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Engineered hardwood flooring

Wanda200's picture

Hi guys,


It's been awhile since I have posted here on Breaktime.

The renos on the bungalow are still ongoing. But they are just about finished. It's been over a year now. Apparently we've run into another snag. The engineered hardwood floor was installed on Tuesday. I went up to inspect it on Wed. The guy said he'd finish installing it Thursday. So I went up to inspect yesterday and when I walked over the flooring in the livingroom All I could hear was a Cacophany of "squeaks". The  man who installed the flooring wasn't there. So I drove directly to the Flooring store where I purchased the flooring. He agreed to come up to inspect the flooring next Tuesday. He thinks the problem is due to humidity and will take up his hygrometer and moisture meter when he comes on Tuesday.  I mentioned to the manager that there was no EXPANSION GAP around the perimeter of the livingroom. He said that didn't matter. I told him there was absolutely NO gap. not even 1/32nd of an inch. That flooring was TIGHT to the wall with no gap.

The installer obviously didnt' read the installation guide that came with the flooring. I've read it cover to cover. It says to leave a 1/2" gap all the way around the perimeter. They installer wants to blame it on the carpenter who laid the floor saying there was a bow in the subflooring . The manager wants to put it down to humidity saying the floor will settle in time. NO WAY! I am not going to swallow that BS! The guy the company hired to install the floor is at fault. He didn't  Says in the installation instructions for Award flooring.. "the installer assumes all responsibility for final inspection of product quality", Before the install of the installer must determine that the environment of the job site and the condition and type of subfloor involved is acceptable, ensuring that it meets all the requirements stipulated in the installation instructions .. Installation site should have consistent room temp of 60-75 degrees F  relative humidity level of 35-60% for a min of 5 days prior to installation

47" length, width, 6.2" thickness 1/2" made in America Milano Copper Relics Collection. Special Patina Relics Collection. This flooring cost $11.99 sqft.  (sliced veneer engineered hardwood)

I'm blaming the "squeaking problems on the installer. It's an improper install. He used the Float-in installation method. That means he used tongue and groove glue/ no nails. Now if I'm not mistaken a floating floor has to be permitted to move. IT moves as a unit. So an expansion gap is necessary. So why is the manager of a flooring company telling me it doesn't need a gap?? hmmmm

This engineered flooring was laid over a brand new plywood subfloor. Screws were used not nails. We went over the floor testing for squeaks. But to make sure we asked on several occassions for the company to have the installer come in to check to make sure the subflooring was ok before the floor was installed.

Now we have ourselves a problem. How the heck are they going to fix this F... up! ???????????? without destroying the floor. 

Is it imperative for engineered flooring to be installed at right angles to the floor joists. which in my case it wasn't but some people just say it's a matter of personal preference. If you lay it along the longest length of the room it looks better.

This flooring was installed On Grade. The installer used foam underlayment. no staples just glue on the tongue and edges. But I have a sneaking suspician this guy nailed down a section in the middle of the floor. He mentioned how he had a difficult time because a section of flooring was bowed. So why did he continue his installation without notifying the customer??????????????



Edited 7/31/2009 1:53 pm by Wanda200

(post #87351, reply #224 of 261)

I'm also in favor of 'due diligence', being pro-active. And in my book that means no 'assuming'.

(post #87351, reply #250 of 261)

jim... i make it my business to understand what the job needs... what strengths my subs have... and what weaknesses

the owner has no contractual relationship with the sub.. only me... anything goes wrong...i own it... and trying to get a sub to fix something is  ok for superficial things... 

if i didn't like the way my framer was leveling the sill... i'd  be all over it then...

i'd not be trying to salvage the job after the roof is framed

basically...wanda hired the wrong people to do her work... the responsibility is determined by the contract

we should all remember that we're contractors first... and  builders second

houses are built with paper... nails just hold the pieces together

how's your golf game ?

Mike Hussein Smith Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

Mike Smith Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore


(post #87351, reply #251 of 261)

My golf game is non-existent: no time.

Is anybody out there? 

