Engineered Hardwood Over Vinyl Tile - Am I Being Unreasonable Or Am I Getting Screwed - Flooring - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum


Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Flooring

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-25-2014, 10:12 AM   #1
Newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10
Rewards Points: 10
Angry

Engineered hardwood over vinyl tile - am I being unreasonable or am I getting screwed


Sorry for the long intro!

Am I being unreasonable or am I getting screwed?
Engineered hardwood flooring disaster.

After looking for a long time, my wife and I finally decided to buy our new flooring from a long established flooring place in a small community close to us.
We prefer getting products and services locally if possible, even if the price is always higher than at the big box stores.
Since we wanted a nice, solid floor, we definitely wanted it stapled or nailed.

The owner of the store came out, measured and gave us a quote. There are about 840 square feet in total.
Downstairs we have a traditional subfloor (5/8 plywood on 2x4s) on concrete floor. Of the two rooms downstairs, the larger one has old, hard vinyl tiles glued on it,
the sub floor in the second room was just recently replaced and brought up to the same height as the rest.
Upstairs the floor is 5/8 plywood - dining room and hall and also two small bedrooms. The two small bedrooms have peel + stick vinyl tiles, the dining room and hall had old laminate flooring.
It was agreed, that I will remove all the baseboard molding and the old laminate flooring upstairs. I asked if any problems under the laminate will arise and if fixing those problems would be included in the installation
and he said "yes" within reason.
I did all the work I had agreed to do.

When the owner of the flooring store delivered the 24 boxes of 3/8x3" of Mannington Maple, I showed him my preparations and he said that everything looked very good.
At that time, I still had the foam underlay, which was underneath the laminate, on the floor, because I thought that the new engineered floor can go right over top of it.
He agreed with that and also said that the peel + stick tiles in the two small rooms can stay on as well.
A couple of days before the floor installers arrived, I noticed that when I was walking on the old foam underlay, that some boards were a bit loose and the floor was squeaking,
So I started putting some screws into the floor to pull the floor boards down. Once I started doing that, now some of the original nails were coming up under the foam
and some of the old filler was breaking up and chunks were now stuck under the foam. The main reason for wanting to leave the foam on, was because it was actually stuck well
to the floor boards, because in the past this floor also had some sort of sticky tiles were the foam underlay was now, because I could see the 12x12 outlines.

Well, I thought I might as well get all the foam off, so no chunks and nails were sticking up and the installers don't have to spend their time to do it and I did not mind doing it.
It was a terrible and exhausting job! Over two days I spent about eight hours scraping as much of the foam off as possible (by hand), setting nails and adding more floor screws.

First day of new hardwood floor installation:
After some measuring and calculations the first boards were going to be nailed on downstairs, over the old hard vinyl tiles.
It did not take long to realize that the nails were bouncing off the hard vinyl below. Different things were tried, nails, staples, shorter nails - nothing worked.
"Maybe a heavier gage nail will work" they said and came back next day with stronger brad nails. Already on the first try it was obvious that this is not going to work.

"You'll have to get a different floor - maybe a laminate or an engineered hardwood click floor". They left and when I later talked to the owner, he told me that this floor can also be glued or floated.
The installer had already told me, that nothing will stick to this kind of vinyl, not even PL Premium, so glueing the new floor won't work. The owner and I agreed that we'll now "float" the new floor,
which is actually what I did not want in the first place, but agreed anyway, because my wife and I really liked this floor and had looked for a long time to find this one.
I would not have to pay extra for the under-pad, that is required now for floating the floor.

Okay, so next say the installers (floor installer with 30+years experience and a young helper) started the installation (nailing) upstairs, while we were waiting for the under-pad to arrive a few days later.
Originally I was told that it would take about four days for the installation - total cost for material and labour CAN $ 7,200.00 (840 square feet , 3/8 engineered hardwood).
After working upstairs for two days now, less than 50% upstairs is done. The installer told me that the job is not going very well, because of humps and bumps - the floor is not flat,
and so fitting the boards together is difficult. But, he assured me, my floor is not that different from most other floors.

