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Refinishing stone floors pt2: no polish in the corners and edges

A Fox
February 18, 2019

Some might remember my post from October when we paid a company to make a real mess of our marble and granite floors. We are on our second try and experiencing another issue. I am running this by the John Bridge Tile forum as well, but responses are sometimes slow there. Are main questions: are we expecting too much? Is this the best the floor will look? What could be done differently?

We brought in another local stone refinisher. He was knowledgeable, mirrored some of the experts from the tile forum. He thought our floors would require a decent amount of hand work, and said that he wouldn’t be able to get all the way to the wall, and for the best results that we should remove our shoe molding.

He is basically finished with the work today, and while it’s a big improvement over what is was and generally satisfactory, we are bothered by the edges. Where we might have expected that he could only get within an inch or so of the trim and door casings, with the original polished finish filling in the remainder, it seems he only got about 4” away. The final result is an inch of original polish, followed by 3” of cloudy almost honed finish and then his polished finish.

We thought he had an another day of work, so when he asked for payment to be left tomorrow, we said we would rather see the final product. I guess this is the final, and we seem to have upset him that we weren’t just excited by how much more it had improved.

The only way he thinks we could get better is by removing all of the trim and door casings and three weeks of hand work. We are wondering what handwork was indeed done since he was still primarily using the floor machine 80% through the process, and because our previous bad work similarly didn’t get very close to the wall. He had said then the issue was that they hadn’t done any hand work.

So back to my original question: are we expecting too much, or is this something that a skilled tradesman should be able to do?

Comments (5)

  • A Fox

    I was having trouble posting with photo, some of the problem areas are below. I had a hard time photographing i5 the way it appears in person. It’s like there is a gray stripe going around parts of each room.

  • just_janni

    I think that it CAN be done, it's just time consuming and labor intensive. It's hand tool work and people on their hands and knees.

    Try taking some pictures of a larger area. I know you focus on the edges, but unless it is crazy obvious in it's presentation - no one else will be looking around the edges.

  • A Fox

    just_janni thank you for the comment. I have been doing my best to judge everything from a normal perspective. And to also consider where furniture and rugs are going to cover up and obscure things. What bothers most are where it shows up in doorways or around the parts of our kitchen with downlights where it will always be visible. In those places I can see the condition from across the room and 20' away. I understand that nothing, especially in old houses and remodels can ever be perfect. As it is we have some cracked and chipped tiles that we decided not to replace right now, but this was a level of imperfection that was really unexpected.

    People visiting may very well not notice any of this, but I've never thought that was a very useful gauge since they aren't the ones that live with it every day.

    I did take some more overall and zoomed out shots. It's been a condition that's hard to photograph the way it appears in person. The change in sheen around away the walls is pretty visible in person. The floor generally does look pretty good and unlike the previous job it's actually cleanable.

    This is zoomed out a bit at the haze between the two doors

    And this is zoomed out a bit further

    The noticeable areas here are in the two inside corners on either side of the double oven.

    And here at the left end of the refrigerator side panel (please ignore the water damaged plywood; cabinet repair and painting is the next project)

  • A Fox

    The big question going forward, if we really think that some of these areas bother us, what is the best way to work with the contractor?

    He completed the project within the time frame listed in the proposal, so that would indicate that the work performed is what was anticipated. However, during the initial walk through for pricing we pointed out how the previous work stopped so far from the wall. This contractor said at the time it was because the last company only used a floor machine and didn't do any hand work. He had said that he anticipated that our floor would require quite a bit of handwork to make it look good. Somewhere that seems to have gotten lost in the job.

    In our phone conversation last night he was certain that he was clear this is what we were going to get (obviously not the case) and that the disclaimers within the proposal even stated that they couldn't get close to the wall. So I went back and read that disclaimer, it said that their machines cannot do edges and corners but if there is damage in those areas that they would use hand polishing where required. That call on his end was pretty personal to emotional on his end so I have to expect that tomorrow's face to face meeting could be anything but level headed.

    Ideally we would have a discussion of what was expected, what was previously discussed, and what was included. And what it would take, time-wise, and possibly money-wise to get a final product that both parties are happy with.

  • just_janni

    I agree with your post above - AND with the addition of the company owner discussing the deficiencies from the last contractor and his plan to mitigate it (and likely priced accordingly) you should expect that the difference in sheen is not that noticeable.

    I have seen this same thing time and time again. The owner talks all the right things, and then the instructions and expectations are not driven down to the people doing the work. And, ultimately, it is driven by a lack of oversight and management.

    He should have either signed off on his crew's work prior to the final seal ' polish and agreed that the all the hand work was done to a high standard.

    The floor is lovely and I am sorry this is happening. It does appear that you tried to do all the right things and it's simply been a struggle to find folks willing to spend the time to achieve a high standard (which really isn't THAT high - just consistent)

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