The Problem

I was called because there were issues with an inconsistent gloss level in the flooring for a large high-rise project.

What Happened

More than 100,000 square feet of prefinished engineered wood flooring (in just one color) was specified for this entire project, which was in a very high-end high-rise in Midtown Manhattan. The wide-width planks (3/4-by-8-inch), produced of premium white oak, were installed throughout every unit in the prestigious building.

Because the inventory had sustained water damage from typical construction calamities, including one that occured during floor leveling, the contractors had to "dip into" the extra inventory that had been ordered for the building. But even after doing that, still more wood needed to be ordered so that installation could be completed throughout all of the apartments.

The original gloss level of the engineered flooring was a 10 on a glossmeter. After the additional flooring had been installed, it was noticed that it had a significantly higher gloss level than the flooring from the original order.

The Inspection

Inspectors for this flooring issue included officials from the manufacturer, dealer, and sundries (installation systems) companies. There were many reasons for this all-inclusive meeting, a major one being that to replace the originally installed wood flooring would have been highly cost-prohibitive. (Adding to that was the fact that due to New York's Building Sound Codes for multi-family high-rises, the flooring had been installed over 10-mm-thick rubber sound barrier material.) All of the parties at the inspection agreed that the gloss levels were unacceptably inconsistent.

How to Fix the Floor

After the final inspecting, planning and negotiating, the floors were screened and recoated in all affected apartments, and the results were spectacular. Because recoating prefinished wood flooring voids any warranty on a new prefinished floor, in this case, the contractor created a new warranty to supersede the manufacturer's warranty.

In the Future

Things get much more complicated (and expensive) if problems are noticed after flooring is installed. Always check flooring carefully before installation to be sure there aren't any potential issues.

See more on this topic: Recoating & Refinishing

Sean Connolly is regional vice president of sales at Mansfield, Mass.-based The Belknap White Group.