(post #87351, reply #225 of 261)

I would think both the GC and the sub would be responsible for the work. I know if it was my project and I was the GC I would be supervising all the aspects of the job to make sure they were done according to the plans, industry standards and/or my satisfaction. If I was the sub I would be looking at the situation (ideally before install date) and refuse to do the work untill the prep was adequate. If the GC was an amateur or unknown to me I would probably scrutinize the job more closely. I would rather have one lost day than an unhappy client, a lawsuit or a bad reputation.

OTOH if I was the sub and everything about the job appears atleast superficially to be proper then I would of course go ahead and any liability would be on the GC. So in my view the GC screwed up and if the prep was obviously inadequate (ie. bouncy subfloor) then the sub is also liable . And, of course, as we read the flooring was installed oddly as well which puts both parties at fault.

Wanda hired professionals who failed to deliver professional results. It is contractors like that who make all of us in the industry look bad and make it more time consuming and costly to do our work.

(post #87351, reply #226 of 261)

Do you really think a judge would call Wanda a GC? I don't think so. The judge would see her as a homeowner and the entire blame would land on the "professionals".

Homeowners are allowed to contract with more than one trade and still be a "homeowner". A GC is an entirely different beast.

Is anybody out there? 

(post #87351, reply #227 of 261)

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to clarify what I wrote.

Wanda is the home owner. The GC would be the original contractor she hired to do the reno our whoever replaced them. It is possible there is no GC at all by now and the responsibility for the sub floor would be on the carpenter who installed it without professional supervision. Wanda hired them to install a flat (and level?) sub floor suitable for engineered flooring. IMHO it is up to the professionals to deliver and they failed. As to what a court would think????????

I don't treat a home owner like a GC regardless of how they are acting. I think it is often important to discuss and provide information to HOs above and beyond what one would normally discuss with another professional.  Afterall the end product will reflect on all involved including me.

(post #87351, reply #228 of 261)

In this case, the flooring installer was also the subfloor prepper. This guy doesn't have a leg to stand on.

Is anybody out there? 

(post #87351, reply #229 of 261)


Let's see if I can explain my situation.

I paid my contractor to install a "subfloor" .(technically it's an underlayment) subfloors are screwed to joists. I told him I was going to have an engineered floor laid down. (now keep in mind this man says he lays hardwood and ceramic floors)  I can only go by what's on his business card. This man claims to own and operate a construction company.

Next step: I went into a flooring store in town. A reputable flooring company. Just ask anyone and they'll tell you that's the first flooring store that comes to mind when buying flooring.

I went in and asked for their advise regarding my situation. I made it clear that I was laying a floor in my summerhome and that I didn't heat the premises during the winter months. I needed to know what flooring was best for my situation. They said engineered was fine. So I purchased Award Patina relics milano red flooring.  They told me they would have one of their installers put the floor in. I didn't have to go out and hire anyone to do the job. They assured me their men were professionals. I would have no problem with the installation. So I took their advise I let them send up their installer to install the flooring. AND just look what happened to me. The man compeltely botched the job. Turned out they sent their vinyl /carpet guy to install my floor. Too late now for them to turn around and say on the phone the other day t hat the man shouldn't have been asked to install an engineered floor. 

moisture issue is mute and so is the subfloor issue... It was the installers responsibility to check out the environement in which the floor was being installed. NO moiture meter.. not my problem. No level Not my problem.  He rushed in and he rushed out. Told me everything was fine. I asked him to make sure the subfloor was ok.

I spent my afternoon stacking flooring and taking up the part of the floor that was glued and nailed. 60sq ft in total that can't be reused. It's ruined. I might actaully be a bit short on material. But last week the company said they had some extra flooring in their warehouse. (but that was last week) Ever since their TOP installer went up last Monday and took pictures of my "lovely" subfloor and told me they had 2 independent installers that looked at those pictures.. and said they'd go to the company with those pictures . NOW they are claiming it's the subfloor and not the install. BS!!!!!!!

 I will find out on Monday for sure whether or not they are going to give me the install for free. We had a conference call a week ago and the flooring store agreed to give me a free install. A verbal agreement!

