Chatter marks twice on same floor

Q: I work for a well known floor company. They gave me a 1000 sq ft sand, stain and finish on a new install. I cut the floor with 40 grit, then 80, and then screened with 120. After staining there were chatter in the floor, so I went and had my machine hauled over roller bearings, belts, went to the job cut the floor again. There’s still chatter, not as bad, but still chatter.

The customer is not real happy needless to say.. Any suggestions on why this happened twice on same floor? I’ve been doing this for 5 plus years and have never run into this problem.

A: If you get chatter or especially ‘the wave’ the next time you sand, the initial sanding needs to be on a bit of an angle to flatten the floor. Otherwise, your sander drum and abrasive will simply follow the existing contour of the floor and likely make those marks even worse.

Related Q: I made a huge mistake and hired a bad contractor to refinish my hardwood floor, he absolutely messed it up!! It’s not evenly shiny and you can see sanding marks. Also when you walk over it socks get stuck, because he left debris underneath. It looks like he didn’t even clean it at all..

My question is how can this be fixed and how expensive would it be? Can I do it myself?

A: The only way to deal with sanding marks really is to start over from scratch. Applying a low shine finish will tend to hide things like this while shiny finishes are like putting a spotlight on it and asking everyone to ‘look at this’. The problem of debris can be corrected by lightly sanding the finish. I would use 120 grit sand paper to rub down the edges and a polisher with screen discs, probably 180 or 150 grit to sand the main area. The idea is to knock down the coating without going to bare wood. Then clean properly, thoroughly before applying another thin coat (500 sq. feet per gallon usually). Windows should be closed until the finish has set up. Doing this job does take quite bit of skill with the equipment and experience in all aspects of the work. I do think a homeowner could pull off a buff and coat if they were careful. No areas can be missed in this buff and recoat or the finish would likely peel off.

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