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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Does anyone else have a problem with the Flooring guys trying to re-finish floors before the painters? Around here I routinely have to convince the customer to let us paint the room before the floors are re-finished, or carpeting is installed.

Am I wrong in thinking that Painters should paint rooms before the floors are re-finished?

The Floorers tell the customer that they should go first so that the Painters can touch-up the baseboard after they are done. I tell the customer that nobody should be working over a newly finished floor, or carpeting, and that I would rather come back and touch up, than try to move ladders and/or scaffolding over a new floor.
 

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Does anyone else have a problem with the Flooring guys trying to re-finish floors before the painters? Around here I routinely have to convince the customer to let us paint the room before the floors are re-finished, or carpeting is installed.

Am I wrong in thinking that Painters should paint rooms before the floors are re-finished?

The Floorers tell the customer that they should go first so that the Painters can touch-up the baseboard after they are done. I tell the customer that nobody should be working over a newly finished floor, or carpeting, and that I would rather come back and touch up, than try to move ladders and/or scaffolding over a new floor.

While we're at it...Is it me, or do floorers nationwide have difficulty scheduling?
Seems like they are always a week early, or a week late- and just show up... at inconvenient times. Oh, and "no problem, we can work at the same time, cant we?".
Yeah, I've gotten that "but the baseboards..." thing before. It's dumb as a box of rocks. Luckily I am doing almost all of my work for a GC who is smart enough to know better so I've almost always been able to get in before any flooring work.
 

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Being that my company did the floor sanding & finishing on almost every project, and the scheduling/finishing sequence was solely up to me, I liked saving the final coat on drywall walls until after the floors were complete, sometimes cutting in the walls beforehand if hatbanding and or batch issues weren’t a concern... then just go in with runners after the floors were complete and quickly roll out the walls.

We never used conventional floor edgers, so none of the finished trim or even shoe mouldings got marred in the slightest. The need for touch-ups was a rare occurrence.

When doing floors on homes painted by other companies, we were equally as conscientious about not damaging their work, and never minded the baseboards being finished beforehand. Scheduling was however up to the general contractors and I’d often hear the painters grumbling about having to take a back seat when showing up to start the floors.

I’m however not at all that crazy about the pre-finished engineered hardwood flooring getting installed prior painting which seems to be the current trend.
 

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If base is to be installed (ie. switchiing from carpet to hard flooring) I usually try to paint all lids and walls, etc first. Then the floors get installed. Then I come back to prep and paint base. Also presents a good opportunity before you're gone to back charge for any wall touch ups if the flooring guys messed it up. Ideally you can caulk the base tight enough to not require bringing the wall color back down again.
 

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I'm usually working in concert with my floor guys. Order of operations comes down to timelines and products selected by both the floor guy and the painter. Situations where I didn't know the floor guy and he insisted he went before me, I had him sign off on when it was ok for me to come in and do my work without risking floor damage. Timelines as far as when it's safe to walk on, work on, and mask should all be in writing and signed off by the floor guy. Tape, paper, and any other floor covering should be specified and signed off by the floor guy.

If you're having to follow an unknown floor guy, include a provision in your contract that allows you to go back and walk through the home one last time after they're done and before you begin to confirm the scope of work hasn't changed, but make the necessary adjustments via change order or addendum if the floor guy created a bunch more work for you to do that you hadn't factored into your original price. A good floor guy doesn't kill the base, doesn't get puddles of his product on your trim, & doesn't leave the house a dusty mess for you to clean up before you can do anything. Creating good working relationships with floor dudes makes me happy.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for replies, all.

Bidding on a house that has vaulted ceilings and hardwood floors- stained trim: removal + reinstall by the floorers. The owner has spoken to two flooring companies, and they both insist they should go ahead of the painters. This seems to be common practice here, and the floor guys more often than not create a lot of headaches for me when this happens. We have to be so much more careful. I offered to come back and touch up after flooring is finished, but do not have a final word on that.

Isn’t dust on the walls another thing to worry about, other than not scratching the floor?
 

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I always have tried to get in before the floor coverings are put down. Would much rather take care of half an hour of minor touch ups than have to cover new floors.
Once had a job where new carpets were going into the family room. Out of habit, I covered the floor with drops anyway (for some reason I hate the look of paint drips on carpeting - regardless of it’s condition or imminent fate). It was a good thing because afterwards the customers decided they would keep the carpeting for awhile longer.
 
