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Old 10-08-2019, 01:09 PM   #1
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How much pay contractor for botched job?


Hi, we recently hired a painter to sand and refinish our hardwood floors. It's not really his expertise, but he's done a floor or two before and came recommended by our realtor, so we went for it, because we thought we didn't have time to wait for a professional. The floor is very unevenly sanded (he used a tiny hand sander for 1,000 sq. feet!) and his stain job is very splotchy. It kind of looks like a "barn floor," when what we were going for was the "million-dollar home floor." We know he put in a lot of time and applaud his effort, but we are going to have to bring in the professional after all to start all over on the job. We haven't paid him a cent yet (he didn't require a down payment), but we want to fairly compensate him for his effort. What percentage of the total amount do you think we should pay him?
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Old 10-08-2019, 01:16 PM   #2
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Re: How much pay contractor for botched job?


Oh Boy....That is a real TOUGH one.....nice honest guy...friend of the realtor...

I guess I might explain that you have to do a complete strip resand...and ask him what is fair.... he may be very reasonable.

Otherwise, kinda depends on whether you explained a complete resand and staining clearly..... maybe his material costs and 25 to 50 %.....???????
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Old 10-08-2019, 01:26 PM   #3
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Re: How much pay contractor for botched job?


Thanks so much for your help! This gives me some idea of where to start. Lesson learned: wait for the professional!
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Old 10-08-2019, 02:15 PM   #4
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Re: How much pay contractor for botched job?


I suspect it all boils down to a bad sanding job. As a painter he should know how to stain and apply poly correctly but a bad sanding job makes it next to impossible to get the stain to look right. I suspect he's used to someone else doing the sanding or just refinishing a small room [kind of like me] The stain/finish is the easy part.



Hard to say what to pay him, hopefully y'all can agree on something. To make it right the floor needs to be completely resanded and started over.
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Old 10-08-2019, 02:25 PM   #5
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Re: How much pay contractor for botched job?


Thanks so much for your reply. Yes, it was a very poor sanding job, and the darker stain just made the mistakes show up all the more. We'll see what amount we can agree on. Thanks.
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Old 10-08-2019, 04:09 PM   #6
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Re: How much pay contractor for botched job?


Sure would be interesting to see the job.
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Old 10-08-2019, 05:33 PM   #7
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Re: How much pay contractor for botched job?


Welcome to the forums. Probably a better thread for the general forum and get some pictures put together too.
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Old 10-08-2019, 08:08 PM   #8
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Re: How much pay contractor for botched job?


We painters get roped into these sort of things regularly. I know I hate refinishing floors. It's always a crapshoot. I'll say one thing......it's a gift to be able to operate a drum sander properly. He likely didn't feel comfortable using one even though that's the right tool for the job. Even so, it takes some skill to keep that thing moving to take off the old finish. There's almost no way to use a small sander to get enough stain and clear coat off the floor to do the job correctly.

Definitely post some pics. It's possible that something else is going on. Floor could be uneven or out of level and who knows what was used originally as stain and clear coat.
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Old 10-09-2019, 03:26 PM   #9
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Re: How much pay contractor for botched job?


I sanded and stained a new maple floor that I installed myself many years ago. Big job, and I ended up with 3 large garbage bags of sawdust from all the sanding. Anyway, when it came time to stain the floor it came out all blotchy. I was unaware that certain wood species need to have wood conditioner applied before staining or you get the blotches. Lesson learned. I eventually had a pro come out and sand it again and they stained it a lighter color after conditioning the wood and it looks good.
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Old 10-09-2019, 04:43 PM   #10
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Re: How much pay contractor for botched job?


Maple doesn't like dark stains, most leave it natural with just a poly finish. Maple can be stained but it can be tricky.
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Old 10-09-2019, 05:20 PM   #11
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Re: How much pay contractor for botched job?


Quote:
Originally Posted by mark sr View Post
Maple doesn't like dark stains, most leave it natural with just a poly finish. Maple can be stained but it can be tricky.

Yes, I know that now, but I installed the flooring back around 1983 or so. Live and learn.

I can't imagine being a young first time homeowner these days with access to DIY sites like this one. So much knowledge available just for the asking.
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Old 10-09-2019, 06:33 PM   #12
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Re: How much pay contractor for botched job?


I had some people want me to finish their basement- complete with a stone fireplace! There were very sad when I told them "No". And a guy who had commercial strip asked me to build him a two story, sound proof wall. I reminded him that I was just a humble painter. "Oh, I prefer working with painters" he says. Sure- they'd woefully underbid the job. But, that does no one good. What are the odds that a guy- so out of his element- is going to even complete the job satisfactorily? Odds are the poor guy gets quickly in the weeds and bails.
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Old 10-09-2019, 06:41 PM   #13
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Re: How much pay contractor for botched job?


When my very scratched floors needed to be refinished, I looked on Craigslist and found someone who had posted pictures and all that. Seemed reputable, price was right. He could NOT remove the scratches, they were that deep. He gave up, I paid him for the time he had put in. I then called a Flooring company, and they looked at the scratches and said they would use "ceramic sandpaper" and the floors would look like new when they were done. I was obviously a doubting-Thomas, but when they were done, they looked brand new! Quite a few bags of sawdust left the house by the time they were finished!
I have to say, almost every time a real estate agent recommends someone to me to do something, it doesn't go well. Maybe that's just my experience....
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Old 10-09-2019, 06:42 PM   #14
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Re: How much pay contractor for botched job?


I think you should pay him the price you agreed to.
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Old 10-10-2019, 03:12 PM   #15
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Re: How much pay contractor for botched job?


Thanks, everyone, for your very helpful comments! We should not have hired a painter to do a professional floor refinishing job; now we know that. His bid was actually not at all lower--he was just able to complete the work sooner so we could get our house on the market sooner. But now it will take us longer, as the professional is now already booked out through the middle of November! Thank you also for explaining about the wood conditioner. I'm sure the painter and our realtor (who is also a painter, by the way) had no idea about that. I also understand now that 80-90% of refinishing jobs are done without stain to bring out the natural beauty of the wood, so we will consider going totally without stain this next time. (The pro will do a patch with stain and one without, and we will decide between the two.) From all of your advice, I had settled on $1,500 to pay the painter for his materials, time and effort, but my husband told me I should let HIM suggest first what he thought he should be paid. To my surprise, the number he came up with was $1,500! (The original quote was for $4,800 for 819 sq. ft. plus a half-set of stairs.) I am so relieved to have settled on a price with him and to get the floors done professionally mid-November. Thank you all so much for all of your help and advice! (We will now list the house in early January instead of early October, but the floors will look very nice!)
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