What folks often ask us about Refinish Light™

What is the difference between the Refinish Light™ restoration process and a complete refinish?

A complete refinish requires sanding the existing floor all the way down to bare wood and then building it back up a layer at a time. The floor has to be completely restained and multiple coats of polyurethane finish applied. Each layer has to dry completely before the next layer can be applied. This process takes a number of days and almost always requires the homeowner to vacate the premises for at least three and sometimes up to five days. All furniture, including appliances, must be completely removed from the areas being refinished and may not be replaced for up to a week. Because even the modern “dustless” refinishing systems are not completely dust free, the homeowner should expect fine dust to infiltrate into closets, cabinets and drawers. These areas can be “dustproofed” at an additional charge. With total refinish, the final product is a “perfect” floor with even color and most scratches completely removed.
The Refinish Light™ wood floor restoration process yields many of the same results as a complete refinish, but with much less disruption and at a substantially lower cost. The Refinish Light™ process requires no sanding, so there is no dust generated. Because the floor is not being restained, there is little, to no odor, and finally, the homeowner can be back on the floor in stocking feet in about 3 hours after application of the finish.
So you get most of the benefit of a full refinish for about one third the price!

What doesn’t your process do that a full refinish will?

Our Refinish Light™ process will not remove deep scratches that are down into the wood. While we can often improve their appearance dramatically, those scratches can only be completely removed by deep sanding. With the exception of the color-blending of specific spots, our process will also not change or add color to the floor. If you want to change the color of the floor, a full refinish is the only way to accomplish that.

So how does it work?

Until the introduction of this process, it was difficult to get new finish to consistently adhere to the old existing wood floor finish without physically sanding the floor. Without sanding, contaminants in and on the existing finish could cause the new finish to “fail”, resulting in bubbling, peeling or flaking, usually within weeks of application.
In our three-step Refinish Light™ process:
1. We apply a proprietary liquid abrasive/remover to the wood that is worked in with a special rotary machine and pad. This loosens any dirt and contaminants that may be on or in the existing finish and prepares the floor to accept and bond with new finish. (all without sanding, so no dust is created)
2. We then rinse away the loosened dirt and contaminants using a special extraction machine designed specifically for this process. The floor is wiped dry several times to ensure there is no foreign material of any kind remaining on the floor.
3. Finally, we apply two coats of new, protective finish. This finish will give your wood floor durable protection and luster to last for years to come.

What if I have a worn spot where the color is gone?
In cases where color has been worn away (in small localized areas) we can often perform a “color blend” or spot refinish to help restore the floor to its original appearance. This involves special preparation of the area followed by application of a wood floor stain to match the existing color. In almost all cases, color blending results in substantial improvement to the appearance of the floor, but each floor takes stain differently. As a result, we are unable to guarantee the final outcome of a “color blend”. Color blending is for smaller, worn areas and is not meant to be used for large areas or entire rooms.
What should I do to prepare for the work?

The areas being cleaned and restored need to be picked up and clear of incidentals like books, toys and plants. If you are moving the furniture, it will need to be cleared from the affected rooms before we arrive. The fan for the furnace or air conditioner will need to be turned off. This prevents dust from being blown onto the wet finish. The fan can be restarted three hours after completion of the finish application. Close all windows and exterior doors so that dust can’t blow onto newly recoated surfaces. Arrangements to keep pets controlled for the duration of the work should be made, either in an area away from where the work is occurring or completely out of the home.

Do the kitchen appliances and very heavy furniture like hutches and entertainment centers have to be moved?

No! Unlike a full refinish, where all the wood must be sanded down and restained in order to match, our system is restoring the protective finish only and, as a result, we do not need access to the wood under the appliances and very heavy furniture. We can work up to and around these by hand. Also, we do not move pianos, organs, clocks or electronics of any kind.

Is it safe for my pets?

Yes, all of the primary cleaning and finish products are Greengard® certified. However, animals should be kept off the floor for at least 24 hours.

Do I have to leave the house while you are working?
No! There is no dust or odor in our process, so you can be in the house while we’re working. Just remember, you may be limited to certain parts of the house due to wet finish and if you want to go out it may be best to leave before we get close to the door you are going to use. (Some odor may occur if we spot refinish. Your technician can advise you.)
Do I have to worry that my baseboards will be scuffed or damaged?
No! We use the specialized equipment on the main parts of the floor, but we prepare the areas along baseboards and the walls by hand to avoid any problems.
When can I be back on the floor?

You can normally get back on the floor in stocking feet within three to four hours.
As early as the next day (24 hours) furniture may be replaced on the finish (longer is better). When replacing the furniture it is best to lift and place it on the floor and not drag it across the finish. Placing felt pads on the bottoms of furniture legs will minimize scratches and dents.
Normal foot traffic can also resume after 24 hours.
Animals with nails should be kept off the floor for at least 24 hours with three days being ideal.

Area rugs may be placed on the floor after four to seven days.

Is the floor very slick after it dries?
Not really. Think of your newly restored floor like you would a new pair of shoes with leather soles. The first time you wear them you have to be careful because the unused soles are a little slick. The same is true with your floors. They will be slick for the first day or two, especially in your stocking feet. Once they have a little traffic you’ll be fine.
How should I maintain the floor after the Refinish Light™ restoration?

The floors may be maintained just as you would a fully refinished wood floor. We recommend the use of Bona Wood Floor Cleaner. This is best applied with a spray bottle and a slightly damp microfiber applicator followed by a dry or slightly damp microfiber cloth or pad. The use of a dry cloth for removal will help avoid streaking.*
While vinegar and water are a mainstay for many home owners, when it comes to cleaning wood it is not the best cleaner or good for the finish. Vinegar is a mild acid and over time can etch the finish and cause it to dull and cloud.
We do not recommend the use of polishes, waxes, rejuvenators or oil soaps on the floor. These can cause build up that may dull the finish and many are difficult, if not impossible, for a home owner to remove. (We have a special process to remove polish and wax if needed).
For long lasting results, once a year the floor should be professionally deep cleaned. This involves special equipment and cleaners that remove the ground-in dirt that basic microfiber cloth cleaning will not. We perform this type of cleaning on thousands of square feet every year and the cost is about the same as a good carpet cleaning.

*Note: The floors should not be cleaned with anything for the first seven days after the new finish is applied.

How long will the restored finish last?

The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) suggests that you should expect to perform maintenance recoating on your fully refinished wood floors every 5-7 years. Because our restoration finish is not quite as hard as a full refinish, it is suggested that additional finish should be applied every 3 to 5 years. The life of the restoration depends greatly on how the floor is used and how the floor is maintained going forward. We guarantee that the finish will not peel, flake or bubble for one year after the work is completed and the finish has successfully bonded to the floor. In rare cases, products may have been used in the manufacture or maintenance of the wood floor that could compromise the ability of any new finish to bond to the existing floor. We test the floor in an attempt to determine if any of these products are present. While the testing can give us a good indication, it is not 100% accurate. As a result, though a very small percentage of floors are affected, the customer understands that we cannot guarantee the new finish will successfully bond in all cases. Should the finish peel, bubble, pop or fail to adhere within the first year, we will touch up or redo the affected areas at no charge to the homeowner. If unsuccessful, our liability is limited to the cost of our service.