Beware the fly by night “contractor”

Q: We recently hired someone to do our floors and now a problem has come up and his phone is disconnected! Here is what he did: 1) Sanded floors with a large sander. 2) Stained floors with a roller (similar to painting walls), never wiped up with a rag. He said when u roll it on you don’t need to. 3) Applied 5 coats of polyurethane, 2 low gloss, and 3 high gloss, he said it was better with kids and pets.

We stayed out of the room for 3 days, then we wore socks. Day 5 we put furniture back. Day 8 we started using shoes. Day 10 we let our dog back. That’s when the trouble started. Every time he moved he peeled the floor. It looks like a scratch, but it’s more like an air bubble where his paws touched, and then it chips away. Now looking closely we see that look on a lot of the seems between two boards. What do we do? We can’t afford to hire someone else.

A: It sounds like this was a fly by night kind of guy who didn’t really know what he was doing. It is always wise to apply the stain in sections and then go back and remove any excess with a clean cloth. It is not paint after all and you don’t want a stain film sitting on the floor surface which might impede finish adhesion to the wood. Stain with excess not removed followed by 5 coats of polyurethane? This is far too much and will take a long time to fully cure or harden. Did he even screen or sand between coats? This is necessary to assure adhesion of the successive finish coats. If you can’t afford to have this floor done over you will have to live with it until you can I’m afraid.

Follow-up Q: He did a light sanding after one coat, ugh, I knew we should have waited! A friend of mine said they have a floor buffer that could use light sandpaper and we could scratch the poly off, but I’m afraid that won’t work. Thank you.

A: Floor guys usually use screen discs which come in various grits. I would use anywhere from 180 to 150 grit. It is probably best to give this finish at least a month to harden. And the edges should be sanded with fine sandpaper. I use 120 grit.

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