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hardwood flooring question pre/unfinish

3917 Views 23 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Metro M & L
I have a job I am supposed to start next week. The customer has a prefinish maple hardwood floor in their kitchen. I am adding into their living/dinning room. My customer does not like the natural look and is leaning towards a rosewood stain. I'd hate to put a prefinish maple floor in the living/dinning room and then sand it. It would be much easier to just put a unfinished maple hardwood in. Since the kitchen is prefinished it has the beveled look. What do you guys normally do in this situation? The new hardwood will not be tied into the old hardwood.
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Ok I'll give this a shot because I have done this more than a few times.
The first rule is that an unfinished floor, when installed next to a prefinished floor will not match well. This is because of the beveled edge. You can explain it to the customer, but until they see it, they won't realize the difference.
Also, in my experience, sanding the bevel edge off is not as easy as it sounds. One room, not too bad, but 500 feet or more it is alot of grinding.
So for me, this job could go several ways, depending on the expectations and the budget, as well as the size of the areas, which was not mentioned.
If you want to match the prefinished kitchen, you need to install the same material in the other rooms, sand it all and stain it all. Then it will all be beveled.
If the customer doesn't mind the difference, install unfinished and then sand the whole thing.
I despise beveled edges, so if money were no object, I would pull out the kitchen and install a different wood, as staining large maple floors for some reason is tricky for me.
If you're talking about solid maple plank/strip: maybe I've been using the wrong brands, but in my experience solid wood isn't milled that carefully, in the expectation that it will be sanded after installation. I'd hate to bevel some flooring and then sand away the bevel in order to make the floor even to finish. Maybe one of the flooring gurus has more to say about it (might tell me to stop using crummy flooring).
Bob, a good flooring supplier can give you a heads up on brands that are milled correctly. I normally refuse to install box store unfinished as culling/sorting then sanding the junk just takes too long. Many flooring salespeople have almost zero training it seems.
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I hope that didn't come across funny. I just meant that when I call my wood supplier he knows what I want and will steer me the right way. I install it myself, as you do, so I want good material. My sanding partner of 15 years appreciates it too.
I see it happen all the time. The flooring business is full of poorly trained workers, and because they're paid by the foot, it's hurry hurry hurry, quality be damned.
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Why would they want to install pre finished HW flooring, then sand it and stain it to a different tone..... .:blink: makes no sense.....IMO ....

One note,
If your sanding the kitchen floor....try to find out what brand it is and the finish that was applied. If it's an aluminum oxide finish it is very,very tough and not easy to sand- your going to be there for a while.

My personal opinion about staining floors.......I don't think it is a good idea. If , or I should say when the floor gets scratched it is going to be difficult to repair it/ blend it in without it being noticeable....

I strongly urge clients that want HW flooring to go with natural wood and species selection according to the tone they are looking for. If the floor gets scratched or damaged it is a lot easier to repair and blend in and in most cases looks like the rest of the floor.

I would talk to your customers about getting something with the tone and color they are looking floor. However if they won't budge then go with unfinished and then stain it, I'm just not a big fan of doing it this way...


In my area, 10 years ago I would say staining accounted for about 10% of the floors i was putting in. Today it is probably 50. Lots of dark floors. They will show a deep scratch, but a floor can be touched up. I can get some pretty good results sometimes with just a set of sharpies. I save chunks from cabinet touch up kits, and have used melted crayons before too.
This is a job I did last year. Cabinet install and about 1400' Select Red oak 3 1/4", stained Minwax English Chestnut, 3 coats Lenmar oil. 14 flush vents. I think the only other floor that would look better here would be an american cherry, natural.


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