I do a number of estimates for my floor business and I am always perplexed by the lack of information other floor companies are providing for the homeowner. Let me bring about a few real world points for people in order to dispel the myths surrounding the “bidding” process.
1) Two coats versus three coats versus coverage rate
Honestly this is a six versus one half dozen comparison. Your average floor finish has a recommended coverage rate for application. Some finishes have an optimal application range of 300 square feet per gallon where others are at 500. This has a big impact on the “mil thickness” (durability) of the finish. Three thin coats will actually be less durable than a quality two finish coat job. Cheap contractors stretch finish thin when applying it. Three coats sounds like a better thing, but is only a repeat visit and more work for the contractor if the coverage is less than adequate.
2) Resins and solids content
This is a real hidden point of discussion for some floor companies, particularly low priced companies and large outfits. Waterborne finishes have a protective resin suspended in water that is the “thing” that provides durability. The chemical composition of this resin has a tremendous impact on durability. Cheap floor finishes have weak resins and are “watery” with coverage rates near 600-700 square feet per gallon. They are lower in solids (the resins that provides durability).
3) Two component versus one component waterbased finish
One component floor finishes have minimal scuff and scratch resistance. They rely simply on oxygen to link the finish resins. Two component finishes rely upon a chemical crosslinker to “matricize” the finish resins and form a really tough scuff resistant floor. In talking with several finish chemists during NWFA schools, I have found that two component finishes fare almost twice as well in taber abrasion tests that test durability. For a perspective single component finishes can be about $25-50 per gallon, where a quality two component waterborne ranges from $80-110 per gallon.
CHEAP ONE COMPONENT FLOOR FINISH
DURABLE TWO COMPONENT FLOOR FINISH
Ask your contractor about these points. Why? Because if they don’t have an answer they are NOT a professional. They are a “guy with a sander” who can multiply a square foot price and use a tape measure. Please make a fair comparison when evaluating floor refinishing estimates. Otherwise you will be taken for a ride by a snake oil salesman and have a worn out floor in two years.