fixing a bad poly job - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 Old 03-08-2010, 07:06 PM Thread Starter
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Angry fixing a bad poly job



Hoping for some advice on how I can fix a bad poly job (minwax - brushed on - two coats). The contractor did not vaccum and tack off before he put on his second coat of poly so there is a lot of steel wool now stuck in my brand new custom stair rail and newel posts. I'm beyond angry as the only reason I didn't do this myself was because I thought it required a real pro (I certianly could have done better!). ALso the finish is bumpy and I assume that is air bubbles in addtion to the steel wool. How do I fix this?

Many thanks for any guidance!
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post #2 of 9 Old 03-08-2010, 07:52 PM
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Other than chemically stripping, you could sand it down. But, you should get the contractor to fix it, or pay you to get it fixed.






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post #3 of 9 Old 03-08-2010, 08:05 PM Thread Starter
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redo

So would I have to sand down to bare wood again or just down to a smooth feel and then wipe on the poly? I'm hoping since this was a problem with the second coat perhaps this would work, and then maybe an additional third coat? I hate the thought of sanding back down to start and then starting over and have very little faith in anyone else doing it right now.
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post #4 of 9 Old 03-08-2010, 08:22 PM
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The only problem with just sanding till smooth is you might not be able to see if you you got all the steel wool out, which you may see once recoated and may stand back up and give you the same problem. I would go with Cabinetmans thoughts. First I would show the contractor and see if he will fix, or refund. If he's a smart contractor he will do something. My boss always tells me a happy customer will tell 5 people about you, an unsatisfied customers will tell 25. Just my two cents.
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post #5 of 9 Old 03-09-2010, 09:55 AM
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Agreed.... the problem with sanding, is knowing when to stop. Who knows how well the first coat was applied. When trying to get all of the steel wool and bubbles out, you may end up sanding right through the first coat into the stain. And then, you're in a world of hurt for sure. This is unforgiveable.... you should get a complete re-do by the contractor.

Are you certain this contractor knew what he was doing? I'm surprised he used a product like Minwax on site. Especially an oil based product. That stuff takes so long to dry, in an un-controled enviroment (spray booth or clean finishing shop), the sticky surface will pick up all sorts of airbourne particulate. That may be the bumps you feel. Most contractors will use lacquer when working on a job site because it flashes off (dries) so quickly and is so easy to use. Or most certainly, something water based. Please don't tell us he used steel wool with a water based poly. If he did, whatever steel wool is left will start to rust.
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post #6 of 9 Old 03-09-2010, 11:17 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the responses guys. Here is how it went down. The stair railings / newels / iron balusters where installed onsite (we had builder grade box staircase and a balcony that had temporary rough cut ceder to pass code, then had a really good contractor come in and install custom newels/rails/balusters. Sort of making a silk purse out of a sow's ear so to speak. We then sanded everything down (which didn't require to much elbow grease because it was well sanded upon install). Then the contractor we hired to do the finish work put on a coat of Sand and Seal (everything was fine at this point, very smooth). I believe they 'knocked the grain back down' with steel wool (didn't check to see how they were cleaning up the steel wool after this step - I was working) - then the first coat of oil based Minwax poly (again - pretty sure everything was even ok at this point, but it was not like we could really touch it and be sure). Then steal wool again (and I'm guess no clean up at this point) and another coat of minwax poly. We were very careful to keep fans off, pets contained and no traffic (it's just the two of us) in the house while it was drying between coats. It wasn't until the check was written and the workers were gone that it was dry enough to realize that there where problems. The contractor said before he left, it may have some bumps but it was nothing to worry about he could come back and smooth everything over with steel wool if we wanted. This is hardly going to fix it. We called the main contractor who spec'd the job originally (this was a guy he sent out and then that guy brought one other helper with him) and he said he would send the guy back out. But honestly, if he was not realizing that he needed to vaccuum and tack off the steel wool -is he qualified to now sand it back and fix it?!
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post #7 of 9 Old 03-09-2010, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElkCreek View Post
But honestly, if he was not realizing that he needed to vaccuum and tack off the steel wool -is he qualified to now sand it back and fix it?!

I don't know if that question can be legitimately answered. The finish guy was probably being rushed by the GC, who could have been rushed by you. Anyway, if that first coat isn't cured, it could be sticky for a few days, which would account for it collecting shards of the steel wool. Using a tack cloth can contaminate the surface. That could account for the bubbles.

I would think a finisher that is qualified to do that work would be able to figure out how to complete the project. You as the homeowner should ultimately get satisfied.






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post #8 of 9 Old 03-09-2010, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabinetman View Post
I don't know if that question can be legitimately answered. The finish guy was probably being rushed by the GC, who could have been rushed by you. Anyway, if that first coat isn't cured, it could be sticky for a few days, which would account for it collecting shards of the steel wool. Using a tack cloth can contaminate the surface. That could account for the bubbles.

I would think a finisher that is qualified to do that work would be able to figure out how to complete the project. You as the homeowner should ultimately get satisfied.
As usual, CM is spot on with his assesment. I never like using tack cloths because they can contain wax which interferes with your finish coat big time.

Quote:
We were very careful to keep fans off, pets contained and no traffic (it's just the two of us) in the house while it was drying between coats.
That helps but there is air bourne particulate floating in the air all the time. Pet dander, skin cells dust etc., can be stirred up just by walking around. That's why using an oil based finish with long dry times are problematic on site. Like CM says, they can get pretty sticky attracting all kinds of stuff. That's why you nearly always see the use of lacquers and water based finishes on site. They flash off and dry so quickly, dust and stuff doesn't have time to settle in the finish.

Good luck in getting this resolved. Problems like this are never fun....
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post #9 of 9 Old 03-09-2010, 05:37 PM
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Three Little Words!

SUE, SUE,SUE!!! Carefully document every step, take lots of pictures that show the problems, Get 3 bids to fix everything and have them notarized . You can either go directly to small claims court or have the repair made by the average bidder and then go to small claims. The key to winning this type of case is to establish the wrong (damage) and the proper solution. You will not get paid for the repair, only what was originally charged plus extra work necessary to repair the damage from the initial screw up

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