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Old 10-29-2012, 12:48 PM   #1
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I am a long time user of Cork Flooring. Our first was unfinished and we had to apply our own coatings. Recently, I purchased US Floor prefinished cork flooring. The Cork Flooring purchased and install in our Kitchen. Within three months of installation, virtually the entire floor had small bubbles on it. Drops of water caused cork flooring to bubble. Advertisements did not warn again exposure of this type. Floor inspected by a US Floor inspector and cited cause to be scratches in the surface that allowed moisture to get into the floor. This is an inaccurate statement as the floor clearly does not have any scratches. Drops of water penetrated the surface and caused the floor to bubble in spots. When purchased we asked if finishing is recommended and were told NO, that the finish was life time. Nowhere did US Floor state that it was not useable in a Kitchen or bath, or any wet area where this WILL happen. I called and asked for reconsideration and was summarily told that no reconsideration would be done and it did not matter that the report was incorrect in that if water was on the surface of the material, it was not covered. Nowhere does it state this. I feel that we were deceived by the advertising and by a warranty process that involves tests superior to what is advertised. Clearly this floor needed an additional protection layer but when asked, I was told this would void the warranty. The effect was by not protecting this floor with another coat, the floor was not even water resistant, much less water proof.

I love cork flooring but be advised, USFLOORS will not warranty your floor if it bubbles from water drops getting on it. They also prohibit additional finishes so this is kind of a buyer beware. I suspect this might be true with all their flooring since I was informed that the same finish goes on all their flooring so you decide.

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Old 10-29-2012, 02:28 PM   #2
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If you have all the paper work, guarantee, installation instructions etc and it does indeed state or not state as you say, you could take um to court. Cost of kitchen area should be in limit of small claims. You might wanta buy a carton of same product take it to court unopened in case they say you didn't read tiny little piece of what appeared to be packaging pad. Might wanta buy two cartons and open one and search for that. Read everything even small print on carton. Return um to store afterwards.
Guarantee probably says they won't pay for original installation, removal or installation of new, but I'd sue um for that as well as cost of original materials.

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Old 10-29-2012, 02:49 PM   #3
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May want to bring a copy of there ad where it says life time warrenty on finish.
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Old 10-29-2012, 03:14 PM   #4
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I don't have experience with cork, but I have plenty with wood, pre and post finish. I have found that the factory applied finish (with wood i've installed) is an aluminum oxide finish that is 1. VERY durable - nearly impossible to scratch, and 2. Incredibly hard on a saw blade as a result.

The only disadvantage I have found with prefinish, is the joint between the board isn't sealed like it is with a post finish where you're applying a liquid to the surface of an installed floor - which is better for permeability.

Is this problem happening at the joints, or in the middle of a prefinished piece?
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Old 10-29-2012, 03:39 PM   #5
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that inspector is pulling your leg. cork is naturally waterproof, think of wine bottles. that is what makes it good for kitchens. are you sure you have cork floors or do you have engineered cork floors or laminate cork floors? the water may have caused an inferior finish to bubble but it should have no effect on the cork itself. here is most of the info you need to know about cork

http://nfpimports.com/faq.html

Last edited by DannyT; 10-29-2012 at 03:50 PM.
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Old 10-29-2012, 04:55 PM   #6
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" bring a copy of there ad" good point, ads are considered to be contracts. Ads do not have to include warnings, but if a claim or offer is made in ad it is part of contract. You fulfill your end of contract by purchasing product based on claims.

You may need an independent inspection to verify "no scratches" or at least very good photos. A lot of them. Did " US Floor Inspecter" take photos? Take photos of same area. " When purchased we asked if finishing is recommended and were told NO, that the finish was life time." This may be hard claim to back up, who told you this?
If it doe have lifetime guarantee, how did it get scratched?

You do not have to let inspector back into home, no matter what their attorney may say, they have made their inspection. remember inspector works for them not you, he wants to keep his boss happy, not you.

