In the wake of a toughened economy, the number of desperate contractors has risen dramatically. The end result is that contractors are using very vague language to describe their process so that they appear to be offering more for less. Here are the top 3 red alerts for anyone considering a hardwood floor refinish:
“Oil finishes”– There are two common finishes that are lumped together as “oil” finishes, oil-modified polyurethane or conversion varnishes. Oil modified polyurethane (poly) typically costs 60% less than a conversion varnish or true “Swedish” finish (Made by Glitsa or Synteko). Polyurethane generally gets worn through about 2-3 times faster than a quality conversion varnish because it is considerably lower in solids (the stuff that provides durability). This price difference is how a company can refinish your floors for $1.00/sq foot less than other companies and say they’re doing an “oil” finish without distinguishing the type of finish.
“Waterbase”– Not all waterbased floor finishes are equal. As a general rule, if the finish isn’t a two component waterbased finish, then you’re pretty much getting a very inferior finish. I wrote a lot about that in a previous blog.
Two coats versus three coats– This is funny because it’s the wrong number to really consider. Film build thickness is the key to durability and three thin finish coats actually has less film build than a high build two coat system. Rollers and brushes apply finish much heavier than trim pads and T-bars.
PLEASE don’t get sold on the wrong buzz word phrases and not ask the appropriate questions. Unless you like moving your furniture every three years, I encourage you to become a more meticulous consumer.
I would love to hear from anyone about their stories or observations from the field.