God help me come Monday when I ask if they're going to pay for the install if I hire my own guy to install it.  what will they say when I ask them for more material. I can't lay this floor if I don't have enough material. But if they refuse to give me extra flooroing to cover the wood they damaged I'll just have to put vinyl in the hallway. I'll then have enough to cover the main room with enough for wastage.

I counted 23 boxes (16.2sqft per carton) plus 4 boxes of various length boards and 1 box of not so good wood. Only to be used if absolutely necessary. They told me weeks ago they had more in their warehouse. Unless they really want to f.. me over!

The contractor was supposed to meet with me this afternoon. He was a no show. I will phone him again tomorrow. Hope he hasn't forsaken me!  Can this flooring mess get any worse??????????????? I'll give the guy the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he had a medical emergency. If I can't reach him by phone tomorrow then I have something to worry about.




(post #87351, reply #238 of 261)

Yeah it is all your problem.  You paid, you got a bad job.  Don't GC your own jobs or if you do, check your people.

(post #87351, reply #240 of 261)

She did not act as GC.  The GC in this case would have been the flooeing co. she bought the floor from.

By the way, she had permits in the first instance and gentlemen, this is a Cluster ****.

She was taken advantage of in the first instance by a company that supposedly had the experience to do the project.

This instance, she hired a store, in effect a GC to do her flooring.


Yes, it seems she is having a run of bad luck in her hiring practises.  In fact she has claimed to have not even gone with low bidder.


My personal feelings, she has run into a location that hasn't got many if any competant carpenters or contractors!

(post #87351, reply #231 of 261)

<In this case, the flooring installer was also the subfloor prepper. This guy doesn't have a leg to stand on.>

He's already walked away, probably sitting down , and drinking a beer Wanda bought him... who needs a leg?

All the this contractor, that contractor Wanda's been slinging... she lost me a long time ago.

But, it seems that in our world, Wanda would be the GC, homeowner or not. If there was a permit pulled, and her name's not on it, she's got a gripe...but we haven't heard anything about that. All these contractors she's had problems with are probably sub-contractors.

Wanda seems to do her homework after the the horse is out of the barn. She knows everything about "engineered" flooring installs now... wooohooo... I'll bet flat and level never came up when she was hiring. It's a remodel, my subs would work to existing conditions unless otherwise specified.

I know I should be pushing paper around, but on a remodel, I would actually meet my flooring sub onsite and express any concerns my experience (of pushing paper around, of course) may raise some flags about... I know I'm probably losing money over that move<G> We'd probably come to some solutions... or I might move on to someone else, hmmmm.

Wanda has a vacation site, which is probably remote, and the bidders probably never went there. She bought some flooring, gave them an address, and a check.

Wanda's pulling the relying on the mercy of strangers defense... didn't even always work for Scarlett O'Hara.

Wanda's was judgement impaired, now she wants someone else to pay for that.

And, judging from Wanda's other problems with this job, I'd have to put money on there's more to this than her side of the story.

Unless you're the judge, I don't see this as the cut and dried case you're portraying... of course, that's just my 2¢<G>

We'll have a kid
Or maybe we'll rent one
He's got to be straight
We don't want a bent one
He'll drink his baby brew
From a big brass cup
Someday he may be president
If things loosen up

The Village Woodworks, Inc

Chapel Hill, NC


We'll have a kid Or maybe we'll rent one He's got to be straight We don't want a bent one He'll drink his baby brew From a big brass cup Someday he may be president If things loosen up

(post #87351, reply #232 of 261)

Actually, after reading Wandas recent story, I think it more than cut and dried.

She bought a floor from a flooring store. They also sold her the installation and supplied the labor. The buck ends right there. They are the experts. They are the ones that need to follow the manufacturer's minimum standards regarding the subfloor. IF that floor was substandard, they should have stopped and notified her immediately and she then would have had to pay someone to make is suitable.

This is a slam dunk against the expert who laid the floor over an unsuitable substrate.

We, the trademen have to know our business if we are going to offer our services. The burden is placed on our shoulders. Wanda is a consumer, buying professional flooring products and installation. It is up to the installer to tell her that her floor isn't suitable.

