The Floor Drama Continues – I’m so upset I could scream!

What would you think if you saw this in your refinished floors that you have an admittedly overly emotional attachment to?

the hole in our floor

Apparently our floor guy thinks this is an acceptable patch.

Yes, this is an old house, and these are old floors so there were a couple spots like these with large chunks of the plank corners missing.

Why didn’t we replace those planks you ask?

Good question!

Because the floor guy said that old growth pine like douglas fir has a different grain and color than new fir planks would and in his words would “stick out like a sore thumb.”

Cool I thought, this guy is a perfectionist like me, he’ll do a good job and its justifiable paying him more than any other quote we received because he’s an expert, he came highly recommended by my dad and he has experience with repairing old floors…

So when he told me he had some clear solution he could put in the hole that he would try as a patch I didn’t worry. I thought he knows what he’s doing and he’ll let us know if its not working.

So last night I get a call back and he asks “So what do you think of the patches upstairs?”

(Keep in mind that he has now put on two coats of poly on and that before he did that when it was only sanded he told me not to worry how those patches looked, they were a “work in progress”)

Me:”Well, they’re not going to look dark like that are they?”

Floor Guy: “Yeah, it didn’t “blend” as well as I thought it would, the filler seemed to have reacted with the wood and came out alot darker…If you’re not happy with the way it looks I can try to gouge into them and fill the gouges with wood filler and see if that works.”

So we go over to the house and well, you’ve already seen what we saw and believe me, gouges with putty are NOT going to fix that problem.

What irks me is that now there are two coats of poly already on the floor!

Once he realized the filler had turned BLACK why would he not have called and said “Hey, this isn’t working, lets try something else or replace the boards after all.”

Instead I get a call after two out of three coats asking how I think it looks? Could he possibly think that would be acceptable to us? Or perhaps he thinks I WANT floors that look like someone spilled a jar of molasses and hadn’t bothered to wipe it up in the last 90 years. ..

The irony of it all is that we didn’t patch it with new wood because of his suggestion that it wouldn’t look good.. Um, I’m pretty sure that even if we used a species of wood completely unrelated to douglas fir would look 1000 times better than the black holes that are there now.

And to top it all off, I get an email response from him today after I expressed my dismay saying I must have “forgotten” that they were going to do the gouges with the putty in them like we discussed last night…

Yeah, no, I didn’t “forget” I’m just convinced right now that his idea of an acceptable solution is just maybe a little different than mine.

We should have gotten new floors :(


Found out later that the floor guy hadn’t seen the patch since he did it, so when he asked what I thought it was not because he was trying to suggest it was acceptable.  It was a bit of a misunderstanding and when he did finally see it he agreed it was awful and needed to be fixed.  He has since routed out the bad areas and inlayed some of his own 10 year old douglas fir and put some poly on it.  It looks much better now, I will post pictures soon of the final result which I’m pretty happy with.

Note to floor guy: if you’re reading this: don’t take my rant too personally, you need to read all the posts about the floors to fully understand why I’m so protective of them!

14 Responses to “The Floor Drama Continues – I’m so upset I could scream!”

  1. I totally understand your irritation. One thing you learn quick when working with men who do construction is that your version of pretty and theirs usually doesn’t mesh. :)

    Having said that, your floors are still beautiful, even with his boo boo. Yes, they’re not perfect, but if it can’t be fixed, just look at it as part of the character of your home. They really are beautiful floors.

  2. Hi! I’m a new reader :) If I were you, I’d call my dad and say, you recommended this bastard to me, I suggest you pay this bastard so I can get someone competent to do my floors over. No mercy for dads and their “advice”…

  3. Hi Sarah, welcome!

    In my dad’s defense, he did offer to call him.. but my husband ended up doing it instead. I’m not as good at real life confrontation as I am at ranting in my blog ;-)

  4. Completely agree with Julie. Both on the fact that contractors never seem to have the same standard as we would and that the floors still look pretty to me.

