Why Training Matters

Wendy’s Blog

Why Proper Hardwood Floor Finishing Training Matters

Entrusting your wood floors to unqualified hands will result in compromised results.

For example, untrained or inadequately trained people will not excel at sanding, which is crucial to excellent outcomes. Improper sanding will inevitably leave tell-tale signs on the “canvas.” Because it is so difficult to learn how to properly sand hardwood floors, this is not an easy DIY project at all. Nor is it easily tackled by those in the trades, even a seasoned carpenter. Although they might have the knowledge and understanding of the medium, they may not have experience running the equipment. Who knows if they are aware of the sanding schedule and have the knowledge to massage the floor while avoiding mishaps. 

Even better yet, it is preferred if the contractor owns their own equipment and maintains it, tweaks, tunes and balances it periodically.

The reason that it’s better if the contractor has their own equipment is because the sanders are hi-strung. They need to be leveled, balanced, cleaned and working perfectly. If a sander has to rent the machinery there is no guarantee that it is in good working order. Periodically if the sander is not mechanically familiar nor proficient, they should arrange for the machinery to be gone over by a supplier who works on the machinery.

For instance, the edger has to be leveled using two nickels and a dime.  And the drum sander wheels need to be ___________ so it won’t chatter or vibrate across the floor leaving marks_________.
Furthermore, quality outcomes depend on more than just training and hi functioning machinery, personality actually plays a role.

Taking it Even Further, Personality Actually Plays a Role.

Impatient type personalities, or those not having a fine attention to detail may try to rush the job.Refinishers who skip steps, eliminating the necessary grits from start to finish on purpose, and in between will compromise the results.

Some ignore the proven steps to achieve quality results because they are lazy and want to cheat the work. 

Following is an example of a classic deliberate scheme that inexpensive refinishers will do.They do it on purpose to undercut their competitors.They do it cheaper because they cut corners and often provide shoddy results In their desire to save time, and costs on materials. The flatness and smoothness of the floors will be compromised, and the results will be a less than professional job. Their work can often leave tell tale signs that they did half the job, and it shows.

Rushing Will Only Result in Compromised Results
Evidence of improper hardwood floor sanding

This image shows an example of a refinishing job done by a less than qualified person.  – This was a rush job because notoriously these clowns start with a 24 grit belt (the red sandpaper left by the sander on the client’s front entry.) First off it is debris and trash that should have been removed, but just left behind for the client. 

Quality refinishers don’t use a 24 grit belt, hardly at all. They start typically with a 36, 40 or 50 grit unless the floor is severly hammered. The 24 grit red sanding belt and the results upon seeing their finished product confirm this was a rip-off job (that we inherited and fixed)!


Hence their floors will be rougher, there may be differences in the color, weird marks, etc., all left as a finished product.

 When you get estimates, if one is much less, buyer beware! There are tricks and reasons for the differences. Again, the belts left awry on the front porch, and the plethora of gross mistakes inside stood out loud and clear that something was radically wrong! 

(To see how we fixed this job click here: Fixing A Botched Hardwood Floor Refinishing Job.)

Just compare the differences of the two pictures on the right. (Which by the way is a recent job, not the one I referred to above.

Now the upper floor was sanded, stained and finished by an untrained crew, not because they were deliberately trying to rip the client off. They were doing it simply because they were untrained. The results were an undersaded, traumatized, damaged floor that was also overstained and finished. Compare it to the second picture, where the same exact floor was sanded properly, stained properly and finished by a trained professional. A HUGE DIFFERENCE!

Horrible sanding and staining hardwood floor job
Although they meant well, they never should have attempted to refinish this hardwood floor
horrible sanding & refinishing job fixed in Yardley
There is no question about the comparison and professional results now that we fixed this badly executed job

Here are Other Things That Can Go Wrong in the Under-Qualified Hands.
These Pictures Tell the Story.

Here are some examples of what typically goes wrong when refinishing jobs are left in the hands of less than qualified refinishers.

In general, the machinery is heavy, vibrating machinery that takes a ‘certain touch’ to operate correctly. One wrong move, you can leave a mark. One hiccup you can leave a mark. Lean on one side, you can leave a mark.Go to slow or stop, well there are more marks:

What you are seeing are marks from different machines, and holding them wrong, or marks created when the machine is held stationary. They are textbook mistakes…

 Training is fast-tracked by classes conducted, onsite training, and one on one training.

At Sparkle Surface Care, we prioritize having the right people, the right equipment and on-going training to yield the best professional results possible. Here’s a little background on our training…

certifed onsite hardwood floor sanding training

Here is Bob, Certified Hardwood Flooring Instructor providing onsite training for our staff. Demonstrating exactly how to correctly sand floors using the drum sander (pictured here), and others, then watching and critiqueing our staff, Bob infuses the skillset to our technicians until they execute it. I 


But instead of getting the training in the field, Chris and our technicians spent full five days at a training school, covering all the beginning aspects of sanding and refinishing hardwood floors. .

He attended Vermont Natural Coatings’ Sanding and Refinishing Hardwood Floors Training

Lucky to be taught way back when by Bob Goldstein (pictured above), renowned third generation wood floor expert. He is an icon in the industry, and a valuable mentor. He was who taught Chris and our former team the five day courses they attended. It is a combination of demonstration by the instructor, and then each attendee is watched and critiqued from start to finish of the work. After a written exam, the candidate is able to be evaluated for certification. Bob evaluates the performance and he is in a position to sign off the attendee as a “certified sander.”

In addition to formal training, our technicians are constantly talking to other refinishers, and of late, referring to all kinds of training on YouTube. From do’s and dont’s, to researching all aspects about species, methods, equipment, coatings, problems, etc, the information is valuable. In fact, is a wealth of knowledge available in video format for this complex art we call hardwood floor refinishing. In fact, it is a costant learning process. So when you attend one of these schools typically it is the tip of the iceberg!

Our current refinisher, Marvin has had both time with Bob the instructor, and 10 years experience starting out with another refinishing company who does beautiful work. After years of that experiences he is proficient, and a craftsman who cares deeply about his work and the end product!

Tips For Selecting a Qualified Pro

You really need to do your homework in selecting a hardwood floor refinishing company.

Here are some tips you may find helpful to check out either on line, in person, from reviews or from what information they include on their website:

  • Make sure you look them up on line and vet out what services they offer.
  • They should be posting before and after pictures of their work that speak for themselves.
  • Check their reviews for the services you are asking them for.
  • Invest time on their website where it is likely you will learn about their credentials, experiences and accomplishments.
  • Pay attention to what they tell you about how they do their work.
  • Do they give clues as to their equipment, stains or systems of refinishing. (Perhaps you can vet out the professionalism in what is used to do the work and complete it. (For instance, we use Vermont Natural Coatings, a great company who produces hardwood floor finishes for professionals and DIY). I have included information about them on my website
  • Ask them if they work with different species of wood (there can be things unique to certain species which must be held into account
  • Perhaps you will be able to verify industry credentials, certifications and such
  • Not a bad idea to have them provide a list of names of clients, whose work might be similar to yours. With a client’s permission (for privacy reasons), ;you may ask to speak to them, or be provided a review about their particular job. (We have even had prospective clients visit a job to see the work for themselves.)

Choosing a company who is experienced, credentialed and vetted is important so you don’t get a screwed up floor job. We think we do a great job of communicating our professionalism and integrity, online, on the phone and in person. For a free estimate Call 609.953.0472 or CONTACT US online.