FAQs

“The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing“. – Socrates

Table Of Contents

Do you offer free quotations?

Yes. I can provide realistic estimates over the phone or via email if you provide me with a little information, please see the contact us page for more help.

If the estimate sounds good then I will arrange to pop down and see you and check the work in detail, it helps if the floor is totally uncovered at this stage or it is hard for me to assess things accurately which might lead to extra work not being taken into account. For jobs in Surrey, London and the home counties there is no charge for the survey, discussion and quotation. For nationwide jobs I charge a flat rate of £320 plus travel expenses which is refundable if the job proceeds.

Do you charge a deposit?

Please see COVID-19 information on the home page. Customers will be charged a deposit to book their position in my diary, how much will depend upon the size of the job and the amount of materials / timber required.

Should we decorate before or after we get the floor sanded?

In most cases it is better to get the decorating done first. Although I generate lots of dust, because of the way I work and my use of class leading dust extraction vacuums I create almost no mess and far less than the average decorator. It is possible slight scuffing may occur to some skirting which may require a touch up after sanding but apart from that the area should remain spotless.

Of course, if you are getting your four hundred year old listed floor removed, archived, re-joisted, relaid and finished via hand then there is going to be a little more mess, in that case you can leave the last painting coat until after the floors have been restored.

So will there be much dust?

Yes. Probably. Bags of it, but almost all of it stays in bags. I use the best dust extractors and sanding machines available and am very clean, it is incredibly rare that I leave a place dustier than when I found it, I aim to leave all my jobs cleaner than when I arrived and this is usually the case, I do spend a large amount of my time vacuuming. My boxes, tools and equipment are highly organised, clean and compact taking up little space and safe for children and pets when I have packed up for the day.

I even carry my own waste bin and protection to put underneath my tool boxes.

I have a large sofa, can you sand around it?

Yes, of course we can, if you have a large double lounge we can move items from one side to the other, please ask, I will always try my utmost best to assist wherever I can. On normal sanding jobs the work will take a little longer and cost a little more, anyone telling you otherwise will just have to cut corners somewhere else to make up the difference.

It is obvious sanding in two sections is less efficient and there is an extra drying day before the sofa or other item can be moved across. For restoration jobs requiring a lot of repairs this may not be a problem as we can sometimes work effectively in sections. For a simple sand and refinish job it is best to remove all the items from the area before the work starts, the job costs less and will be finished quicker. Although it may appear daunting at first, moving furniture once you start is usually less of a problem than the thought of it and remember, if the sofa went in to the room, it must be able to come out again!

Do you remove carpets and other coverings?

In a word, no.

It is a much better use of your money to either remove the carpet yourself or get someone else to do it and pay for it to be disposed by a licenced operator or collected by the local authority.

In general I work to clean, clear floors but I always aim to help where I can, so please ask.

How do you fill gaps?

I mostly use fine sawdust and resin which is the best method, I use wood slivers very occasionally when the gaps are very wide but even here the gaps are rarely even along their length and so sawdust and resin still plays a part, larger holes and gaps can be filled with a proprietary polyester resin which I colour and make myself.

What finishes can I get?

You can have anything you like, within reason. Do you want one that is washable and long lasting if you have kids or pets? Or maybe you want a traditional shellac and hand waxed period finish? No problem, I can help. There are good points and bad points to every finish and colouring system and I will provide you with honest advice on what is best for you, not just on what is easiest for me to apply.

My normal process involves one coat of shellac, natural or coloured, followed by two coats of a commercial water based floor lacquer, this gives the chatoyancy, clarity and depth of a traditional solvent finish coupled with the maintenance free durability and non yellowing nature of the modern water based finishes. The finishes come in extra matt, matt, satin and gloss so a beautiful natural traditional looking finish can be achieved with a modern lacquer.

Oil finishes are very popular these days and I can apply these if required, the thing to bear in mind is that they are far less durable and require far more maintenance than the water based lacquers more so than their marketing may imply.

