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Question:

The flooring contractor and a Bruce rep. came out the other day. The Bruce guy poked around and was extremely quite. He told me that he couldn't tell me anything, but that he would go back and write a full report to Bruce headquarters and that I would hear something back in the next two weeks. I've also had a few floor guys come out and tell me there opinions and they all seem to agree that Bruce has some responsibility for the poor quality of a lot of this product but that more than 50% of the areas we are complaining about are due to the installers. To much air (or not enough) in the staple gun?

I can't remember exactly which it was. They say it's the staples that are causing the edge splintering and finish cracking. The guy who has the best reputation around here wants to sand and refinish it with a water based product called "Bona Tech Traffic". He is steering us in that direction becuase he feels it would be less disruptive to my household than ripping it all up and the baseboards, etc.. Is "Traffic" a product you're familiar with? Do you think fighting for a partial refund and refinishing would be a mistake? I look forward to your honest opinion.

Marc

Answer:



Dear Marc

I'm quite sure that you should go for a full refund, and replace the whole floor. If if is a low grade of wood, you will have no end of troubles. I installed a common #2 grade oak floor in order to save the customer some money. When I went back 6 years later there were far too many of the floor boards were showing cracks in the surface. In this case it involved about 5-6 boards. I learned my lesson then and never used this type of wood gain.You see there are internal voids in lower grade oak, and your floor will only get worse over time.

That said, I would not have the floor just re-sanded, although the Bona Kemi Traffic product is a very durable commercial type finish. My only objection is that is makes for a very pale looking floor. If you do choose to refinish the floor with that finish be sure you see a job of his that is at least 5 years old. Most if not all water based finishes age in an unexpected way. If this is a dark stained floor to begin with, you will have to re-stain the floor when you resand. And the water based finish may not look so hot on a darker surface.

And as to the staples, you would not be able to see the damage done by over-pressured staple gun. That's because the tongues would be cracked, and you can not see a tongue. It is hidden by the groove. The cracks at the surface were caused by the manufacturer using far too low a grade of wood. The cracked tongues will show up later as tilted and squeaky boards. They are not required to list grades of wood in prefinished floor according to their own trade association. The nation trade association of which Bruce belongs, states that because the wood is pre finished or stained, the grade cannot be determined, so they are exempt from the normal grade stamping that is on all my unfinished wood when I buy it.

Bruce can use any name they want like Natural to describe their wood, but there is nobody to oversee quality, except themselves. Talking about the fox-run hen house. So I would say stick it to Bruce, and have them issue you a full refund including about $2 per sq. ft. to remove and dispose of this substandard wood. And if you want come out even, the cost of accommodation. Only when consumers stand up for their rights will big companies learn their lessons and provide good products and good installation techniques.

Sorry to be such a rabble rouser, but that's my nature when I see shoddy work.

As always your Most humble servant, Joseph, the Wood Floor Doctor.

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