I just moved into a new house. The builder did not do a great job
with the floors. There looks like small bubbles on the varnish and it
doesn't seem smooth. If I rented a buffer and ran that over the floor
would that smooth it out? If so, how does the buffer actually smooth
it out, does it wear it down or apply heat?
The builder owes you a decent floor. Talk to him about it. No reason
that you should have to finish his work for him. You may have to apply
a bit of legal pressure, so don't cave on this one. There may be other
shortcuts in the work, so be expecting other surprises.
OP- New, as in newly built, or just new to you? If newly built, I agree,
lean on the builder. If just new to you, sounds like a poor refinish
job. Very few builders site-finish floors on new construction, other
than on high-end custom homes. Major pain in the ass, since it basically
shuts the site down for several days to keep the dust down. That, and
factory finishes on hardwood floors (in my experience, anyway) are much
more durable. (Does anybody put hardwood in less than high-end customs
any more?) And as you found out, getting a good finish is a lot harder
than it looks.
I'd leave it alone, or call in a pro (or make the builder call one in).
Buffing alone will not do it- basically takes a sanding and a new
topcoat, and if there are major flaws close to the wood, they will still
be there. In most cases, the flaws are way more obvious to you than to
anyone else. After living there awhile, there will be all sorts of new
marks you make, and you won't even see them.
To answer some of the questions...
1. The house is newly built.
2. We moved in approximately 2 months ago.
3. The floors were finished on site.
When we were closing on the house, we complained about some scratches
on the varnish of the floor. The builder could not buff it out, so
they sanded it down and reapplied the varnish. This seemed like it
was rushed because this time there were bubbles. We were told we
could just buff them out and it wasn't a big deal. Now, two months
later, we feel like it needs to get done.
I'm not sure how cooperative the builder will be, but I might try that
Thank for all of your responses.
Buffer, not the recommended unit. Also note another who is quite correct
that once you touch it, the builder is no longer liable to fix it.
I have refinished 3 houses with wood floors. None were 'new'. One had a
mix of real wood planks (1 inch thick) and laminate 'tounge and groove'.
(the other 2 were older houses built pre-WWII with real planks).
You need to know what you have there. Without experience, you could be
thinking you have the real planks that are at least 1/2 inch thick and
normally are 1 or more inches thick in older homes. These, you sand down,
restain, and apply a top coat to. Thee will be a huge amount of dust and if
possible, you move out for the time when you do this.
Laminate is another animal. Pesky and thin. Often not much more than 1/4
inch. Looks actually fairly good and last longer than you would think with
care, but not for refinishing by the average neophyte. You can easily have
to replace it all if you use a sander. Now, a buffer with the type of pad
used for that sort of floor to 'strip wax' may work but you will have to
reseal it when done. It will take a bunch of runs to *gently* take it down
past the bubbles and is actually harder to so than sanding down fully to
bare wood on real planks then restaining and applyng whatever topcoat you
feel right (we just waxed it well).
New house, today, I bet you have laminate with an acrylic top that looks
show room pretty but the top coat of acrylic will wear off within 6 months
in all traffic areas.
Personally? If I had that here, I'd just let the bubbles wear out and wax
it well as it happens to retain the shine. In 6 more months, you wont be
able to tell the difference.
PS: Real Hardwood is used to make those laminate sorts too. I may be using
the wrong term but I mean the really thin stuff sold all over the place now.
Why should "we" buff it out?!
If it was no big deal why didn't "he" buff it out.
...because bubbles cannot be buffed out. It's air trapped between two
surfaces of the clear coat. Bubble wrap concept. Air bubbles in clear
coat are frequently caused by shaking it like regular paint before
applying. An absolute no-no! Cans of these types of clear coats will say
right on the can NOT to shake them. Always stir.
I haven't refinished floors, only wood furniture. When I have had small
bubbles, the solution was
to rub out with fine steel wool - after the finish has CURED - and apply
another coat. It can
be helpful to thin the final coat sparingly. As another has suggested,
this is an issue for the
builder, which I would present to the builder through a polite,
business-like letter. If you
mess with it yourself, you will not be able to go back to the builder.
Heat is definitely not
the answer - you could partially melt the finish and end up with a
gummy, rough surface. If
you use any abrasive, you might get all the way through the clear coat
and into the stain...not
for a newbie without thorough research.
In my experience, fine steel wool will dull the finish but that goes
away with application of
another coat. Do you know what finish was used? Good place to start is
by finding out
and checking the mfg. website for advice.
MikeL had written this in response to
We've been living the "cost" of having a bad builder for over 19 months
now. We live in Texas and had to get the Texas Residential Construction
Commission to come in and inspect our home. Over 100 "issues" later, the
builder finally is putting together an "offer of settlement".
I would strongly suggest that you look for trade organizations where you
live. If Texas, contact the TRCC. You can also call builders
Build owes you a new floor... not one that is substandard. As we had to
convince ourselves, we bought a new home, not one that was 100 years old
and might show its age. Make the builder accountable. If not, suspect
you will have major issues later and he won't come to fix... Our builder
thought paint was the answer for everything, to include structural
Good Luck > Make the builder accountable!!!
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No you recoat, since the minimum coats were put on in the first place,
probably not enough to last anyway recoating is best. I dont think
bubbles could be buffed out and actual buffing with the componds wiold
make the floor real thin and probably cost even more than a recoat.
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