Years ago we sanded and refinished a kitchen in a rental property they own in Princeton. Just off Witherspoon, it is a rental home right across from the Princeton University Campus. Then not long after they had us refinish their family room at their home in Bordentown. Happy with our work and customer service, they called us again. Round three is to have us refinish their kitchen.
Having some ‘this old house’ leveling issues it was decided to use new wood instead of vintage. Most of it would be new, but where their table would sit it would tie in to there and eventually the family room.The bulk of the kitchen with new white oak.
So while the contractor prepped the room we ordered and took delivery of the red-oak (oops) board material.
Chris picked a nondescript board to test to determine if the floor was red oak or white oak. Taking a sample he settled on a larger board that separated the back family room area from the living room. And, red oak it was.
Purposely confirming the precise species, Chris wanted no confusion. But, the plot thickened. When Marvin arrived and began his pre-work inspection he started to doubt the existing floor was red oak. (Some times it is really hard to tell, so that is why we have a test kit to confirm in actuality.)
Marvin called with the bad news. I told him Chris used the chemical ID test kit. It was red oak. Diving in a bit deeper and speaking to our client, he solved the problem.
Chris did test the wood and confirmed it was red oak. However, Chris tested a transition board that another contractor, years before had incorrectly installed between the two rooms. In the three rooms of hardwood, Chris picked and tested the single board that was red oak. All the other boards in the three rooms were white oak.
The correct material was delivered and allowed to acclimate. What that means is the actual board stock has to sit for approx 48 hrs before installing it. This allows the boards to absorb the actual humidity within the home.That way they will absorb or dispell the acutally humidity where they will be installed.
Meanwhile Marvin had plenty to do. He prepped the floor and made his cuts and repairs around the perimeter where this stock will be installed.
It looks good. And the clients are pleased. Not wasting time Art is impressed not only with Marvin’s skill, he was marveling at the speed Marvin works.
The day comes and goes, and the boards are making the room whole again.
In addition to the area where the wall was opened up and they wanted to boards radomly filled,
they had a second area they wanted done too.
With the first one they wanted the boards weaved in where the old wall was. Once those pieces were removed he cut the existing boards at different lengths. Then the new boards were filled right in randomly. It is easier to do this as the floor gets installed.
But with the second one he already had the boards in, so he had to make a correction. They had determined that the new bathroom sink cabinet is higher. So when it is installed it will not cover all the plywood underneath. She told him him she wanted us to weave our boards in under where it will be placed.
It is a minor adjustment in the overall picture. But, it does modify Marvin’g task list. He had installed the boards in the bathroom. They were up to the plywood inserted in the floor. So now he has cut the new boards randomly as well. He can’t just “slap” them in.
All in all it took Marvin a couple extra hours. He pulled out the plywood, and put in the oak boards in a random pattern. This slight repair would eliminate them having to see the plywood every time they opened the door.
He finished the install but a couple of hours behind schedule.
The next challange was to create a dissimilar pattern where the new boards are laid. They will be placed up to the existing boards in what still is the part of the existing kitchen.
And just like that it is done. All crisp, clean, tight and flat, Marvin nails it! Now it is a contiguous floor. There is not even a clue that this was anything but a contiguous floor!
Likety-split, Marvin moves fast. Although completely professional and tending to every single step along the way, Marvin moves at a good clip. I think I have his “secret sauce” down pat. He maintains one of his most important tools on the job are his headphones. And I think I concur.
Not your normal do-si-do for sure. It is a skilled movement with the machine. Lowering the “sanding drum” takes practice, and is an art. To do so you must begin a forward motion so you don’t leave a drum divot on the floor by mistake. Click here if you would like to see what I mean by a “drum mark!”
This was the next challenge he faced. But as a professional installer and refinisher it was a piece of cake.
Beyond happy, Art and Mary are extremely pleased with the craftsmanship! They can’t compliment Marvins’ work enough.
They keep thanking him about the good job. And they keep telling us what a fantastic job he is doing.
Looking at their floor and not hearing a peep when you move about the floor we concur. We are in agreement, they should be happy! Chris pointed out that the work is so good the kitchen contract should be on his toes. It will be challenging to make things plum and as tight as the floor does!
What do I mean by that? Well, we have installed brand new wood up against vintage 1930’s wood that existed in this kitchen. How the wood “accepts” the stain color will not be the same. The old wood will look one color. The new wood will look another color!
Now we did test and assure the wood is the exact species. That is the first color hurdle (if you will.) But the next snag is, how do you play with the stain so the color is exact?
Yes, an art it is! An experienced wood refinisher knows that they will have to “play with the color.”This means they will have to build the color in order to migrate the wood to an aceeptable blend.
Choosing a stain color to match as close as possible, Marvin made his choice. He applied it to the entire floor. The same stain was “ragged on, then ragged off.” It was appled across the entire floor and left to cure.
First eyes on the floor, we saw that it is a real close match. It looked about 98% on, with exception to about 5 boards in the middle of the room. They stained really light. Marvin said to me he may put some tint in the sealer that will be applied, just to those new boards.
And just about that time, Art slipped beyond the plastic, in to the room and asked if we could blend the boards just in that area.
To answer, yes we could. And yes, we did!
He complimented Marvin on how close the stain was in fact to the original floor. However, it was odd that the 5 were lighter. All the other new boards appeared dead on. It was just those measely 5 boards that did not.
It was a resounding yes.
Next thing I know the boards are touched up and the color is blended beautifully! The owners both concurred.
Being that the color is even now Mavin applied the seal, then later he applied the first finish coat The next morning the final finish was applied, and we were done! It looks gorgeous. Marvin is really pleased. I am also pleased and the clients are really pleased!
In closing, three jobs for three, our clients are not “just”pleased! They are ‘over the moon’ pleased!