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Question For Hardwood Refinishers

 
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:02 PM   #1
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Question For Hardwood Refinishers


We have been performing a whole house remodel, owner is not living on location at the moment, plaster replaced with sheetrock, electrical upgraded, plumbing upgraded, new trim, the works. We specifically waited to do the floors last so that we could treat the house like a workshop until the final stages. So now we've completed everything except for punch out, and the hardwood guys came in to sand all the wood floors and refinish them.

We had visited midway through the job because the homeowner had complained that they'd damaged some of the trim and hadn't removed an obvious patch (4 board seams all aligned) that they'd previously discussed replacing. When we got there, we were pretty upset to see brooms and scrapers leaning against painted walls and several toolboxes set on our freshly painted bay window seat too. The homeowner even saw cigarette ashes on the floor one evening during the sanding process, meaning that one of these guys actually smoked in his house...

The homeowner had gone with these guys because they were 2000 less than the sub we recommended, and pleaded with us to step in and set them straight. Honestly, if he hadn't given us about 15 jobs in the past (real estate agent) we would've told him that we can't be responsible for them, but we're too nice for our own good. Needless to say we had a long "discussion" with this crew about the standards of this job. We told them that our work is high end and that our clients expect people to respect their homes, and that also we'd be back charging for any damage they'd done to the home. They spouted off some crap about having an A+ BBB rating and pretty much avoided acknowledging that they'd been treating this finished home like a shed in their own backyard. Simply put, they're a bulk rate crew trying to get in and get out.

Anyways, it's a few days later, and I walked in to measure up for base shoe. Right off the bat I was a little concerned to see that there was stain and poly on the door jambs that we'd just finished painting (about 1/8" smears, pretty noticeable), and there were scuff marks on the new wall paint as well as sanding dust covering the walls (I would've expected them to wipe them down.) In my mind, anything that's going to take off the stain and poly from the paint will dull the sheen at the very least, and I couldn't help but wonder, why didn't they just tape off the jambs?

My question is, are these acceptable practices for floor refinishing, or would I be justified in recommending that the homeowner withhold a portion of their payment until we complete a back charge assessment to repaint and clean their mess?
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:48 PM   #2
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Re: Question For Hardwood Refinishers


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My question is, are these acceptable practices for floor refinishing, or would I be justified in recommending that the homeowner withhold a portion of their payment until we complete a back charge assessment to repaint and clean their mess?
ANYTHING that causes damage to another portion of the house is not acceptable, regardless of trade/profession. If this doesnt make sense to them, explain that when the painters return to fix the paint, if they damage the floor, the flooring crew will be expected to return and fix the damage at no cost.

As far as asking the homeowner to withold a portion of payment, you can try. Thats up to the homeowner, as well as the damages, since it wasnt your subs in there doing the floor.

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Old 01-17-2011, 05:09 PM   #3
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Re: Question For Hardwood Refinishers


Just like Ed said disrespecting other trades is taboo anywhere. From a flooring perspective, I use 12" brown painters mask around the entire perimeter on a stain job. Stain is really thin and has a way of getting everywhere. If I have a boo boo then I let the boss (GC or HO) know about it and I cross my fingers that they were going to do some touch up anyway. I still consider it my resposibility.
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:14 PM   #4
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Re: Question For Hardwood Refinishers


In my opinion, you should have waited to put up the baseboards. However, this should have been discussed. If removing and reinstalling the trim was not included in the bid, then you can't expect them to do it. Even if they would have removed the trim it would still need touched up.
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Old 01-25-2011, 12:07 AM   #5
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Re: Question For Hardwood Refinishers


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In my opinion, you should have waited to put up the baseboards. However, this should have been discussed. If removing and reinstalling the trim was not included in the bid, then you can't expect them to do it. Even if they would have removed the trim it would still need touched up.

We haven't put the shoe on yet, so I'm not concerned about the stain on the base. What I am concerned with are the machine marks about 3" up on all of the base, and the stain on the door jambs. A little blue tape on the jambs would've solved that, and some care with the sanders would've stopped from scuffing the base every 3' (not an exaggeration.) In addition, there were some very visible swirl marks from the sander on the stairs. Also -you'll love this- there was wood filler spattered on the base, wall, crown (!) and the ceiling (!!). These guys were hacks, straight up.