Will there be any nasty smells?

I try and minimise the use of solvents wherever possible which is why I almost exclusively use water based finishes on my floors and was one of the first people in the UK to do so. Very often solvent free water based products do however contain small amounts of solvents, typically around 5%. They are all NMP free and completely safe for children and adults including pregnant women but do have a slight ammonia odour. Ventilation is not normally required.

The shellac barrier seals I use contain methylated spirits, and the gap filler contains acetone, their water based counterparts unfortunately do not have the requisite properties to produce a satisfactory job, if you want a beautiful long lasting floor there will normally be a small amount of solvent involved but I keep this to a minimum. Opening a window either side of the work area normally pulls enough draught to dissipate this quickly.

If in doubt, always ask. For particularly sensitive people I have large volume air moving fans and ducting and can schedule filling and shellacking at a time where children are not present.

What are your prices?

Stripping, sanding, colouring and finishing of floors and other woodwork in good condition that require no expected, or agreed repairs.

Whilst there is always variability in finishing any floor, the time and amount of materials is far easier to quantify if there are no repairs.

These jobs can be quoted as a fixed maximum price.

Work to older floors and woodwork that entail sometimes extensive repairs that have been identified, agreed or expected. 

Almost all of these jobs throw up surprises that could not have been envisaged before work commences. Most people undertaking work on an older property, car or boat soon learn this.

These jobs are normally quoted as a best estimate based on a day rate of £40 per man hour pro rata plus materials (at cost). The final price is calculated at the end of the job.

I am also happy to give fixed price quotes for more involved restorations but will necessarily have to add an additional percentage for any potential extra work.

This leaves the possibility that if less work is required I will earn more money than expected. I am aware how business operates. I simply have no great desire to charge people for work I have not done.

The market is saturated with people who will offer you an artificially lower price. 

I offer a level of service that is rare. All I ask in return is that I am paid for the hours I work.

Larger restorations get their own individual work diary with detailed breakdown of costs, materials used and hours worked. Unexpected items will be flagged as soon as they are noticed.

Price per metre

This is often a marketing strategy. The current median square metre floor sanding price advertised in online price lists is far less than it was twenty years ago. When there were ten times less companies.

Many companies working on the high volume, low quality framework offer initial prices per metre that are less than my costs. How do they manage to reduce their costs so drastically whilst producing an acceptable job? The majority of sanded floors I see suggests they don’t.

This information is intended to elucidate the reader, potential customers and the many people who use this website as a research source. In a healthy environment there should be a range of services and prices to suit all budgets. Unfortunately the real life prices charged at the end of a job are often not commensurate with the quality of work provided. The problem is not one of diversity, rather that an overcrowded, unsustainable market that fights to offer everything, for the lowest price is very often misleading. Attempting to be as honest as possible is not an easy path to take in such circumstances. I am fortunate enough to attract customers who have above average powers of due diligence and / or a reliable gut instinct.

It has become increasingly difficult for lay people, including professional surveyors and project managers, to try and ascertain what is a fair and reasonable price for ‘floor sanding’ work. Such is the level of disinformation given out by the high volume low cost operators that now dominate and skew the market.

All I can suggest is that you carefully read each website, look at their galleries and ask plenty of questions.

A quick read of my Method and this FAQs page may give you some ideas on what questions to ask.

I am very happy to transparently itemise my invoices down to the hour and each individual material item.

Do you restore commercial floors and joinery too?

Yes, I do. I have hundreds more pictures of hotels, stately homes, restaurants, church and community halls in my portfolio. I also restore architectural joinery, stairs, doors, skirtings, handrails, panels, fire surrounds, modern furniture and antiques.

I have more questions, can you help?

I will try my best. Please bear in mind that if you phone me I might be working and often I do not hear my phone or cannot answer if I am in the middle of filling or coating or talking to a customer, if you send me an email then you might have to wait a day or two depending on how late I am working but I will get back to you.

For a detailed overview of how I work please see my Guide pages for extra help and advice.

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