Another problem was that the nails going through the tongue were splintering the tongue underneath and he would have to scape those splinters off, before being able to get the next board on. I could see this for myself and felt sorry for them,
that their job upstairs was not going well either.
On the morning of the fifth day I actually looked at my partially finished new floor a bit closer ( I like to leave contractors to themselves, I would not want to be watched all the time either)
and right away saw a very noticeable hump in one spot. I put a level across and I have a huge gap on both sides.
The thin new floor boards are following the contour of the floor. I don't know if any sanding was done to the floor underneath - definitely no leveling was done.
I have never done any hardwood flooring, but I think that before laying down boards, should the floor not get leveled, or at least made flat first? Is that unreasonable? When I told the owner on the phone yesterday, that I was not very happy with the wave in the floor and how obvious it was, he said:
"Well, you must have a structural problem." If I do, I think I should have been made aware of that before they started nailing boards to the floor - is that unreasonable?
I have not checked all the work that was done so far, just the last section, because the rest has been covered over with cardboard and protective foam. I don't believe that there is a structural problem, the floor is just old (1970's).
For some reason it seems that I am getting screwed every time I have a major job done - that's why I asked a lot of questions in the store when we picked out the floor. I'm always unhappy with the work I am getting done,
whether it's a new furnace, patio, eavestrough, etc.. The only difference this time and in my favor is that through circumstance we have not paid down any money yet. I always have a hard time dealing with these kinds of problems.
Do I let them take all the material out and get a different installer? They already put quite a bit of the flooring down and I surely would feel bad about that. Because the job was going poorly, the installer already told me that they won't be making any money on this job - not my problem, of course.
Anyway, I would really appreciate some insights or suggestions not just for handling the situation, but also to help remedy my floor problems.
Thank you very much.

Advertisement

photopeter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2014, 10:46 AM   #2
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: NC
Posts: 163
Rewards Points: 150
Default

Engineered hardwood over vinyl tile - am I being unreasonable or am I getting screwed


I am not a flooring expert, just a DIY homeowner. I would not let these guys back in my house. How much of the 7k have you paid them? A "wavy" floor is totally unacceptable, but I would not have these guys fix it. Do some research and hire someone that knows what they are doing. Or learn to do it yourself.

Advertisement

joemontana16 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2014, 04:15 PM   #3
Member
 
Jb1234's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Chicago-area, il
Posts: 123
Rewards Points: 81
Default

Engineered hardwood over vinyl tile - am I being unreasonable or am I getting screwed


......
Jb1234 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2014, 07:26 PM   #4
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Ontario
Posts: 858
Rewards Points: 624
Default

Engineered hardwood over vinyl tile - am I being unreasonable or am I getting screwed


I am also just a DIY homeowner, but that does not sound right.

You know what they say, if all else fails, read the instructions. If you do not have a hardcopy, you can find them here: http://www.mannington.com/~/media/Fi...n%20Guide.ashx

I did a quick read, and they are being very generous. They allow 1/4" in 10 feet out of flat. I would have expected the first thing the installers would do is to pull their straight-edge and check the flatness of the floor. Foundations settle over time, and wood joists distort --- its a fact of life, it does not mean your house has strange structural issues. When I did my floor I leveled it, but I understand that shimming with felt paper or shingles is very common.

We have some pros here that can offer better advise than I can, but I expect they will say that the FIRST thing they do when they start a job is check out the sub-floor.
SPS-1 is online now   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to SPS-1 For This Useful Post:
oh'mike (01-25-2014)
Old 01-25-2014, 07:32 PM   #5
Member
 
woodman58's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Blackwell, Missouri
Posts: 454
Rewards Points: 250
Default

Engineered hardwood over vinyl tile - am I being unreasonable or am I getting screwed