Update: The flooring guy got in an argument with the HO about getting paid. The HO (rightfully) withheld some money to cover our costs of touching up their work. The flooring guy's wife showed up, and wasn't mad at the HO, but at her husband because money was withheld again for their shoddy work.
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Old 01-25-2011, 12:44 AM   #6
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Re: Question For Hardwood Refinishers


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We haven't put the shoe on yet, so I'm not concerned about the stain on the base. What I am concerned with are the machine marks about 3" up on all of the base, and the stain on the door jambs. A little blue tape on the jambs would've solved that, and some care with the sanders would've stopped from scuffing the base every 3' (not an exaggeration.) In addition, there were some very visible swirl marks from the sander on the stairs. Also -you'll love this- there was wood filler spattered on the base, wall, crown (!) and the ceiling (!!). These guys were hacks, straight up.

Update: The flooring guy got in an argument with the HO about getting paid. The HO (rightfully) withheld some money to cover our costs of touching up their work. The flooring guy's wife showed up, and wasn't mad at the HO, but at her husband because money was withheld again for their shoddy work.
Some baseboard touch up is to be expected, but it sounds like it may be excessive. Hopefully everything works out ok for you.
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Old 01-25-2011, 07:54 AM   #7
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Re: Question For Hardwood Refinishers


There is so much wrong with that first post it's not funny but I don't have time to go into it right now.

The bottom line is yes those guys are hacks plain and simple. The other think that glares out is the fact this is a long term client of yours who ignored your reccomendation for a sub and now wants you to help put out the fire. I don't know the particulars of the job but $2000 is a big price break for an average sized job. Now would be an ideal time to educate the client that you get what you pay for. In this economy there are tons of commercial and new construction crews trying to jump into residential remodel. It is a whole different world that quite frankly they aren't prepared for and this is usually the end result.
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Old 01-25-2011, 08:41 AM   #8
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Re: Question For Hardwood Refinishers


I don't see the problem...you go to low-tender and then complain about a bit of stain and dust?

Buy a paint brush and a swiffer and charge the client 2gs to clean it up.
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Old 01-26-2011, 10:17 PM   #9
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Re: Question For Hardwood Refinishers


I would have asked them to clean up their mess, before payment, and then pay them what they're owed.

Seems like gunning for the back charge is a way for you to put more $ in your pocket.
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Old 01-27-2011, 01:02 AM   #10
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Re: Question For Hardwood Refinishers


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I would have asked them to clean up their mess, before payment, and then pay them what they're owed.

Seems like gunning for the back charge is a way for you to put more $ in your pocket.
Homeowner withheld $500 to pay to us for the cleanup and touchup, which is going to help a bit, but we'd have rather just been making progress. Nothing kills my motivation like going back and redoing something, and frankly, those days are the most miserable for me. Oh well :f
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Old 01-27-2011, 05:12 PM   #11
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Re: Question For Hardwood Refinishers


Is it really a common practice for floor guys to come in after paint? You said you expected them to wipe down all the freshly painted walls... How does that really look?

I believe painters should be the last ones in... Let 'em come for a prime first if they want, but finish coats should be done after everyone else is gone, in my opinion.

A good painter knows how to keep his paint off a recently finished floor.
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Old 01-27-2011, 08:20 PM   #12
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Re: Question For Hardwood Refinishers


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Is it really a common practice for floor guys to come in after paint? You said you expected them to wipe down all the freshly painted walls... How does that really look?

I believe painters should be the last ones in... Let 'em come for a prime first if they want, but finish coats should be done after everyone else is gone, in my opinion.

A good painter knows how to keep his paint off a recently finished floor.
Firstly, we wanted minimal traffic on the new floors, as caulking, filling and painting the inside of this house takes at least 150 man hours. Secondly, how is that any excuse for leaving a mess for the other trades or the HO for that matter? Should a plumber or an electrician just leave cuttings strewn across the floor? How about a drywaller not cleaning up their dust after sanding? How about a carpenter leaving all their sawdust on the floor? Should the painters really have to put up with a bunch of sawdust all over the walls from another trade, or are they just responsible for all cleanup?
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Old 01-27-2011, 10:48 PM   #13
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Re: Question For Hardwood Refinishers


