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Hi All,
I have a potential customer who just told me that another estimate she got (besides mine) states that the company will put a fresh coat of polyurethane on her staircase. There's no mention of sanding or stripping or restaining, just a fresh coat of polyurethane.

She asked me if I could add that to my bid so she can compare apples to apples, but I'm betting that this is a bad idea... Everything within me is telling me to tell her, if she wants her railing refreshed, it needs to go through the proper process: stripping, sanding, restaining, refinishing.

If I'm wrong, please tell me. I want to win this job because it's a huge project, but I don't want to shoot my company in the foot!
 

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Theres a lot more to it than that but yes you need to sand the existing finish before putting down polyurethane to create a mechanical bond and it will say so in the data sheet of whatever product you use.

You need to fully evaluate the condition of the finish and substrate then educate the customer on the best course of action, and maybe there are a few such as a refresh coat or fully refinishing.
 

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I think that any additional work needed beyond cleaning, sanding, and recoating would depend on the condition of the rails. If you feel it needs more to be a complete job, discuss it and bid accordingly. If she balks, or goes “another direction” (my favorite euphemism for - “we went with a cheaper outfit”) then it is what it is. If she is a client that percieves quality and the associated costs, great. Those are the people you really want to cultivate as clients whenever you possibly can.
 
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