    Unless there are spots like this all over the house, I wouldnt rip this up. Part of the charm of an old house is its patina. Unless you have a restoration expert working for you, a patch is going to look more out of place in my opinion.

    Where are these spots located? Is it someplace really central or someplace more out of the way?

  5. I absolutely agree with the previous replies. Your old floors even with the patches are 1000X more beautiful than generic new floors would have been. Yes, the contractor was a total idiot for not replacing those boards – they do sell old growth salvaged wood to use as patches and it’s easy to do. But, once you get your furniture in there, you will hardly notice. Live with it a little, and I bet they start growing on you :-)

  6. Mrs. Limestone,

    Wow, maybe I’m totally overreacting (wouldn’t be the first time :)

    There are a bunch of other spots to be sure, and those I don’t take issue with but they aren’t nearly as dramatic asthese, more like small spots of rot.

    Unfortunately these big black spots are right smack in the middle of the middle bedroom which we’ll be using as an office.

    Another reason the whole issue bothers me so much is that it COULD have been prevented had Jeff been willing to have us scrape some of the floors in the closets that we’re not having refinished and use that wood as a patch. Or we could have used two planks from somewhere around the edge of the room and replaced those instead of these that are in the middle of the floor..

    So “our” unwillingness to go the last mile contributed to the end result. And by “our” you know who I mean ;)

    If Jeff ever reads this I’m in big trouble!

  7. After Stuccohouse’s comment (hi, and welcome!) I think its official, I am a drama queen.

    I didn’t really mean I wanted new floors, I was just being a brat. I really really do love old worn things that have history and authenticity. I do, I promise. And I wasn’t expecting perfection – believe me, if you saw the parts that I’m not blogging about or taking issue with you’d agree.

    But these spots, the one I was angry about don’t look bad because of the wood being old, they look bad because of whatever newfangled filler he used reacted with the wood and turned black. I’m not mad at the floors for being old and imperfect, I’m mad that the “fix” looks worse than the problem.

    Sorry, I’ll try not to be so petulant in my future rants!

  8. You aren’t a drama queen! You paid this guy to do a good job, and he didn’t come through. You deserve better, and you’d be justified in demanding that it be totally redone, at least in this room.

    That said, I could live with the spots. I just wouldn’t want to if I were paying a “professional.”

  9. Don’t worry, you arent being a drama queen. Its very hard to let the smaller stuff go when youve put so much work into it and expect it to be just so. Im sure Ive been in your shoes many a time.

    But I swear, as a very particular home renovator, I wouldn’t even think twice if I visited your house. It will grow on you eventually.

  10. I certainly understand why you are irritated. This professional whom you are paying (a likely hefty sum) did not do a very good job with those patches. But I have to agree with most of the others that I wouldn’t let it get to me too much. I certainly would not want new floors! I fell in love with our floors when I first saw the house and believe me they are FAR from perfect. They are 82 years old!
    So when I saw that first picture I was kind of thinking “What’s the big deal?” but it may look worse in person.
    So I guess I’m saying, I totally understand how you feel, but in the long run, it is part of the charm and patina of a beautiful old home. Don’t lose sleep over it. ;)

  11. I agree, you will forget all about them after moving in and having furniture around.

    But I do have to say this: I hope he now knows better and will test that stuff in closets or somewhere less conspicuous on all of his future jobs? That one action would have avoided all of this.

  12. I’d ask the flooring guy to harvest wood from inside a closet and swap it out…if that’s possible. On HIS dime.

  13. Is is possible to use a rug over it to over it? Or a piece of furniture – like a bench at the end of the bed? The previous comment is the best = change the planks with some that are in a more hidden area and move it. Truthfully, it doesn’t look that horrible on the internet. Not like my new hardware that has already “turned” after one month. Oy!

  14. […] I’m happy to report that the floor guy’s second attempt at patching the unsightly holes in the middle bedroom/office was a vast improvement on the first attempt: […]

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