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Firstly, we wanted minimal traffic on the new floors, as caulking, filling and painting the inside of this house takes at least 150 man hours. Secondly, how is that any excuse for leaving a mess for the other trades or the HO for that matter? Should a plumber or an electrician just leave cuttings strewn across the floor? How about a drywaller not cleaning up their dust after sanding? How about a carpenter leaving all their sawdust on the floor? Should the painters really have to put up with a bunch of sawdust all over the walls from another trade, or are they just responsible for all cleanup?
Ha haha!! I had always ended up cleaning the s**t of others because i gotta do the floors and all goes right on it, specially electricians, no offense but they are the worse. You show up, the place is mess, no choice but to clean in order to keep up with schedule, lots of lost time otherwise,waiting the cleaning guy show up etc.Then,I place a simple rule but hard to imply: I leave the jobsite exactly how I found. Full of garbage,collect them and when I finish, place cardboards and place the garbage exactly where I found, doing that also takes time!Never win!
But those days are long gone,last 9-10 years I only for homeowners and selected builders who I make deal that I expect the work area clean!
I rarely see a construction site where the trades leave it clean, unless builder has full time clean up guy. No dedicated personnel, not me,sorry! Since I moved to Tx, I rarely need cut a piece inside the house! Today was sunny, 70 degrees!
All door jambs, fireplace stone/tile,all adjoining floor materials should be taped like painting car.Fireplace mantels, bookcases, kitchen cabinets,chandeliers, return air outlets, should be covered with plastic and taped.All walkway leading to wood floor should be covered with durable boards.All base, window sills,interior door raised panels should be vacuumed or dust off before applying poly. ALL THESE EXTRA WORK IS NOT FREE! Pay fair or do not expect them. (This goes to HO)
Even I do all those above, in my contract the below is written and agreed by client:
8. PURCHASER is aware that cutting during installation and sanding of the wood products will create fine dust in the air and sawdust. PURCHASER shall take such precautions as he/ she feels adequate to protect the surrounding area of such dust. SELLER SHALL NOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE RESULTING FROM THE DUST NOR SHALL RESPONSIBLE TO CLEAN UP SUCH DUST.

Last edited by astor; 01-27-2011 at 10:57 PM.
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Old 01-28-2011, 07:55 AM   #14
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Re: Question For Hardwood Refinishers


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Firstly, we wanted minimal traffic on the new floors, as caulking, filling and painting the inside of this house takes at least 150 man hours. Secondly, how is that any excuse for leaving a mess for the other trades or the HO for that matter? Should a plumber or an electrician just leave cuttings strewn across the floor? How about a drywaller not cleaning up their dust after sanding? How about a carpenter leaving all their sawdust on the floor? Should the painters really have to put up with a bunch of sawdust all over the walls from another trade, or are they just responsible for all cleanup?
Slow your roll.... wasnt picking on you... It was a serious question...

I would never expect the painter to clean up after the other trades... Sparky's need to clean up their clippings, and carpenters need to sweep up their sawdust.. It's common courtesy.

I just cant imagine wiping the sanding dust off every freshly painted wall. Unless you're paying a premium for a company with a true dustless system, then I think it's reasonable to expect some sanding dust clinging to the walls. Sure, insist the sanding guys wipe them down if you want, but do it before a final coat of pant.

Just my opinion.
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Old 01-28-2011, 09:21 AM   #15
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Re: Question For Hardwood Refinishers


I got tired of job sites being left a mess after me asking subs to clean up. So I sent them all a letter notifying them of my new policy and I post a sign at the main entry point and one elsewhere that state to clean up after yourself or I will be charging $50/hr to clean up and I tell them that I don't work fast....if I am doing the clean up and my phone rings...I am still on the clock. It has helped a lot.
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Old 01-28-2011, 06:45 PM   #16
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Re: Question For Hardwood Refinishers


I find this post ironic.I have been doing floors for a long time and ALWAYS have to clean other trades crap up and IM SICK OF IT! First off I have done floors where other trades have WALKED on my floors before they are DRY! Also like someone else posted painting should be done last and a good painter will cover the floor with luan. as for the wood filler sounds like they dropped the bucket or something splattered which they definitely should have cleaned. I always vacum sills trim doors etc. but never wiped down every wall in a house only if there was an extreme amount of dust which only hap;pens when you have a hole in your dust bag and usually from your edger. As for holding money back you should have told them to come clean their mess then they get paid. also some stain is expected. You also GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR! I charge a little more but NEVER HAVE been called in to fix anything. I charge more because I take my time and do the job to perfection every time.

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