Heavy grain makes floor look wavy

Q: I just had my prefinshed red oak floors refinished and I’m not happy with the end result. The floor looks wavy or wrinkled on every board. The refinisher says it’s the heavy grain and it’s normal. It doesn’t look normal to me.

I would like to attach some photos.

A: I’m seeing what I expected to see. Are you referring to the grain being depressed and lower than the surrounding wood? This is called dish out and I agree with your floor guy. It is the wood. That large heavy and wavy grain in oak is quite a bit softer than the wood surrounding it. So when the abrasive on the machine passes over it it stands to reason more will be removed from the much softer grain. What part of the tree the flooring was milled from can have a bearing on this also as heart wood is a different hardness than sap wood. And how is one to know what you have? Not that it would really matter anyway in the final analysis. Otherwise, the staining and finishing look quite good.

Follow-up Q: I did read that when I was searching online, I’m just not crazy about how it looks. Thank you for taking the time to get back to me. Can it be resanded flat? I read if it’s sanded on an angle that would take care of it, or do I just live with it?!! Between the $10,000 originally spent for the prefinshed floor and the $3000 for the refinished floor I wanted to love it and that’s why I’m disappointed.Thanks again, your professional opinion did make me feel better.

A: I’m sorry I missed your further comment. Every time a floor is sanded it removes more wood until eventually the floor is so thin it has to be replaced. Your floor being 3/4 thick should have a lot of life left. Sanding on an angle is used to flatten a floor but it is more aggressive and removes more wood than simply sanding in the direction of the grain.

If it was my floor, given that the stain and finish appear very good, I would accept what you don’t like with the wood. You are probably the only one who doesn’t like it. Others would come in and be amazed, I would think. Put your furniture in place and enjoy your home. It is a floor after all. Meant to be walked on.

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