The Problem

When I was a contractor, I was asked to look at a factory-finished, hand-scraped wood floor for a potential buff and recoat.

What Happened

The flooring had been installed 12 years earlier. The clients provided photos that showed many visible surface scratches and wear patterns in the high-traffic areas. They asked if "buffing and recoating" was an option. Hand-scraped floors offer unique challenges when it comes to recoating, but I felt a visit to the home was still worth it.

The Inspection

When I entered the home, I immediately noticed the high-traffic areas had excessive wear patterns that had dulled the finish to a dusty matte sheen, which looked unsightly next to the areas that weren't as badly affected. The dark color of the floor and the vast amounts of natural lighting in some areas didn't help the situation, either. While taking a tour of the home with the clients, I observed many things that had contributed to the excessive wear and tear. There were no mats at any of the exterior entrances to the home, nor were there any inside. The clients had an entrance from an old and deteriorating pine deck that was contributing to the debris inside the home. Although the home was a fair size, most of the high-traffic areas were condensed because of the narrow width of hallways and access points to rooms throughout the home.

How to Fix the Floor

I would have been unsuccessful in abrading the floor evenly because of its texture, and I didn't want to risk sanding through pigment, revealing raw wood. I determined that a dustless chemical prep system was the only option for this floor. First, I rid the floor of any contamination with an intensive cleaning solution and textured scrubbing pad. Then I cleaned up the slurry, neutralized the floor with water and did a final clean with a wood floor cleaner. I then applied a two-component adhesion promoter/primer designed to chemically bond to the UV finish and the texture. The next day, I rolled a two-component waterborne finish and let it dry. An inspection the following day revealed that all of the visible wear patterns and surface scratches were no longer an eyesore.

In the Future

I advised my clients on proper floor care and maintenance items like the importance of walk-off mats, having floor protectors on furniture, regular sweeping/vacuuming, and consistent cleaning. Lastly, I handed them a cleaning kit from the finish manufacturer and thanked them for the business.

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Tito Boror is technical advisor at Charlotte, N.C.-based Loba-Wakol LLC.