Add more When installing any wood floor the wood will follow the floor underneath. Normally this is not very drastic. As a hardwood installer, I do not fix sub-floor problems. This is not my trade. I will always point out any problems I think will be a problem with the installation. If I do not feel that I can do a good job, then I will pull off the job. I have them contact a carpenter of their choice or I will give them a # of one that I have used in the past that I know they can fix the problem to my satisfaction.
When installing wood, there are very few products that can be used to bring a floor to flat. With engineered there are even fewer things to use because of the short staples or nails. The only thing that can be done is take up the plywood in the bad area and fix the joist that is making it high or low.
The installer should have stopped the job and informed you of the problem before continuing the installation. They should not have to pay for fixing the floor, but they should remove the bad area so it can be addressed. They also should pay for any wood needed to finish the job. Keep their money until you are happy!
I am not a big fan of box stores, but if you have a problem they will fix it no matter what the circumstances. I used to work for one of them.
__________________



I LOVE THE SMELL OF SAWDUST IN THE MORNING!

Last edited by woodman58; 01-25-2014 at 07:38 PM. Reason: add more text
woodman58 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2014, 10:47 PM   #6
Newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10
Rewards Points: 10
Default

Engineered hardwood over vinyl tile - am I being unreasonable or am I getting screwed


Thank you all for the information so far. At least I know now that I am not out of line. It is hard to fix this kind of potentially large problem, when one is already in the middle of laying the floor.
If they had checked the floor first and informed me of the problems, I could have addressed them right away and they could just have postponed the job for a few days or a week. I would not expect them to fix the problem or to pay for it, I would have gladly done that if I ended up with a better looking floor later. I still think that at least some improvement could have been achieved, by sanding and leveling - at least then I would have felt that some of the problem was at least somewhat addressed and a wave in the floor would then be easier to accept.
photopeter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2014, 06:44 AM   #7
Member
 
woodman58's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Blackwell, Missouri
Posts: 454
Rewards Points: 250
Default

Engineered hardwood over vinyl tile - am I being unreasonable or am I getting screwed


A 5/8" floor is to thin to sand anything off the top. If you were using 3/4" flooring it could be done. But, not with 3/8". Your floor would be spongy. It sounded like the floor was more than 1/4" in 10' out of level. If it's not then I would not worry about it unless it bothered you a lot.
__________________



I LOVE THE SMELL OF SAWDUST IN THE MORNING!
woodman58 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2014, 07:39 AM   #8
Newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10
Rewards Points: 10
Default

Engineered hardwood over vinyl tile - am I being unreasonable or am I getting screwed


Thank you, woodman58.
I now believe that your first suspicion is correct. There must be a problem with the joists, so it would be a structural problem after all.
Like I said, too bad nobody pointed that out to me before they started laying down the new floor. When the old laminate floor was still in, there was always a spot that seemed to be low in one area when I was walking over it, but I never really paid much attention to it and always thought, we'll get it fixed when we get a new floor. I even pointed it out to the owner when he first came over to quote the job. I was told then, that they have some sort of thin set underlay to fix problems like this.
By the way, the dip I have now in the floor is way more that a 1/4 inch over 10 feet. If I put down a 4 foot level, I have 3/4 of an inch dip on the right hand side of the level.
photopeter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2014, 08:39 AM   #9
Member
 
Jb1234's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Chicago-area, il
Posts: 123
Rewards Points: 81
Default

Engineered hardwood over vinyl tile - am I being unreasonable or am I getting screwed


I originally typed a long winded answer, then deleted after I thought the post was old so I wouldn't look stupid. Lol. Yes the advice above is correct. The installer should have used a long level and made sure the floor was flat to the manufacturers specs. The installers sounded like hacks who gave you misinformation and do not know how to follow specs. When this floor fails the manufacturer's warranty won't back it because of the shoddy install.

My advice is before you have ANY work done and any product installed, you pull up the products spec sheet and see how it should be installed and what the specs are even if you aren't doing the install. As an example of the above, if you did, you would have seen that foam needed to have come up, and with a $20 6ft level you would have seen your floor was out if level and out of spec. 30 mins and 20 bucks on your end would have saved you all this frustration.