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I always have tried to get in before the floor coverings are put down. Would much rather take care of half an hour of minor touch ups than have to cover new floors.
Once had a job where new carpets were going into the family room. Out of habit, I covered the floor with drops anyway (for some reason I hate the look of paint drips on carpeting - regardless of it’s condition or imminent fate). It was a good thing because afterwards the customers decided they would keep the carpeting for awhile longer.
I think I have to file that one away under better safe than sorry. I did one recently where I did not protect the carpet soon to be replaced. Didn't make that big of a mess, but big enough...
 

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Depends on the location. In CO, NV, CA, AZ, it was usually floors after paint. Since I move to Austin TX, they are really big about floor first. The contractor ramboards the floors before paint, then painter comes in, masks to the base, and paints. Contractor pulls the ramboard, and painter cleans any little paint messes close to the base. The most important part, is communication with the contractor about order of operations and who is responsible for what. Always ask ask about base being caulked to floorboard as well, as that can bite you in the ass if its sprung on you.

But for surely, you absolutely have to discuss who is responsible for covering the floors, and to what extent. Also, dont count on only a half hour of touch ups due to floor guys.... You should be bidding in at least a few days of touch up depending on size of house, colors, and so forth, with contractual conditions of overage pay if its more than usual.
 

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Wood flooring on new construction should ideally be installed and finished after the bulk of the wet work is complete. Wet work includes mortar, tile/stone mud & installations, plaster/joint compound, and water based paints. The moisture from wet work tends to cup floors, and by installing, sanding & finishing prematurely, especially when sanding a cupped floor, they’ll tend to crown as they dry down. Finishing flooring before the wet work is complete can result in deformation of the flooring. Scheduling floor sanding & finishing is largely dependent on the floor’s moisture content, which often results in the need to flip-flop the scheduling. We never sanded or finished if the MC was > 8%, even if it meant disrupting painter’s and/or other tradesperson’s schedules.
 

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The job I'm on, right now, and others in the past, I'm going around rolling the bottom 1ft of the block walls. Getting my two coats on before the flooring guys go and put the base on. Cutting in block is a pain in the butt.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Wood flooring on new construction should ideally be installed and finished after the bulk of the wet work is complete. Wet work includes mortar, tile/stone mud & installations, plaster/joint compound, and water based paints. The moisture from wet work tends to cup floors, and by installing, sanding & finishing prematurely, especially when sanding a cupped floor, they’ll tend to crown as they dry down. Finishing flooring before the wet work is complete can result in deformation of the flooring. Scheduling floor sanding & finishing is largely dependent on the floor’s moisture content, which often results in the need to flip-flop the scheduling. We never sanded or finished if the MC was > 8%, even if it meant disrupting painter’s and/or other tradesperson’s schedules.
Had not considered 'wet products' being a factor, but of course it's just another reason for flooring to go after painting.

I was more concerned about having crews and equipment working above a newly-finished floor, especially on a re-paint- cant see the reasoning behind it. If the painters follow the flooring, then the painters must:

1. make sure the sealed floor is cured enough to work on.
2. spend time protecting the floors - either rosin paper, or tarps or both.
*I would say the painters must now work "more" carefully than in a typical re-paint, because the floors are "new" w/o mark or blemish. A twist of a sneaker, or a dragged footfall or ladder set down with too much force, or scaffolding could leave visible scratches in the floor. To say nothing of brand new carpet.
3. Possibility of dust on the walls, even with dustless sanders - when refinishing hardwood floors?

Why not just let the Painters go first, then the flooring crew, then have the painters come back and touch up??
 

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Im gonna be the oddball here and say that I like to be last. I don't want to come back and touch up, ain't got no time for dat! I cover older floors and don't ruin or get paint on them so what's the difference if they're new? The only time I differe is with popcorn removal. In that case it's best to have that nasty work done prior to floors. It's just myself and my father doing the work so I've never had an issue with messing up a floor now if I had a big crew it might be a different story.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Im gonna be the oddball here and say that I like to be last. I don't want to come back and touch up, ain't got no time for dat! I cover older floors and don't ruin or get paint on them so what's the difference if they're new? The only time I differe is with popcorn removal. In that case it's best to have that nasty work done prior to floors. It's just myself and my father doing the work so I've never had an issue with messing up a floor now if I had a big crew it might be a different story.
You know that popcorn ceilings are usually asbestos, right?
Hard passes on that stuff.

