Sealer didn’t dry before install

Q: I just had engineered hardwood flooring put in. The workers first put a sealer on my concrete floors once carpet was removed. In four days it still had not completely dried but they started work anyway to lay the new hardwood flooring. The problem now is that the imprint of their work boots are all over the place!

They have cleaned it twice now with paint thinner and the imprints are still there.

I am now worried as their trouble-shooter thinks the sealer actually lifted the finish off the wood. This is because when the paint thinner is applied, the imprints disappear, but when it dries, the imprints show up again. He is going to advise the owner of the Company that he wants to apply a polymer to my flooring. I’m concerned that it might change the color completely. I almost feel like they should just start over with new flooring.

A: I really wish I could say something differently, but I suspect this floor will have to be replaced, unless you will settle for a complete re sand and finish. I doubt the sealer took the finish off. Rather it has attached itself to the finish in the shape of their boot print. With the thinners on the floor, giving the wet look, the marks won’t show, when it dries, the sealer is still there. The time to have removed it would be when it was still wet.

I did an estimate in a large house where they were having some sanding & staining done as well as an exotic pre finished installed. One of the workers walked across the exotic with polyurethane on his shoes. the company that installed the floor had to remove the affected boards and replace them. This is one of the issues I don’t like with pre finished, aluminium oxide coated floors. They are very difficult to impossible to touch up and very difficult to sand.