Swirl marks

Q: The floor company I hired had three times to get the job right and yet they couldn’t deliver as they promised! First they applied the wrong finish, matte rather than gloss. Then they re-buffed and put on gloss but large patches of white filmy wood were visible next to glossy places. The only way to fix was to re-sand! Now, they have left swirl marks and I believe they forgot to tape off vents in my 60 year old floor furnace.

I haven’t paid them yet. What can I do to fix swirl marks on wood floor?

A: Swirl marks have been a problem in floor coating since polishers were invented. The problem is that the previous coat of finish needs to be “scratched” to help create a mechanical bond so the fresh coat of finish will adhere well. The difficulty is exacerbated even more with over head pot lights and gloss finishes.

However, progress has been made in recent years with the creation of new abrasive pads that will de-gloss a finish without leaving heavy swirls. 3M has their maroon pad which can be used with 180 grit sanding strips and is a very good substitute for screens. Norton Abrasives have recently produced a pad which comes in different “grits” and won’t leave heavy scratches either.

Have the workers use one of these alternative abrasive, inter-coat buffing pads and it should take care of the swirl issues. If they feel these pads are not aggressive enough to buff down the coating they are using, then they could do a fast buffing with a screen and then go over with one of the above mentioned pads to reduce the scratch marks.