I was recently referred in to a job where the customer had 1200 square feet of existing Bellawood hardwood flooring that was about 8 years old. This customer was not happy with the appearance of the floor, but he also wanted to add two new rooms, and then figure out what could be done about the appearance issue. The two new rooms amounted to an additional 600 square feet.
The Bellawood product was a 3/4 inch by 5 inch Brazilian Walnut random length plank with microbevels and a factory finish that was advertised as a “50 year” finish. The new version of the same product claims that it has a “100 year” finish. We do not ordinarily install flooring products homeowners have purchased elsewhere, but I made an exception in this case because I wanted to help this customer. He had been carrying my cell number in his phone for seven years, just waiting for the day he was ready to address this problem with the factory finish.
The problem this customer had with the Bellawood was the sheen. The factory finish is so shiny that sun glare is a problem. Also, in a busy household with bare feet on the floor, the surface looks like dirty glass most of the time. Another problem from my perspective was that the floor did not appear to be completely flat. This may have been due to underlying moisture conditions or maintenance issues, I don’t know for sure, but in looking across the floor in the light, it looked more like a laminate floor than a premium floor.
My first approach was to try to re-coat the old floor. My thought was that if we could coat the floor with a Satin Sheen, the appearance issues might be resolved, or at least could be minimized somewhat. I attempted a re-coat sample using the Basic Coatings TyCote protocol, followed by a two component waterborne polyurethane finish. I also sampled a thorough cleaning, followed by Zinsser “SealCoat”, and again the waterborne polyurethane. I was not satisfied with the finish adhesion with either of these methods.
I informed the owner that I would not be willing to risk re-coating the floors. After further discussion we decided to try sanding one room, to see what was involved in sanding and refinishing the floors. We chose to try it out on the newly laid floor with the “100 year” finish.
To see how we solved the problem of the factory finished floor see the second part of this article here next week. To be continued. . . .
To learn more about what we can do for your hardwood floors, see refinishing hardwood floors.