Last edited by Jb1234; 01-26-2014 at 08:45 AM.
Jb1234 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2014, 08:52 AM   #10
Member
 
Jb1234's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Chicago-area, il
Posts: 123
Rewards Points: 81
Default

Engineered hardwood over vinyl tile - am I being unreasonable or am I getting screwed


Also take pictures of everything. It's also your house, it doesn't matter what they have covered, pull it up and photograph it. I would not pay them, they are doing an improper install. It would be like paying for an oil change in a car and they put water in instead of oil. Not only would you not pay for the oil change, but they will be responsible for returning your car to its original operating condition. It's your house and your money, don't be afraid to take charge and get educated.
Jb1234 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2014, 09:12 AM   #11
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Ontario
Posts: 858
Rewards Points: 624
Default

Engineered hardwood over vinyl tile - am I being unreasonable or am I getting screwed


Quote:
Originally Posted by photopeter View Post
If I put down a 4 foot level, I have 3/4 of an inch dip on the right hand side of the level.
If one end of the level is in mid-air, I don't think you are measuring it properly. With the level touching the floor on two high points, out-of-flat is gap in between. 4' level is rather short for this, but a tight string does the job too.

(I had to correct this post. I used the term "level", which is common. But to be accurate, what you need is "flat". As far as the flooring goes, it does not matter if your whole floor is on a slope, so long as it is flat.)

Last edited by SPS-1; 01-26-2014 at 09:16 AM.
SPS-1 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2014, 09:19 AM   #12
Member
 
woodman58's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Blackwell, Missouri
Posts: 454
Rewards Points: 250
Default

Engineered hardwood over vinyl tile - am I being unreasonable or am I getting screwed


Do not let them use thin set or any type of leveling compound. As I stated before, the 1" to 1 1/4" nails will not have enough bite in the wood floor. With 3/8" flooring you can only fix the floor to get it right.
__________________



I LOVE THE SMELL OF SAWDUST IN THE MORNING!
woodman58 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2014, 09:52 AM   #13
Member
 
Jb1234's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Chicago-area, il
Posts: 123
Rewards Points: 81
Default

Engineered hardwood over vinyl tile - am I being unreasonable or am I getting screwed


Flooring, like almost anything in the house, will only be as good as the base you have to work with. If you have badly crowned wall studs, you'll be fighting to drywall. Peeling paint, you can't just paint over without prep. The list can go on. If the beginning stages start bad, the project will only get worse. I do 90% of my own work and I'm incredibly anal when I read what the tolerances are for whatever I'm installing. Never just hope for the best. Also never allow a contractor to blow smoke. This contractor was cutting corners and was hoping to fool you with your lack of knowledge base.

So give us some updates, where's this project at so far?

Last edited by Jb1234; 01-26-2014 at 10:18 AM.
Jb1234 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2014, 04:51 PM   #14
Newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10
Rewards Points: 10
Default

Engineered hardwood over vinyl tile - am I being unreasonable or am I getting screwed


I don't know how to add photos here, but here is a link to four photos on Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/36603539@N07/12160118825/
photopeter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2014, 05:19 PM   #15
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: SW Ohio
Posts: 407
Rewards Points: 258
Default

Engineered hardwood over vinyl tile - am I being unreasonable or am I getting screwed


Just saw the pics - wow, yup your floor is definitely not flat! The bad news is if you install your engineered wood floor over that subfloor, the light shining on your floor will show the high and low points on the floor and that will bug you. Worse - the more you walk on it, the more it will flex and move and creak and groan until the tongue and grooves will eventually split and then you're in trouble. Hate to say it, but time to pull up the flooring and fix the subfloor.

Advertisement

spaceman spif is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
engineered hardwood , floor , sub floor , vinyl tiles


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Vinyl tile over hardwood removal twostuds Flooring 0 06-12-2012 11:19 PM
Tile to Hardwood Transition politronics Flooring 7 11-29-2011 05:55 PM
Another Knucklehead Considers Laying Tile Over Vinyl Flooring tacklingherlist Flooring 14 08-27-2011 12:13 AM
tile over hardwood floors MnMan Flooring 1 07-30-2008 06:39 PM
Vinyl tile over luan? irishghandi Flooring 1 03-08-2006 03:46 PM




Top of Page | View New Posts