Refinishing FAQ… What should I expect?

Is it Dusty?

Yes and no. Certainly the rooms under renovation will acquire dust and will need to be blown clear of dust following the preparations stages, but your kitchen and other rooms of the home that are not being refinished can be made entirely dust free with the use of fully sealed entry ways (thin plastic) and careful placement of venting fans aimed toward the home’s exterior. When everything is set up correctly, I should see the thin plastic barriers get drawn slightly into the interior space being refinished. This lets me know that there is a net positive air flow into the space from the other rooms and out of the space to the outdoors. The same arrangement works equally well for exhausting the strong smell from volatile organic compounds found in most polyurethanes and stains.imag0001

Is a dust-free vacuum system as important as some contractors say?

I don’t think so. But I must disclaim that I have certainly considered investing the $5000 that is necessary to purchase such a high flow HEPA vacuum system. Certainly some companies provide expensive dust free vacuum systems and claim complete dust removal even though it is really 99.3% effective. Even one hose slipping out of place can put enough dust into unsealed rooms that renders a dust-free vacuum system useless. These systems, therefore, are not a substitute for the use of plastic seals and continuously running fans. The reason is that while the expensive cyclonic vacuum systems can eliminate 99.3% of airborne dust, this is still not sufficient. Take for example refinishing project of 1000 square feet – it will yield approximately 30-50 pounds of wood dust which means that even for a 99.3% dust removal vacuum, you can expect that between 5 and 8 ounces (1 or 2 full handfuls) of dust will get though. This will certainly put a fine layer of dust anywhere that is not protect by a dust barrier. I chose not to buy the vacuum and instead rely on my sander’s built-in vacuum together with plastic seals. This allows me to pass some savings on to the customer.

Do I need to move my furniture prior to the refinishing?

Yup… The floor needs to be cleared entirely for the project to begin. If you can’t move it yourself or can’t find anyone to help, then certainly don’t hesitate to ask for me for help. I only ask that small expensive items like glassware in a credenza be removed by the customer.

Do I need to remove the shoe molding (corner round)?

No, I do that as part of my overall price. I reinstall it afterwards.

How may days does it all take?

Unless the wood is in bad condition, figure about a week in most cases. It takes me about 1 day to prepare every 500 square feet of hardwood. After that, it will take 3 days to apply and allow drying time for polyurethane and four days if you choose to stain. Following job completion, two more full days will be required to allow the polyurethane seal to cure before moving furniture back in place.

Can I walk on the floor during the course of the work?

Certainly. I only ask that you remain off of the floor for 5-6 hours following a polyurethane or stain application. Once the floor is dry to the touch and not sticky, you may walk on it in socks only.

What if the polyurethane is still wet?

I can schedule polyurethane applications for the morning period so that it will be dry by the time you return from work or other activities.