A precautionary tale on doing floors last and in one go

Q: After sanding down a clients floors, we were made to wait 18 days before we could start the polyurethane. We have experienced some difficulties I have not encountered before. We are four coats in (screening in between) and there are still light rough spots and also some staining appeared (on brand new floors).

I don’t recall the staining being there when we put the first coat on but it is there now.

There was foot traffic in the home in between sanding and finishing and also painting in the room that has the problem. I am at a loss and I don’t know what to tell the guy.

A: That doesn’t sound like a good idea at all, to sand the floor and then leave it while other trades work on the unprotected wood. Who knows what they have dropped or spilled on it? Anything from patching compound to thinners and who knows what else. 4 Coats? And by the sounds of it you intend to keep applying more. I would have stopped at 3.

Follow-up: Yes, I agree and I informed him that we needed to do the process in an order and timeline that fit about 5 days for everything. Also there was a ton of rain in between sanding and coating. I am beyond frustrated right now and I must add that his wife (after numerous inspections of the floor: pre and post finish) just now says something about the spots. I asked the husband to make sure it was all to his liking and he said it was all good.

I was going to lightly screen and recoat one last time because I was just trying to make them happy. I do not wish to resand the whole thing. They said the rest of the floors looks great, just some spots in this particular room that I do not recall being there when we sanded or finished.

A: I’ve been in a similar position years ago when the customer said it would be all good. They would be there to make sure the things I warned about did not happen. It didn’t have a happy ending. Well, it isn’t your fault but if possible you want the home owner to be happy and you don’t want to lose your shirt. So, stay calm with him. Explain the situation and (I don’t know how serious these marks show) that you were nearing completion. If you have to start over you are going to have to charge him for the job again. That is only right. I hope you got some payment up front. If the stains are few and not really all over maybe he will let you finish and live with the floor as is. It isn’t a table top after all and they will be walking on it.

For some comic relief: https://www.woodfloorbusiness.com/installation/tales-from-the-front-a-different-twist-on-the-dreaded-post-it-note-customer.html

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