No More Drum Rolls Please!

Drum Marks Here, Drum Marks There, Drum Marks Everywhere!

Client’s hardwood suffers major traumas with refinishing.

Drum marks are the focus here. The roofers (having done the work) floundered with every hardwood floor feat, fumbling with every step.

Being the lastest challenge trying to correct things, the drum marks are about the final mistake that we encountered and had to fix. And along with fixing them and crossing them off the list, there was one other final ‘tweak’ needed to wrap up the job completely.

Don’t hire a roofer to refinish hardwood floors!

Choosing convenience without confirming experience could be haunting, as it was for these folks. Kind of like asking a proctologist to perform cardiac care procedures, having a roofer refinish hardwood floors with no experience is a mistake. It is ripe for disaster.

(Not our first rodeo with clients using this reasoning, the last time we had a client do the same it too was a disaster! Read on, and you can also click to see that diaster too.)

Certain projects need experienced professionals. Refinishing hardwood floors is one of them!

So focusing on the drum marks here, below you can see how the other problems were fixed by checking out the following links:

terrible sanding and edger digs

To get your groundspeed about how this began, click here →Roofer Regrets Refinishing Hardwood. 

And as part of the restortaion we came upon a color issue.

Preferring to go as light as possible Christine, a military transport pilot was on a mission when the color selection process took place. In addition to all the other blunders, the roofers denied allowing her to make this critical stain color decision. We did not make the same mistake.We waited for her in person approval.

stain choice to cover most pad damage on hardwood floor
Having to abandon a clear coat, a light stain was chosen that hides most of the pad damage

We did a test mock up of her top color choices.

Setting them up before she arrived home, we put them near the window for persuasion from the natural light. Equally important, the color was placed on top of some permanent pad stain. We wanted to make sure the stain would ‘calm down’ the discoloration as much as possible.

The color was decided quickly.

After returning that night Christine had a clear favorite. The next morning she confirmed it. Dark enough so it “calmed down the discoloration from the padding”, but light enough to tie in the color pallate the stain color was chosen.

Visitors would not see it. The bit she saw she could live with. For more about her selection process, and worth learning about click here → You Guys Crushed It!

The next debacle, was the stairs.

bad hardwood floor sanding with edger
Near the spindles you can see the bad edger digs (the wavy pattern) and the horrible stain job- part of a long list of problems done by another contractor

It was a major feat correcting the edger digs on the stairs. Also called ‘banana marks’, they were everywhere on the stair. The flaws hit you up and down. As a half set of stairs floating up, and a fuller set heading down below, the stair flaws stood out plain as day. It was a “brown hot mess”!

This was a failure of epic proportions! To see full throttle how the stair repair played out click here →A Step Up For The Stairs (and how they were fixed)!

Now on to the next conundrum, no more drum rolls please!

Although abundantly encountered on the upper floor, it was in the darker bedroom hallway that the rookie error “drum roll” marks B___ slapped you in the face. You couldn’t get away from seeing them. Between the ‘Chocolate S___ Brown’ painted floor to the divot drum mark depressions, this part of the hardwood floor job needed rescue as well!

What is a drum roll?

What I refer to as a drum roll is actually a drum mark. Drum marks are left by our drum sander. It is the workhorse of most sanding jobs.  A 300 lb machine with a oval sanding belt, it does the bulk of the sanding. And while working with it, it is a behemouth of a machine to handle.

Besides sanding the majority of the floor (called the field, wide open spances of the floor), it is used in hallways and tighter spaces as well. However, with limitations in movability it can leave marks if not carefully maneuvered.

So in tight spaces like a hallway, drum marks can amass with rookie execution (as they did here)!!

Drum mark, after drum mark, after drum mark, they were everywhere. They were even multiple ones on top of one another. Some major, some minor, all pointed to a failed sanding attempt that had to be corrected.

Equally important, the correction sanding had to remove the horrible color, but it also had to sand out the drum depression marks. The challange was, would the regular sanding flatten the drum mark depressions. Or, would the worst areas require board replacement to correct?

In particular, there were several of them.

Hardwood hall with several drum marks
Although little out of focus, there are 4-5 drum mark depressions that are mistakes in sanding

One drum mark (actually a collection of  about 5 of them) and a couple near the wall were the worst ones that had to go!

Specifically, there were too much in such a closed dark space. They were magnified to the eye as you looked down the hallway. Staring you clear in the face, Christine wanted them removed.

But why would so many drum marks be left in this area? What causes them?

Drum mark depressions are left by the refinisher using the drum machine when they a- either engage the drum down on the floor before they start moving. Or b- drum marks appear when they stop a forward motion with the machine. This might occur when the try to turn the machine around.