I'm pretty careful with prep anyway, but just don't like working over new floors. I'm gonna complain about it a little!
 

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You know that popcorn ceilings are usually asbestos, right?
Hard passes on that stuff.

I'm pretty careful with prep anyway, but just don't like working over new floors. I'm gonna complain about it a little!
I pass on popcorn in houses built before 1980. Down here they popcorned in houses built all the way up to '08 so there's plenty that need removal and are asbestos free.
 

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I did a job once where the floor installers wanted me to paint the room first and I said no because I want to be the last person out of the room. They insisted so I said ok and they put a dozen dings in the walls.
 

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On all my jobs I've gone first, and have came back to do just the baseboards last. My painting order is a bit unorthodox to most, in that I always do baseboards last at the end of the job totally, as I find I get a cleaner cut by painting the baseboards to the wall vs cutting in at the wall to the baseboard. It also saves time when doing the walls as you don't need a 100% perfect cut at the wall. Using the light and shadow trick, you can be more off with white to the wall vs wall paint on the baseboards (the baseboard's own shadow will cover 1-2mm of white, along with the caulking/etc and the baseboard usually having big gaps to the wall anyway) and of course gravity itself ends up pulling your cuts down if you're not mega ultra careful cutting your baseboards in with the amount of paint on the brush. It also is good on a long job to have a relatively easy day at the end and finalize the job and tie up loose ends on said easy day of baseboards + putting everything back together.

Having done some vinyl and ceramic tile installs (not for "pro" customers, just my own house and friend's houses) I personally think baseboards should be installed last if they're a normal 3" or so baseboard. You can't really use shoe molding on those, since they're already too small. It's better to install them at the end of the flooring process and get them flat on the new flooring, vs shoe molding or worst, just leaving them the way they are and having ugly huge gaps under them. In ceramic's case, it prevents the tiler from getting grout on the baseboards like a doofus or grouting to the baseboard (cracked tiles and grout possible with that) and looking ugly, too. If it's an older/more upscale house with bigger 6-8" baseboards, then you can use a shoe molding, but shoe molding on small baseboards looks really bad to me. I'd also rather be the one pulling the baseboards, too, to be able to hopefully not rip the walls up too badly, and feather in the bottom so there's not caulk lines/ripped drywall/etc. If I have to be one installing them it's whatever, too, because inevitably I'd have to go after the carpenter and "fix" it all anyway. As a (very) amateur trim carpenter I tend to use the GRK Torx head trim screws and a drill, no nail gun.

I've had a few dings/etc to fix from floor people but never had touchup issues with such tiny dings (1/2" or less.) Worst flooring doofus spilled a whole energy drink on a freshly painted wall, though. :/ And a tiler got grout into freshly painted baseboards and textured a couple of inches of them. :/
 

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I think it's quite normal to do final coat on walls and baseboards last. Whether its new floors or a refinish. Especially if base hasn't been installed yet. Normally the contractor will lay down some Ram Board so the other trades can come back in and finish thier work. You know theyre going to ding something when doing the floors or installing the base..I do however make sure all my closets and bathrooms etc. are complete. And any high area's.
 

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I did a job once where the floor installers wanted me to paint the room first and I said no because I want to be the last person out of the room. They insisted so I said ok and they put a dozen dings in the walls.
The painter is always the last person out of the room. No matter what. Even when s/he/they have to come back to touch up after ... whatever. I can't tell you how many times I've had to go back after something like "well a plumbing thing was leaking" or "the HO wanted the light switch moved" or whatever. But I will say that a dozen dings in the walls by the flooring folks is just plain negligent.

But I will also say that the time and hassle savings of getting in before new/refinished flooring can be significant. I find touch up work to be fast and easy, and without the need for whole floor protection - something like what RH said above.

I always figure that I want to have the job site at various stages - and then also last. The stages would be things like after basic rough-ins, but before final flooring install/refinish or before cabinet/tiling/shelving/etc installs. Let me get the ceilings and at least a coat down before all sorts of stuff goes in that I have to cover and/or cut around. Then I'll come back to finish things off after everyone's done dinging things and cutting more holes in the walls or whatever.
 
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