You could even take a few of the 'scratched" pieces to court, if you can get them up without more damage.

Ok, we changed fonts. So sue me, I didn't start it.
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Old 10-29-2012, 06:58 PM   #7
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I have often specified cork for installation in client kitchens and have never heard of anything like this. Granted, I have never used products from US Floor but the story they are spinning you does not sound right and is certainly not typical of any floor I had put in. As mentioned, cork itself would not be damaged by water although you might get discoloration.

The company I use most puts on several coats of factory finish and warrants the product, even for wet areas, accordingly. They highly recommend a final coat of their finish post installation as well.

I would pursue this if you have the energy. I hate jumping to litigation for everything but yours is a situation where if there is nothing to indicate you should not have installed and used the product as you did? I should think you would have a good case.

In many states you can, and in fact may have to, handle small claims actions yourself. The process is fairly easy and forgiving of errors. Every court has different ceilings on amounts and fee recovery too.

Sometimes a strongly worded letter from an attorney can serve as a loud enough "shot across the bow" to get resolution too.
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Old 10-30-2012, 04:05 AM   #8
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What type of substrate did you go over?

If you went over concrete did you perform a moisture test on the slab?

Is the cork floating, or direct glued to the substrate? If it is glued did you use the manufacturer recommended adhesive?

Do the bubbles that you speak of look clear like they're sprouting out and away from the cork?

Or is the cork a thin veneer over a backer plank that houses the edge locking mechanism?

If it is a cork veneer is it the cork that is seperating and bubbling away from the backer plank? If you answer yes to this question then get your head right down next to one of the bubbles and push it.. listen closely. Do you hear any sort of a sticky, or sticking sound? Does the bubble temporarily sit back down on the backer plank? This would indicate an adhesive failure in the product itself.

I have enough first hand experience with cork to know that the manufacturer is full of it. We've installed cork in a number of areas, including most of the main floor of a home that included a grand entry into the home. Think about all of the junk, slush, water, etc. that a family tracks into an entry area year round. I went back a couple of years after installation to look at another project and the cork still looked very nice. Suffice it to say, it's not normal for a prefinished cork floor to start bubbling if/when you get some water drops on it. If that was the case nobody in their right mind would ever use it since any spilled liquid, dog accident, or wet shoes hurrying into the house would destroy the floor.
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Old 10-30-2012, 11:45 AM   #9
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This just doesn't sound legit. For one, US Floors does not sell direct to the end user. Why are you dealing with them directly on warranty issues. You should be dealing with the company you bought it from. US Floors does indeed allow for a coat of acrylic urethane such as Bona Traffic over the completed installation. From the factory, this stuff has micro ceramic bead urethane on it. It's extremely durable. US Floors also applies a paraffin oil to all the edges of their moisture resistant core board on the floating products. Was this bought from a reputable dealer and professionally installed? Proper moisture barrier if installed over concrete or a damp area? I've dealt with US Floors for years and on the rare occasion something is wrong, which is usually damage during shipping, the product is replaced immediately.
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:59 AM   #10
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" dealing with them directly" Usually a factory rep won't even show up until you've exhausted possibilities with dealer and or installer. A rep did show up at any rate.
And the verdict was "scratches" There may indeed be problems due to substarate, moisture barrir etc etc. But USF says scratches. They may attempt a run around, come back and say it is one of the faulty installations. That's why I said they don't have to be allowed to reinspect.(This seems to be DYI installation.) Even legitimate companies will keep coming back with more excuses. ( Witness mid 90's Chrysler auto paint fiasco.)

"Drops ow water caused cork flooring to bubble." This does seem to be a finish problem, if water from above, resting on surface, is causing bubbling. Scratches? Could be, but from what cause? Before or after purchase and installation? This is why OP needs paper work,photos, other verification. And some of the flooring that was kept for patching? Hasn't been used, maybe still in carton? Test a small piece with judicious small drops of water? Check for scratches on it.

"... Drops of water caused cork flooring to bubble

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