I am writing this because I am sick of dealing with the effects of working for stupid homeowners. In the following post, you will find a list of things to expect/do when you are paying to have someone do something that has to do with hardwood flooring. I give you: A Homeowners Guide to not Being Retarted. I will try to add humor, so I don’t break down and cry while writing it.
There are 2 basic categories of hardwood flooring work (when dealing with real wood): Install, and Refinish. Each of those have two categories as well.
We’ll start with installation.
The first category in installation is Pre-finished Installation.
Pre-finished means that all the boards are sanded and finished before they get to your house. This is good because you don’t have to deal with the dust of sanding, or the smell of finishing, and it doesn’t take as long. The finish is also as smooth as glass since it is done in a factory under perfect conditions. The basic drawback is that there’s not as much you can do with it. You CAN’T do flush-mount anything, and borders are out of the question. In general, you get a basic wood floor, with no fancy anything. Also, when you look at it, you can clearly see every seam between boards. This is because the edges are “bevelled,” or sanded at an angle around the edges. This is to make sure that there are no sharp edges if the boards don’t match up properly (since you don’t sand a prefinished floor).
Summary: On a prefinished floor, expect visible and feelable seams, and no fancy stuff.
Next is an Install, Sand and Finish or Site finished floor.
Basically enything is possible with this. You can do any kind of fancy inlaid borders, or special transitions, or flush-mount vents. Since the whole floor is sanded after it’s installed, it all ends up being smooth (as in no feelable seams or uneven boards). It is a lot easier for the installer to get a proffesional-looking result with a site finished floor.
The downsides all come with sanding and finishing…
IMPORTANT NOTE: If there is sanding done in your house, there will be dust… everywhere. Workers can tape the room off, use “dustless” sanding machines with vacuums attached, etc, but there will still be dust, and it will still get everywhere. Now you know.
The first category in refinishing is “Going down to wood” or a Complete Refinish.
This is the kind of job where most homeowners are idiots. First of all, see the above note about sanding. You’re gonna have to dust your entire house after this is done… deal with it. The best workers will leave only a small film of fine dust, but it will still be there.
The part I’m gonna spend the most time on is the finish, because homowners are pretty retarted when it comes to what to expect in this area. First off: It’s a freaking FLOOR! It’s not a peice of furniture and will not have a furniture finish. There will be little bumps all over, caused by dust in the air or bubbles. These go away! After about a month of walking on your floor, all those tiny bumps and bubbles will get worn off, giving you a very smooth floor.
Hairs… Hairs are a touchy subject. More often than not, hairs are in your finish ’cause you have a DOG that’s SHEDDING. The finish takes like 8 hours to dry on the surface, so that’s 8 hours for whatever is in the air to find its way to the floor. This is why site finished floors are not perfect. One thing that can help in this area is to not be like Holly. Holly is a retarted homeowner. Her name has not been changed because she is not innocent. Her floor was refinished 4 times and she still wasn’t happy with it. We were the last ones to do it. After we finished the second coat (out of three), we closed up everything (doors, windows, etc) to minimize air movement. We also turned off the furnace so the blower wouldn’t kick on. So Holly comes home, smells the powerfull and intoxicating smell of eurethene (another drawback) and decides to open all the doors and windows to air the place out. Stupid, stupid Holly. Then she whined about all the dust and DOG HAIRS that were in the finish. No KIDDING there’s gonna be dust and dog hairs! You openned all the windows before it was dry, and your dog is shedding! Some people just aren’t smart enough to handle having a real hardwood floor. If you’re one of them, stick to carpet and linoleum… it’s hard to screw those up.
My last topic for the day is the Maintenance Coat.
This is more preventive than corrective. This only takes out small surface scratches and helps to prolong the life of your finish. It’s much cheaper than a complete refinish, so sometimes, it’s the best route. Basically, the workers will do a light sanding (which still, by the way, gets dust everywhere), and put one coat of eurethene on. That’s it. Quick and simple, right? HAH. Not if you’re retarted.
We just got done doing a maintenance coat for some retarted homeowners. Really, with such a job, you have one responsibility as a homeowner: Clean the stinkin floor. If you don’t, there are three possibilities:
- You get lucky, and the sander takes off all the stuff that’s on the floor. This is rare because they’re not sanding down to the wood… just a light sanding on the surface. So that doesn’t usually take out things like spilled, dried apple juice.
- You get lucky again, and the workers clean the floor for you. This does have it’s downside, as the workers will be mad, and it will take longer, and they might charge you for it. And beleive me, they have every right to charge you for it.
- The workers just do what you paid them to do. This is bad for you. Because now all the stuff that was stuck to, or drawn on the floor is now under a coat of poly-eurethene. That means your floor will be dirty all the time until you get a complete refinish done. You can’t clean stuff that’s under the finish. Basically all the dirty spots in your floor are immortalized. Fun, right?
Well, that’s about all I have for right now. There are a lot of other ways to be a retarted homeowner. If you want to avoid them, then ask the workers before you do ANYTHING that could possibly affect the floor, the sun that shines on the floor, or the air above the floor. It’s much better to be an annoying homeowner that asks too many questions than a retarted homeowner that screws up their own floor and wonders why the workers refuse to come back and fix it. Oh, and don’t refuse to pay them just ’cause you’re retarted… there are better ways to illegally save money.