Help me with hardwood floor restoration please


Hi. I recently hired a contractor to restore badly worn floors in a 110-year-old Victorian I was highly unsatisfied with the job and now we are battling it out. I learned from talking with a teenager he hired to restore my hardwood floors that the contractor rented him an orbital sander. They did not ever use a drum sander.
Help me if I'm wrong. I would think a drum sander should have been used. The floor oak floorboards from 1895 were cupped in the middle, and had many stains and imperfections. The stains and imperfections are still there. The contractor claims he used all the necessary tools and that my floor is simply beyond any further repair.
My question in a nutshell: should he have used a drum sander in restoring my hardwood floor?
Thank you for any replies. STeve
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I can't see your floor so I can't give a definitive answer. The drum sander takes off a lot of material fast. It can ruin floors if not used properly. Many refinishers use ROS sanders as they can do a very good job and are less aggressive than a drum sander, can do edges better. .
If the marring is deep, it would take a LOT of sanding to fix them and take out any cupping. It could ruin the floors completely also, if take down too far. How far is the cupping if a straight edge is put across the floor? How deep are the marks? How thick is the floor?
Sorry that I can't be of more help, but sometimes you have to see the situation. The fact that a drum sander was not used does not mean he did it wrong though, not does it mean that he did it right in your case. Talk to a pro that works on floors and get his opinion rather than a kid working for a general contractor.
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No one here can answer your question. It really is a matter of how much floor material is left above the tongues. The proper tool is, as you suggest, a drum type floor sander in the hands of an extremely skilled operator. No novice can do an adequate job on a problem floor. The only people who should touch the floor are professional hard wood floor people. There is a distinct chance that there is not enough wood left for another sanding which leads into replacement, still a job for a hardwood flooring company.
Your guy and his method sound like someone trying to clean up a floor that is in pretty good shape to give it another coat of varnish and/or wax.
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wrote:

No. It's the results that count.
Drum sanders are faster, but orbitals can do the job if operated properly. The typical orbital will take about twice as long at 20 & 36 grit as the drum machine, higher grits approach similar work times.
I don't sand floors for a living, so I usually rent 12x18" orbitals when I'm doing a floor. The orbital is almost goof proof, drums can make waves when used by those who don't use one every day. The floors I've sanded were bid by the job, so I went the safe route, spending the extra time doing the job right, rather than spending the extra time fixing errors.
If the results aren't satisfactory to you, SAY SO. Getting into which tool should have been used will have you shooting yourself in the foot in the long run. At no time should a customer tell a contractor WHICH TOOL TO USE, as the job is contracted to meet and end, no?
Barry
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Mr Gibbs wrote:

I'm not a pro, but I have refinished all of my own oak floors in my own home and few investment properties (It's cheaper to have durable wood floors than replace carpet). The drum sander can dig an irreparable hole in your floor in a heartbeat, so you have to keep it moving at a steady speed. If the laborer had never used one, the contractor probably did you a backhanded favor. A wide drum sander is the right tool for leveling out minor cupping, but it removes material pretty fast. When a floor is cupped badly, you should consider replacing it. The cupping you see on the face of the plank has made the back of the plank convex, so it's contact with the subfloor won't be as good. It will be tougher to get the nails reset, and the cupping will work against the nails.
You don't mention what the thickness of your floor is, but if it's thick enough (probably is, based on its age), you might still be able to save it. There is a historic building in my city which was converted to a public place a long time ago. There was an article in the paper about how the contractor worked heroically to save wide oak plank floors, which had seen a number of floods before the levee system. I think he ended up ripping the wide plans to five inches them and then resanding them. The end result was almost as good and he met the goal of preserving as much of the original material as possible.
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