Questions to ask a wood floor refinishing company

Questions To Ask Before You Get Your Hardwood Floors Refinished

Not all wood refinishing companies are the same. Arm yourself with these essential questions to ask any hardwood floor refinishing company before hiring them to refinish your wood floors. It could save you grief and money.

  • How long have you been refinishing hardwood floors?  (should be several years)
  • What certifications do you have or the person/people doing the sanding? (certified sander with the NWFA)
  • Can I see pictures of your work? (do they have an on line portfolio, or supply pictures)
  • Can I call some clients of yours to talk with them about their whole hardwood floor refinishing experience? (some give permission)
  • Do you own your own sanding equipment? (or do they rent – ideally they own, ideally  if they have a Lagler – “Hummel”)
  • Do you use dustless equipment? (you want to witness ea pc of equipment being attached to vacuums)
  • Do you use a specialty sander named a “Trio” to sand my floors? (rarely do sanding co’s have, but a home run if they use this)
  • Will you provide me with your sanding schedule you will follow? (ask No of “cuts- starting with 36/50/80..then screen; the cheapy guys will do an aggressive rough cut, say 20, then screen; you want at least 3-5 passes- 1 sm room s.b. 1/2 day, 2 rms 1 day- from start to finish, about 1 day sanding, parts of 3-4 days, minimum)
  • Do you offer furniture grade/cabinetry grade sanding? (if they use the “trio” machine, you will get this finite sanding level)
  • Will you move my furniture? Do you remove or do you recommend I remove my wall décor? (some will, some won’t)
  • If moving things, will you take pictures so everything goes back where it came from? (rec’d- so the vibration does cause damage)
  • How many days will you be sanding my floors? (LR/DR/Foyer- 1-1/2 days sanding, LR/DR/Hall/St/Hall/4 BR older home- 4-5 days sanding, larger home easily 5-8 days, stairs alone(1 day or more), railing work (1 to 7+ days )
  • Do you follow industry standards or professional practices for re-finishing? Are you a member of the NWFA (National Wood Flooring Assoc.) (if they him n haul- you got your answer)
  • If I prefer, will you use a water based, non toxic low VOC system to refinish my floors? (listen for response- many won’t offer it)
  • How many days do you think the whole job will take? (1 room-1 long day, parts of 2 or 3)
  • Do you put plastic up and isolate the work area from the rest of my house? (do they go this extra step to respect your home)
  • Will I have access to areas I need to get in to? (if they use plastic, do they install zippers so I can get in to critical areas)
  • If you are re-finishing my kitchen will you put up plastic to protect my walls, counters, lights, decor, etc.?  (nice to further protect)
  • Do you use any filtration devices such as an air scrubber to assist with the dust control? (again, an extra measure that helps)
  • Do you block off my vents & ducts or insert filter material so the dust is trapped and not blown thru my house? (again this helps)
  • Do you vacuum my floors, trim, walls, etc, as you go? (this is common sense)
  • Do you tidy up your work area as you go?  Will you organize and keep things in an area and respect how you work in my house? (did they ask permission to set up a work area for their tools, supplies & trash)
  • If I have direct sun exposure in rooms do you cover the windows and doors so the floor will not bake off differently than the rest of the floor/floors you are refinishing? (ask this, if so they should be observing direct sun issues and making special arrangements)
  • Do you remove my quarter round trim, or baseboard trim? (this is a procedure they may not do, a short cut the cheapy guys avoid)
  • When you prep the floor will you remove all the staples? (nothing less than yes is acceptable)
  • Will you repair or replace any boards that need replacing? ( urine spots, plant water, water damage, splintered, other damages need replacing prior to refinishing; also, are they sourcing vintage wood for the repair?)
  • What about pet stain marks or dark water marks, do you bleach those? (a repair technique to save the damaged wood)
  • How do you prepare my corners? Do you use a sander or do you hand scrape them? (hand sanding will yield a more custom result)
  • Will you fill the gaps, nail holes, gouges and other voids before you stain and refinish my floors? (insist they do, ask to see the putty)
  • Will you allow me to inspect all the floors before and after the staining, but before the sealing and coating so I can approve that the stain is uniform and consistent to industry standards? (there should be no inconsistency in coloration from the edges to the main area of the floor)
  • Do you water pop the floor before applying the stain? (if they ask “what” you have your answer)
  • Do you have and use a hygrometer when working? (if they ask “what” you have your answer)
  • Do you take humidity readings in between coats to make sure my wood is dry enough for the next coat? (did they give you a look, laugh at the question, seem unaware or have some excuse- you have your answer)
  • What stain do you use? Are you using commercial grade stains? (the use of “Min Wax” may tip you off- that is homeowner grade stain, not commercial grade, and frankly takes much longer to cure; commercial grade dries much faster)
  • Will you show me choices of stain color on my floor for my approval, prior to applying the stain? And will you label each sample with the stain name and place the can by the sample so I am assured it is the stain I selected? (shows you the color on your floor)
  • Will you give me a choice of sheen options for the finish? (they should, also offering to can change it with the 2nd coat if you don’t like the sheen level of what was applied- up or down, meaning more or less gloss)
  • If I don’t like how the sheen looks can I have you change it if I want a different one? (again they should offer & tell you they do)
  • Where and how do you store the sawdust that the sanders collect? Is it safely kept away from my house, or dealt with so it does not catch on fire? (the refuse is combustible- should be kept safely away from your house, not in your front yard)
  • If my walls and or trim get marked from the machines or other procedures will you touch them up? (do they laugh, or will they)
  • If I want will you to replace, paint or upgrade my trim or transitions? (do they do anything with them at all?)
  • Can you replace my transitions, and if so, if needed, can you fabricate a custom transition for me? (some need custom fabricating)
  • Will they upgrade your HVAC vents- either drop in’s, which are wood, plastic or metal, and do they offer custom/flush ones)
  • If you are doing my stairs after taking the carpet off will you purchase and install the customary stair trim as part of the job? (may not even know what you are talking about; a piece that covers the edge from the riser, and the tread, the proper procedure)
  • If carpet was removed will they install quarter round or other trim to finish the job? (this is part of the job, they may have to purchase, which comes in solid wood or pre-primed composite; either stained or painted, cut, installed, puttied & caulked to compl)
  • If I request, will you paint my risers, stringers, balusters as part of the job? (staining or painting of such should be considered as part of the job of a quality re-finisher)
  • When doing my stair case will you also do my railings to match? (a lot of handwork many cheapy guys avoid like the plague)
  • When you reinstall my trim will you putty the nail holes and caulk for me? (finish work you want them to do)
  • Will you prime, stain or paint my trim, either before, or after you install it? (finish work they should offer)
  • If putting new trim in will you up-grade it with custom returns like my other company is proposing to do? (end caps- most won’t even know what you are talking about)
  • Do you give me a free wood cleaning kit with the refinishing job if I use you? (we give this to you, most won’t)
  • What happens if I find problems with the floor after the sanding? After the staining? After the coating? (what will they offer?)
  • What happens if I see color differences in the stain, along the edges, or big blotchy light areas in the stain? Do you correct those before coating when it is too late? Will you address them as needed, either repairing the small area, or re-sanding the floor if necessary? (if there are problems what will they offer- nothing short of fixing it is acceptable)

Do you have questions about these questions? We’re happy to answer, feel free to contact us. you are in the Princeton/Southeast NJ area and you need excellent quality hardwood floor refinishing, we’re the ones to call. Please reach out to us to schedule a free estimate. Call & Ask for Wendy 609.953.0472



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