So first off, you could well get an edge mark as the rookie refinisher drops the drum and then begins their forward motion. Then he again could leave a drum mark turning the machine. You could see in the case, the refinisher got too close to the wall. He hit the door jams in the hallway. Thus every time he miscalculated how close he should be to the wall the sander hit the door casing trim. It tripped up his stride. The machine stopped. And in the moment it stopped, as he moved it away from the wall it was just enough time to leave a depression from the drum.

Therefore, as we summarized this part of the project we didn’t promise we could remove them while resanding it.

In fact, I surmised that they wouldn’t come out with basic sanding. Instead, I advised Christine that those boards may in fact need to be replaced to correct the worst of the drum marks. Namely again I was referring to the one in the middle, and two in the hall but near and against the door jams to the hall bathroom, and the walk in hallway storage closet.

In other words, if they could be sanded out there would be no additional charge. But if not we would have to factor in additional pricing for board replacement.

What’s more, we couldn’t tell until Marvin got in to the job. So we left that a ‘TBD’, and Marvin got started.

To my delight, after Marvin did his first cut he removed the bulk of the drum marks. That was good. He informed me he surmised that the deeper ones might well sand out as well. And, they did! Now beyond that TBD issue we could keep flying forward with the sanding and preparation prior to the staining.

Reporting to Christine and Clint (out of town), we all were pleased with my news.

Finally, with lots of contracting and surprises that always pop up requiring adjustments, it was nice to deliver news that didn’t require extra money. We kept rolling with the work. Get ready for stain. Get the stain down. Apply the seal, then two coats of finish, and get all this done before they again return home from a vacation.

When they got home they saw the hallway, closets and the bedrooms all refinished. They were thrilled. And inspecting all the areas they found one little area in the storage closet that needed some massaging. So before we put the protective Ramboard™ down once again, Clint showed Marvin the area of concern. And quickly Marvin took a high grade sand paper (220 grit), and lightly sanded the spot. This way it was totally smoothe and wouldn’t catch their socks when they walked on the area.

Lastly, the Ramboard™ was installed to protect the floor during the curing phase.

By now, used to the drill they welcomed the process. Having 2 large energetic, protective dogs and a toddler and an infant they didn’t want to risk damaging the floors while they were vulnerable. Curing and vulnerable for about 30 days, this was an easily tolerated inconvenience that will optimize the end results.

Stringers that need to be sanded to mach
Herein lies the last part, the stringers, it’s not the flat panels that’s the problem, its the small ends and inside areas that’s really hard to get to

Only thing left at this point now was the “Stringer Project!”

With all the major areas now refinished, the only remaining part of the project were, and are the stringers. Guess you could say we have left the best for last!

It is no joke that sanding the stringers will take some cussin’ and a fightin’! To explain, the location of them, and access to them is very limited. One has to be very short (as Marvin happens to be), but also a contortionist. And actually he will also have to work lying on his belly to get to the lower parts, like pictured here to the right!

And for most if not all of this work, specialty tools and hand work will be required. So this  majorly involves all hand work, and probably only done by someone who really cares and will put themselves in strange positions to do so!

With some baiting and rewarding, Marvin accepts, and I am really glad he has!

While observing the pictures of the stairs, especially the lower set, you can’t avoid seeing the dramatically different stain color the stringers are. Unfortunately, in the current state, the dissimilar stain on the stringers greatly detracts from the overall refinishing of the stairs. So to sum it up, we do have to return to sand and refinish the stringers to match.

Of course, promising this I did, but giving them a date, I could not!

We already slipped them in as an urgent job in front of other committed customers. We do this at times when there is a deadline or a problem that needs immediate attention. And while speaking with our clients, as we put them on our schedule we usually mention their might be some deviation in their final start date.

So, such was the case for them. They were urgently added, and their work got done in a timely manner to coincide with their move. They managed to keep their furniture out until we finished.

Therefore, this last “touch” to do their stringers will be deferred to when we can get the other committed clients taken care of.

But also, to sweeten the pot and entice Marvin’s willingness, I think a promise of a tip might entice him.

It might just be the ‘tipping point’ to get him to jump back on this final bit! So at this date of publication doing the stringers is a TBD event. One in which I will share when that special moment takes place!

Ps- I had referred to a previous client who settled on convenience without vetting experience or seeing their work. And in doing so her decision equally caused her a hardwood floor failure that had to be corrected. Work knowing about, especially if you are tempted to follow the same reasoning, I suggest you read about her self imposed hardwood floor refinishing debacle. To read about it click here→

If you had drum marks, edger digs, stain or sanding problems we can help! Or, if you want your hardwood floors refinished and avoiding those mistakes Call us! Free Estimates, friendly advice. Call us at 609.953.0472 or CONTACT US on line. 






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