Misadventures in Floor Refinishing

I wish I had better photos for you.  Unfortunately, we arrived home last Saturday (after being away for 10 days) to a very botched floor job.  Here is some photo documentation.


See those scratches?  Those are not small.  And those are just the beginning.

more scratches

More scratches, from a sander.  There are many instances of this.

uneven color

Lovely uneven stain coverage.  There’s a lot of that, too.


Here’s one of the biggest offenders, which is hard to photograph but easy to feel:  the grit!  See it up there to the left where the light hits it.  Apparently all the dust wasn’t removed before the stain or poly was applied, so now it’s preserved for posterity.  It’s rough, guys.  I can’t even easily pass a Swiffer over it.

More problems:


See up at the top where the floor isn’t shiny?  Again, it’s hard to photograph (especially when you are using an iphone at 11 at night) but this spotty sheen is all over the floors.  There is very uneven coverage of the polyurethane. 

So, what was all that again?

– Uneven stain color

– Uneven poly-coverage

– Gritty texture

– Sander scratches

You don’t know this, but I’m refraining from screaming right now.  Basically, our floors are in much worse shape than they were when we started.  And no, this wasn’t a DIY job.  A so-called professional completed this shoddy work.  Not only is this an expensive mistake for us to clean up, it’s enormously inconvenient.  Fixing this requires us to be out of the house again for a number of days.  AND it puts many of our other projects (like unpacking and settling in downstairs, for instance) on hold until we can figure out what makes sense.  We’ve been tossing around all sorts of possibilities, and I’ve got one quote from a company about fixing it and I am waiting on a quote from another.  And we haven’t decided if we are going to try and recoup any of the financial loss from the first, botched job (we paid the contractor half his fee up front, to cover materials and some of the labor).  Many have asked so I will say that yes, the contractor who screwed up our floors did offer to come back and fix them, but frankly, from the way he responded when we pointed out why this work wasn’t satisfactory, I don’t trust his ability to fix the problem.  At this point, I won’t publicly out him on the blog, but I will probably be writing a review of his company on Yelp.  And I’d really like to find the list of references he gave me and call them back to let them know what a disservice they did me by lying to me.

I wanted to keep this brief and not go on and on complaining, because really what is the point?  I just wanted to update my readers with the results of the floor refinishing which I was so excited about.  And I’m embarrassed because I think this reflects badly on me since I hired him.  Believe me, I thought I had done my homework.  At this point, Dr. Jay and I are just really glad we didn’t hire him to work on our kitchen, which was the original plan.  We are considering doing EVERYTHING else ourselves at this point.  Okay, I’m considering that.  Dr. Jay has a job and other interests like fishing and photography and sleeping.  He has no interest in re-plumbing our kitchen and laundry room.

The only thing that turned out well in the floor job was the stain color:  Minwax Early American.  We are happy with that.  It looks more red in those photos than it is in real life.  Blame the iphone photography at 11 pm.  Don’t blame the contractor.  Goodness knows he has enough faults already.


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