I have a cabin on Carpenter Lake that was built in the 1930s. In the process of doing some much needed renovation, we unearthed hardwood floors under the lovely orange sculpted carpeting my parents had installed back in the 80s (presumably a closeout leftover from the early 70s and very cheap, because I hate to think my parents actually thought that stuff looked good). My sisters have two houses that are next door and were built about the same time and they also found hardwood and had them refinished about 15 years ago, so we were cautiously optimistic that perhaps we might get the same result.
Last summer, I had three guys come in to assess the floors. One guy came over from Tomahawk and pronounced them unsalvageable, which wasn't hard to believe, given what they looked like. He would, however, have been very happy to install laminate or carpeting to the tune of $2,500 for 460 square feet.
Then came Dave from Rhinelander. He said they could be saved for $3,700, but it could wind up being more, depending on what the level of rot was once he actually started working there.
One of the Tillman brothers came out and said, "Oh yeah, we can do this and I've seen a lot worse." He took some measurements and mailed me an estimate for dustless or regular sanding and refinishing. The dustless would have been about $300 more than the dusty. Only problem with Tillman's was that they were booked until October, and about that point, it was almost getting too cold for the winter to do the floors.
Due to circumstances that I won't bore you with, but through no fault of Tillman's, we missed the fall window of opportunity and they said I would be the "first on the list" after the thaw. They called just before April 15th and said they thought it was getting warm enough to get started.
They came in the first week and sanded the floors down and it was unbelievable in terms of the transformation. The porch floors had been painted a bright Kelly green at one point and they looked brand new. Scott Tillman called me to give me an update and said there were a couple of spots that were from where the carpeting had been stapled down that had black marks, and try as they did, they just couldn't get rid of those marks. Frankly, I didn't care because, well, anything had to be better than the orange carpeting (sorry mom and dad, I know you meant well)!
They came back the following week and put down three coats of oil and satin finish. The end result was simply unbelievable. I showed the pictures to folks who had not seen the cabin and they literally thought I had put down brand new hardwood in this dilapidated (but beloved) 85-year-old fishing shack! They thought I was lying when I said that they were the same floors.
Then, I got the bill yesterday. Now mind you, I have been working on renovating this cabin for nearly two years now and everything has come back about two-thirds more expensive than the quote, so I braced myself for the worst, got out a bottle of tequila and opened the bill. Dang, if the final bill wasn't actually nearly $300 less than the original estimate. Not only do I have the most glorious hardwoods in my cabin now, but by having them redone, it was at least half the cost of covering them up with even the cheapest tile or laminate or carpeting.
I can't speak highly enough of the Tillman's. If I hadn't talked to two other flooring guys and have gotten everything from "can't be done and carpet over them" to "maybe but $2,700 is the starting point and it will only get more expensive once I actually get in there," I wouldn't have believed it. I understand now why the Tillman's are so booked out months in advance. They, apparently, are the only ones that are willing to do the work for a fair price and their results are simply amazing.
Thank you, Tillman's! You have my undying gratitude!
Elizabeth D. of Youngsville, NC - Yelp