the client “stopped the bleeding” and called us desperate to have us fix the sanding debacle just done to her hardwood floors, stairs and railings.
A Mount Laurel client quietly sought to have her hardwood floor and railings corrected after a contractor’s sub found himself in over his head. The client was pleased with the general contractor’s work overall (really nice guy, does good work and has a good reputation), but this part of the project was not as successful.
With all due credit to contractors, when it comes to hardwood floor refinishing, there is a strong suggestion that this work should be left to professionals experienced, equipped and who regularly do this type of work. Such was the case here. While all kudos go to the general contractor, when he heard (I am told by our mutual client), and then saw the problems, he too concurred the work left a lot to be desired. (And while our company policy is to band together with our “contractor” brothers and sisters, and not diss anyone as a practice (which we didn’t but were polite about), it tips the scales when a client is dealt a hand with problems of epic proportions, in this case so many they could not be ignored, and that truly took money out of their pockets and for what?!)
Even after 2 re-sanding attempts to correct the problems, it became evident and clear that the sub-contractor was in over his head. So, should the homeowner be stuck paying for a failed job? Not when it affects all of their main living area and the stairs, the foyer and downstairs family room (and client is in tears) and costs them thousands of dollars—essentially all the living areas in their house.
Chris, our eventual client, allowed herself to be swayed into letting the general contractor bring his sub-contractor in to do the refinishing instead. She had an appointment with us on a Saturday morning (for a free inspection), and abruptly canceled it just as we had gotten in the car to meet her at 8:30 that morning.
From what we could glean that happened—perhaps it was easier, he was already there. She liked him and the work he was doing so far. What’s not to worry!
The recommended sub-contractor was hired. At the time the various tasks were executed the homeowner packed her dogs and headed to their shore house to get out of the way. Chris left her husband home, who could work from home while coming and going and dealing with the hardwood floor project.
It was pretty quick, and before she knew it her husband called her at the shore to tell her that the hardwood floor refinishing project was finished. When she asked him how it looked, he said it looked good. All excited Chris couldn’t wait to see them.
At every turn she found issues. There were numerous blemishes, not just a couple (which maybe, just a few she could stomach). Overall the floors looked weird. The coating looked funny, not like before they started. She looked closer and a whole lot of things drew red flags too. Beyond the finish there was sloppy work, things never touched, things slapped in that didn’t belong, rough railings that weren’t that way before. She saw drips, discoloration and finish not just on the floors, but on the newly painted trim and the walls. And since they painted too, there was paint splatter too that was left in numerous places on the floor. All in all many things just weren’t right.
Dialing in and scrutinizing a little closer, she began to see many aspects of the job were flawed: the carpentry, the finish, the staining, and the finished product. And it affected the floors, her cabinets, her baseboards, the steps, the railings, and even the adjacent new floors (LVP), recently installed in the foyer and lower level family room. Too much, she had no recourse but to pull the plug!
In her thinking and to her husband she questioned “and they called this a finished product?” She was really annoyed the sub-contractor presented this as his finished product. Were they serious? Being polite and biting her lip she was upset and sad this happened, but determined to have it fixed. Despite liking her contractor and his work, she was not going to settle for the job as it was done by his subcontractor. And if only it were improved a bit she could be happier.
Without skipping a beat, the sub-contractor returned to re-do everything and make it right. Sanding everything down, they redid the work. Watching the re-work, little if anything changed.
And again, really none of the items on her “hit list” were corrected. It was more of the same. (Honestly, given the species of the wood “alligatoring” that would never be corrected if the contaminant wasn’t removed. And since they had no knowledge of what was causing it, they couldn’t fix it.) Moreover unless they changed the sanding pattern and technique, the stain and the finish would never improve either. And the list still continued, even compounded.
Kind of thinking she had us in her back pocket, Chris reached out, and asked for help. Not knowing all the details we arrived and inspected the floor and railing job. Immediately we saw her main concerns (and more). Being respectful to the existing contracting this work was an exception. There were too many issues and concurred she shouldn’t take a blind eye (actually in totality, we eventually had 45 different items that made the punch list of issues that were red flags).
We agreed the project as a whole had to be fixed. So for the next hour and and a half we added things to the list.
We found many issues, among them were these most significant ones:
It was the last day of February. We spent some time with her and John, answering their questions and answering could we fix the issues and make the floors look better. We freely answered yes, and during the meeting we referred to our Picture Gallery (a section of our website called Case Studies). To see various project’ pictures before and after→ click here Case Studies- Picture Gallery (before & after shots). We acknowledged we would fit her into a packed schedule if she could be flexible. Gracious for the help, we promised to get going on her project asap, and we left with a deposit in hand.
In fact she was holding back tears on several occasions during our meeting, and really sad this happened. Despite liking her contractor and his work, she was not going to settle for the job as it was done by the subcontractor, whether liking the general contractor or not. Now re-sanded twice with no improvement to address the many concerns either of the times. You just don’t do the same thing, not once, twice but perhaps a third time thinking you would get a different outcome—and she (they) were right.
To put it mildly, when our tech started he had his hands full. Each day our client saw corrections right before her very eyes as he fixed every item on her list, and even more we discovered and brought to her attention each of the coming days. Fixing them gave her immediate relief, and she was overcome with pure joy. She couldn’t have been more relieved! And when done, she was over the moon thrilled with her floors and our workmanship, and honestly now had tears of joy! The floors and railings were fixed, and gorgeous. And she admitted she only ever hoped they would be a little better.
What took them a mere number of days took us 3+ weeks (the repairs took 2-3 days alone, and the sanding repairs took time, and the regular sanding pattern ((done properly, and much by hand)) took days too).
With a very generous tip given (the biggest one our technician has ever received to date) and a smile on her face you can’t erase, she has become a “champion referring” client of ours.
Not just craftsmanship, according to our client, our hardwood floor technician’s work was “Hardwood floor craftsmanship-artistry.”
Despite having a proven hardwood floor refinisher vetted out, Chris ( in charge) was swayed differently.
Not every contractor is capable of rising to the challenge of hardwood floor refinishing. I cannot stress enough choosing a hardwood floor refinisher worth their salt is a slippery slope at best. Perhaps these are some suggestions you might consider while researching and proving a professional. Click here to read them and ask your prospective refinisher: A Deeper Dive Into Vetting a Hardwood Floor Refinisher Worth Their Salt
after a 30 day cure; the protective Ramboard™ will be removed, and their completed and fully cured floor will be uncovered…
With the work being done almost 30 days now, we are invited to their “Reveal,” for when the special protective Ramboard™ is removed from the floor, and it awaits being introduced as a finished, fully cured product. When this happens Chris has already pledged she wants to do a recorded video testimonial about her experience with us in fixing her floors. She wants everyone to know, and is proud to tell whomever will listen how we saved her floors and how amazingly gorgeous they are (remember she only ever hoped they might be a little better than what the sub-contractor did!)
Never in her wildest dreams did she expect to get the beautifully restored hardwood floors and railings we gave her!