One of my primary objectives as a hardwood flooring contractor is to blog about my field in a very practical manner. In order to have a high value in my opinion, most hardwood flooring materials must be durable AND serviceable. If you purchased a new car and drove it for three years and it broke down, would you haul it away and buy a new one? In most cases the answer is no. You would take the car to a mechanic and pay for a repair and continue to drive the car. Then why would you purchase a floor that could be used only for a few years and then torn out and thrown away?
We recently were contacted to address a badly worn pre-finished hand-scraped floor. The house was located on the lake in Lake Oswego, OR and had seen a great deal of traffic. There were a couple of other hardwood flooring contractors who had talked with the customer as well. They all suggested that the only measure was to sand the flooring completely flat and finish the floor. The homeowner wanted to preserve the integrity of the flooring.
Our proposal was to re-handscrape the floor and hand-brush the finish on the floor. After an initial very light sanding with a machine, the remainder of the job was done the old-fashioned way using scrapers and sandpaper. As you can see in this photo there is a lot of remaining finish in difficult to access locations.
The end result of this story was that the homeowner received exactly what they wanted for their floor. There are two cautions that I must make in closing the blog.
1) Maintenance-It was evident to me upon seeing the floor initially that the first homeowner never groomed the nails of their dogs. $30 a month for pet grooming x 12 months a year = $360. A pretty cheap cost compared to the cost of the refinishing process.
2) Cost– This floor cost approximately twice the normal cost of a standard hardwood floor refinish. The labor of the project was tremendous and very detailed and reflected in the price. I would equate this floor to buying a nice Mercedes or Audi. They are beautiful cars, but the service for these cars is costly and necessary for ownership.
When you purchase a floor, besides appearance your second question should be how serviceable the floor is. The durability is a factor of your own care for the floor just as much as the finish.