Could you imagine how you'd feel if you were the installer and you had to tell the judge "I didn't know that the floor was not suitable, so I laid it anyways. " Would you really want to tell the judge that?

Is anybody out there? 

(post #87351, reply #233 of 261)

Wanda got shoddy work from two different contractors. I am not certain,however, how apparent the inadequate subfloor would have been to the flooring contractor. In any case (pun intended) the flooring installation stands on its own as an example of poor workmanship.

(post #87351, reply #235 of 261)

I am not certain,however, how apparent the inadequate subfloor would have been to the flooring contractor

I wouldn't want to be the subcontractor that stood up in front of the judge and said "the inadequate subfloor wasn't apparent to me".

Judge "Case closed! Uh.....weren't you supposed to check it before you installed your flooring?"

Is anybody out there? 

(post #87351, reply #241 of 261)

It seems obvious to me that the responsibility for the fiasco floor should be on the contractors who laid the sub and finish floors but some of the other posters here seem to ascribe part of the blame to Wanda.  Who knows what a judge would think after hearing both sides of the story? Maybe we will find out but I hope not. I hope the contractors step up, put in a few days work and the minimal amount of material required and Wanda gets a decent floor.

(post #87351, reply #242 of 261)

Hi guys,

The flooring company is ignoring me. I went into the store this morning to see if I could pick up the flooring they owed me. But unfortunately they didn't give me the time of day. Said the guy I wanted to talk to was in meetings. (how convenient) I'm being given the run-around.

Since leaving the store I've phoned 3 X  asking to speak with the guy in charge who promised to provide me with the extra flooring material to cover the boards that were damaged. (60sq.ft) I have left several messages for him to call me back. I told the man on the phone my installer needed some extra material and to get back to me as soon as possible. NO phone call! It's now 2:05pm in the afternoon.

Either they have the flooring or they don't. Obviously they don't have any left. But they are not going to come out and tell me that. Hopeing I'll just give up.

I phoned the Sales Halifax to see if he could try and get in touch with the guy.. To make a long storey short.. the Sales Rep. is  just passing the buck telling me there is nothing he can do. His company can't discipline an independent dealer. Isn't it nice to learn that one of the largest flooring distributors in Canada can't step in and help a customer. So much for their mission statement and ethics. Not good enough. Shame on them. Basically I'm being told it's between the me ( the customer) and the company to resolve the problem.

Here's what was sent to me Sept 4th/2009 by the Sales Representative from Halifax. Gee, I figured things had been worked out.

"Ms. W.

"I'm sending this email as a brief recount of our conversation this afternoon, confirming the arrangement made with Mr.H.  of (name of flooring company) to reinstall your hardwood flooring. The offer that was made by Mr. H was for them to go correct the installation mistakes that were made the first time, bringing in extra material to cover any boards that might be damaged in the process. Mr. P also confirmed that this would be done at no extra cost to you. "

"hopefully this installation will be successful and to your satisfaction. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any further questions."

It's over! Looks like they are not going to honour their agreement (verbal agreement). NO extra flooring for me. No transition pieces. They are not going to pay for the install either.

So far I have  paid out $7000 dollars for an engineered floor, vinyl flooring and transition pieces and now I have to fork over another $1200 plus to have my floor (properly) installed by a professional company here in town.

Talk about being screwed over.  I drove up to my summer home this morning to let the installer in and discoverd that my contractor (the one that attempted to level the floor) didn't replace the piece of plywood I asked him to replace yesterday. He just screwed the piece back down. (no doubt trying to save a bit of money)  I even had the piece marked ... REPLACE Darn, I should have thrown it in the junk pile. This contractor is no better than the rest of them. I would have been up to keep an eye on him yesterday but I was too busy I couldn't get away. Remember he's the same numbskull that used unpressurerized wood for my sill. I think that guy needs to go back to carpentry school!!!!! I could really rip his #### off!


(post #87351, reply #243 of 261)

"for them to go correct the installation mistakes"


Sounds to me as if it is YOU that is violating what was agreed to because you aren't letting THEM correct the installation.  He never agreed to give you whatever you wanted to allow you to fix the problem. 

