut out and replaced, as they will always be snagging socks and putting splinters into bare feet.

Last edited by troubleseeker; 12-30-2007 at 10:07 PM.
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Old 01-01-2008, 12:59 PM   #4
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thanks for the replies!

Thank you for the replies. I feel a little better knowing (hoping) they
can just screen it instead of sanding it again.

I went around again and felt the spots...some of it is the grain I think, which to me indicates not enough coats. :-( Since the house is empty and we
weren't around maybe they thought they could get away with it?
Some of it though is pretty clearly dust not vacuumed. And the black specks I'm talking about is definitely grit of some sort, you can feel it above the wood.

As for the quality it isn't horrible I guess. In fact 90% of it is very nice clear wood. But, we wanted to match what was already there in part of the house and had the "professionals" judge what grade it was. They said the floor that was already there was #1 common because of the variation in wood color. Okay, figured he knew what he was talking about. So, they delivered #1 common (it was stamped that) and installed it. However what was already there has very few tiny knots, no wormholes, no cracks, no unevenness. There is a lot of variation in color, but it's pretty knot-free. What they installed about 10% of it has wormholes, little cracks, knots, many requiring fill, etc. Of course the 10% is scattered throughout the house/rooms so it's not like they could just do one room over, it's everywhere, about every 10th board. Maybe I'm being too picky but it upsets me because I would have paid for "select" to have it match what was there. The little knots don't bother me, they are quite pretty really, but the large ones with fill, and the little cracks and wormholes here and there are annoying.

Good advice to just put furniture in and forget it ;-) I need to get over this part. Just venting. Looking on the web, what we got is probably legitimate #1 common. Just wished they matched the other, which, looks like it must be select.

Anyways, I appreciate the responses. Wish me luck in getting them to screen and add some more coats.
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