My main concern was lack of access to parts of the house while the
finish cured, where to put everything, and keeping cats out of the
finish. Sanding is a mess, but no more than some of the other work
I've already done. This is a multi-story house with one stairway and
one way through on each floor.
If this were a new or unoccupied home, I'd choose finished in place
floors in a heartbeat. The floors are going to run from one room into
others, so all of it would need to be finished at once. Prefinished
material would allow me to move furniture from one room to the other
as I lay the planks.
Is my assumption that all adjoining rooms need to be finished at the
same time correct? If not, things change.
When we (the men of the clan) did my dad's house, We threw out my mom for
the weekend. It, too was a two-story with one staircase. The bedrooms were
carpeted, but the main trafficway of the house (dinning
room-livingroom-staircase-hall) were to be refinished.
We plasticed off the bedrooms and did all sanding and the first coat of poly
in a day. At night, we retired to bedrooms via ladders and windows :-) In
the morning, we could walk on the floors in socks.
We did the whole thing in a 3-day weekend.
Get some buddies and ship out the family for a few days.
I've recently installed a pre-fin 'brazilian' maple floor in my living
room. I would have to say that yes, the pre-fin is very nice to
install, and yes, it looks pre-finished. Not a bad thing, but
definitely site-finished has the smooth appeal to it. Not all pre-fin
floors have the micro-bevel, but mine does. As far as refinishing
goes, the floor is just as thick (3/4 solid maple), so it should be
able to be refinished just as many times. I would assume after
refinishing some day, I will have the same look as the site-finished
I've heard that the pre-fin floors are supposed to have a more
durable finish, but I have found the opposite on my floor. The finish
is actually quite easy to scratch, and I already have a couple
scratches. As opposed to my oak floor which we beat the hell out of
and it still looks pretty good. Maybe I just got flooring with cheap
All in all, I am happy with it. Its hard to say whether it looks
'DIYer-like' or not, but either way, it looks 3 times better than
carpeting! Also, I installed in on a 45-degree angle, so that gives it
a really catchy look.
This is my first try at posting. I've been in the wood flooring
business for over 30 years. I now teach wood floors. Here are some
Pros-you don't have to move all the furniture out. Just move all
the furniture to one side of the room, install up to it, move the
furniture onto the installed flooring and keep on installing. This is
really a consideration if you have large furniture like pianos,
hutches or china cabinets.
If you keep some of the flooring left over at the end of the job
you can replace a board without worrying about the color, sheen, or
height matching. These are problems with on site finished wood.
Cons- More careful with installing. Drop a hammer or nailer and
you have a damaged floor. This means the installation process is
slower. You also need to inspect each piece before installing it.
Hint: fold the boxes flat to protect the floor as you work on it.
Pros- You can do inlays, borders, and be much more creative with
unfinished wood. See http://woodfloorist.com/1/borders2.html and
http://woodfloorist.com/1/goldfish.html for some ideas. Faster to
install as you can fix minor damage in the finishing process.
Cons- Time is the major problem here. What do you do with the
family while you are refinishing? When McDonald's knows you by your
first name you know you have been eating out too much during the
process. I have done jobs where access is a problem and I have
finished six boards, skipped six boards, done six boards so you can
hopscotch to the bedrooms but it can make the process longer.
At first they are stiff and often uncooperative but after a few
wacks with my nailing mallet they learn really fast who's the boss and
straighten out. ?:)
On 5 Dec 2003 01:01:26 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@WoodFloorist.com (Franklyn)
Wow - that's nice work Franklyn. Do people typically do both
installation as well as finishing, or is it more common to specialize
in one area or another? I would guess, given the level of detail on
the above pics, that you probably do both!
I do both equally well. I learned the trade on gym floors in
upstate NY. I literally have acres of experience.
Many contractors only know how to install prefinished. Home Depot
and Lowe's for example, only will install pre-finished hardwood. (Go
ahead and ask them if they install unfinished hardwood) They both sell
unfinished but won't install it because they don't allow their
installers to sand and finish. That means they can't finish the job.
I think it's a liability issue for them that they don't want to get
into. Personally I think that's it's a smart move on their part both
legally and profit-wise. Why sell the wood and give the money for
refinishing to the installer when you can sell the finishing along
with the product in the prefinished wood?
On the other hand there are companies that only sand and refinish
existing floors. They specialise in remodeling older homes and rarely
see a new floor. This cuts the tools they need in half as they don't
need all the installation tools.
There are companies that have specialty crews. One crew just
installs. The sanding crew follows them and they move onto the next
house to install. A finishing crew follows the sanding crew. When I
first started I was on an installing crew and never saw a sander or
the finished product. This is a common arrangement when you are
working on tract built homes.
Then there are companies where the flooring mechanics can do it
all. I find this the best as you never get bored.
I have started doing it my own way. I find people who want
install, sand and/or refinish their own wood floors. They want a
little professional guidance but want to learn a little by
participating too. I like this arrangement because I get to see the
work thru the eyes of someone who has never done it before. They
save some money and have a better appreciation for the completed
project. The teacher/temporary apprentice relationship is a lot
different than the contractor/customer relationship.
Of course I get into inlays, borders and fancy floors and I teach
newbies how to do it all. I also specialise in talking too much.
People get the idea real fast that I enjoy what I do. I hope this
isn't too long a post.
This is where you need to read the instructions. Every prefinished
floor that I have ever installed has a " The installer is the final
inspector and is responsible for inspecting the wood before installing
This used to really irritate me. Here some Union carpenter in some
factory is not only taking the refinishing part of the work away from
me but I have to be responsible if he messes up. I'm over it now.
Yeah... I read the same thing on some engineered maple flooring that I was
putting down a couple of years ago. I figured that it meant there might be
a possible finish problem. With 6 boxes of flooring for a small bathroom, I
ran across 2 pieces that actually had some bare wood exposed. I wondered
why the wood did not shine in that spot. It was a shame that I did not have
enough problem pieces to make up a box that I could return..
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