ALthough, to be honest, I would probably give you 60 sq ft on the condition that you never call, stop in, look at or even drive by my business again.

(post #87351, reply #244 of 261)


Would you allow those hacks back in your premises to reinstall a floor after they completely botched the installation. Then wanted to blame their defective installation on a moisture problem. I think not.


(post #87351, reply #245 of 261)

I'm not quite sure I follow you now. What exactly are you wanting from them? Materials? It sounds like they are supposed to be fixing the installation mistakes, but you won't let them. If you are expecting them to pay another company to come in and fix it for you, you're dreaming. I wouldn't want them back in, but it sounds like that is what was agreed upon.

(post #87351, reply #247 of 261)


The company is now Claiming it's not the install but my subfloor that's the problem... So my question to them is ... Why didn't they check the subfloor before installing the floor????. Had they done that in the first place I wouldn't be in the situation I"m in now. What professional would lay a floor over a shoddy subfloor???????  They chose to go ahead with the installation.

I was willing to allow them to come in and reinstall the floor. But they had their installer come up last week and he said he wouldn't lay a floor over what's there. So I had another company come up to give me an opinion on the subfloor. He said the floor could be stapled down no problem.  Let's face it they are just trying to get out of paying for the install.

Bit late now to be claiming it's the subfloor. Before the installation of any hardwood flooring the installer must determine that the enviornment of the job site and the condition and type of subfloor involved is acceptable, ensuring, that it meets or exceeds all the requirements stipulated in the installation instructions. (are we all in agreement with that.. yes/no?

In my case the installer should have told me there was a problem. But instead he chose to move forward and install on a subfloor that was problematic.

1. wrong fasteners used

2. float-in installation completely nailed and only 60sqft glued.

3. no moisture test taken prior to laying the floor

4. foam underlayment missing in hallway and part of livingroom.

5. pattern laid out incorrectly.. stepping effect plus seams lining up.

6. No expansion gap

7. was asked to check the subfloor prior to installation to make sure it was up to standards.  Obviously the installer didn't inspect the floor very carefully

8. Since when do you nail through foam underlayment? a staple down installation requires rosin paper or 15lb asphalt felt. 

9. Brad nailing gun is not the right tool for the job. Spotnail stapler is recommended for  a staple- down- installation.

If that doesn't qualify as a  defective install I don't know what does.

The installer failed to perform his job. That's what is at the heart of the matter here.

I absolutely agree that true professionals "experts" don't do inferior installation and that the installer is ASSUMED to be knowledgeable.


(post #87351, reply #248 of 261)

Here in the states we can get a lawyer or at least I can, to write a letter to them for about $100.  I would suggest you try this.

(post #87351, reply #249 of 261)

What a mess!

There are various opinions on this site as there are on yours. I agree with you that the flooring company is at fault. I would have expected them to have noticed any issues with the sub floor before starting or barring that shortly after beginning at which point options (ie redo or press on) could have been discussed. I suppose the question is how apparent the sub floor inadequacies were. If the sub floor was not made out of tongue and groove plywood the long joints would tend to be uneven and flexible (unless blocking was installed underneath) which would be obvious. Flexibility of the floor should be apparent when one walked on the floor however an isolated soft spot might escape initial detection. Whether the sub floor is acceptable etc is, however, somewhat subjective in the context of a renovation (although manufacturers usually have standards).

In any event, as you have detailed, the flooring itself was installed in a manner which failed to comply with both standard practice and manufacturers specifications. This failure is the flooring installler's which they have recognized and hence have offered to relay the flooring. I fully understand any reluctance you have to continue relying on those who have proved untrustworthy in the past. Never-the-less you do need the missing flooring and as Cussnu2 said one would expect they would give it to you in exchange for an agreement severing the relationship. Perhaps as Frammer52 said you should get a lawyer to write them.

 As consumers we are all at the mercy of the professionals once we venture outside the fields of our expertise. What happened to you could  to any of us. Good luck.


(post #87351, reply #252 of 261)

Take the advice I gave you.  Call them and tell them you need 60 sq ft.  If they will give you that you'll never call them again.  Don't go over your soap opra litney.  Don't ramble on about what has been said or not said.  60 second conversation.  I would like 60 sq ft of flooring to match and you'll never hear from me again.  You may even have to offer to sign something absolving them of further liability for the installation.  Thats all you need to say.

If I were the owner, I'd jump on that in a heart beat.

Once this is over, you might want to sit peacefully with a nice drink and ask the question,

Why DOES this happen to me?

instead of

Why does this happen to ME?


(post #87351, reply #253 of 261)

Hello cussnu2,

The flooring company doesn't have 60sq ft of flooring material to give me.    Knowing there was a problem with the flooring they should have kept a few extra boxes aside.  When they made that verbal agreement on the phone I'm willing to bet they knew then they didn't have any extra material to replace the wood they damaged (60sqft.)

Perhaps that explains why they offered to install a 3/4" hardwood floor over a 1/2" plywood subfloor in a MOISTURE ridden environment. Desperate for me to except that deal. Told me the problem with my flooring was due to moisture but yet wanted to install a solid HARDWOOD floor for me. That makes no sense whatsoever... until you put all the pieces of the puzzle together. Obviously They weren't going to admit they didn't have enough material to replace the 60sqft they  damaged due to an improper install.

AFter SEVERAL phone calls yesterday( the store wasn't getting back to me I had to phone and phone and phone) Finally.. they told me they had 40sqft and could possibly find another 20sqft. So I went in to the store to pick up the material only to be told that they only had 32sq ft. The man thought there was 20sqft in each box... miscalculation on his part.. wouldn't be the first time!  The man also said the wood was sold awhile ago. WHAT???? now that changes everything.

Seems those men can't keep their stories straight. Earlier in the morning I was told by the other co-owner to let him know how much sq ft I needed because he was laying the flooring in a house and therefore wanted to know how much I needed. I told him I needed 120sqft.  why didn't he tell me  while I had him on the phone that he didn't have the flooring . What lies!

The pieces of the puzzle are slowly coming together. I know of 5 other people who have had problems with this company. There are other flooring companies around town that know about this company



Edited 9/16/2009 10:53 am by Wanda200

(post #87351, reply #254 of 261)

Maybe you can do a border (or another type of design) in a different species of wood flooring to make up for the missing material. It might be easier than trying to mess with the hallway.

(post #87351, reply #255 of 261)

Hello sisyphus,

Turns out the installer had enough flooring to finish up the job. Lucky for me.

Take a look at these pictures of the finished floor and tell me what you think. I think the man did a pretty darn good job.

Note: the floor is now running perpendicular to the joists (across the width of the room) and it has been stapled down instead of floated.  Before it was installed perpendicular to the large window running the length of the room and not perpendicular to the joists.





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(post #87351, reply #256 of 261)


(post #87351, reply #257 of 261)


The main question is, are YOU happy?

Did you give hima cup of coffee? :o)

(post #87351, reply #246 of 261)

It doesn't matter what you want.  They never agreed to let you hire someone else to come in and fix it.

They agreed to come in and fix and now you don't want to adhere to that.  Its your choice not to take them up on what they agreed to.

Your options.

#1 Let them do what they agreed to

#2 Try to sue them but the judge isn't going to be overly impressed that they offered to fix it and you won't let them especially if they are a well known store with hundreds of satisfactory installs under their belt.  "Your honor, I've been in business for 20 years.  We have done thousands of installations.  This is the first time we have been sued.  We offered to reinstall the flooring and she refused."  You've even admitted they are recongized as the experts in the area and the first one that comes to mind for flooring. 

#3 Go pound sand

Somehow, I get the feeling your whole life has been a soap opra.  I also get the impression you are trying to make a silk purse out of a sows ear on a beer budget.  Hows that for mixed metaphors?

Best of luck but I think they made their last best offer.


(post #87351, reply #234 of 261)

 We could probably have fixed the whole floor in less time than has spent collectively posting and reading about it.

I often work with a carpenter who used to live in Newfoundland (province of Wanda's "adventure") he says it is beautiful there. He also has made derogatory remarks about some of their local craftmanship.