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ajdepaul 11-02-2011 04:52 PM

Installers Glued when they were supposed to Float!
We hired a local reputable company to install duraceramic tile in a floating fashion over our existing hardwood in our home. We chose, upon the advice of the dealer, the floating installation so as not to destroy the hardwood underneath because we wanted to have the ability to someday pull the tile up and keep the wood for resale value. Also, with the unstable substructure and movement of individual wood planks which are 2", the tile would be best to float (as described by the owner of the company who we went with). Well the other day we called them because of buckling in the tiles between two rooms and hair line cracking in the grout all over the 1600 sq ft area. When they came to fix we discovered that they glued down the tile to our hardwood throughout the install. Now, not only is our tile floor compromised and the grout issue will most likely get worse but our hardwood underneath is damaged and I don't even know if it is salvageable. What should I do with this? The owner knows he screwed up as we had a contract in writing for floating installation and said he would be in contact but I don't even know what I should ask for when we do talk.
Sorry for the long post.

rusty baker 11-02-2011 04:57 PM

I would consult with an attorney. That could be an expensive fix.

Bud Cline 11-02-2011 04:58 PM

First of all let me ask...

HOW does one install Duraceramic in a floating floor fashion? Tell me how it is done because I don't know and I have been installing Duraceramic since the stuff hit the streets.

Then also tell me how one installs Duraceramic directly over a hardwood floor without first using an underlayment because I also don't have an answer to that question.:)

Then (thirdly) tell me what it is that makes this company a "reputable" company because even using my vivid imagination I can't answer that question either.:)

Man am I dumb!:)

ajdepaul 11-02-2011 06:10 PM

First of all thanks for the response.

There is a product from congoleum called Underflor with one O. That allows it to float. We did research to see if it was correct that you can float it and we found you could. Also the dealer said he did many installs with it.
The company subbed out the install and as I found out this group that did our floors was not their typical subs. They were overflow due to how busy they were at the time.

I am at a loss on this. I'm sure they will try to offer some kind of contract that says they will fix the wood if we tear it up but that might be 15 years down the road. Who knows if they will be in business. I feel like the only real way to fix this is to tear it up, fix the wood now and relay the tile properly but I don't want the construction and dust in my house right now.

ajdepaul 11-02-2011 06:10 PM

Oh and to your second question they literally spread adhesive on the hardwood and just laid the tile on it.

Bud Cline 11-02-2011 06:17 PM

I have never heard of the system you talk about (Underflor) so it's news to me.

I doubt you are going to salvage the wood floor. The adhesive used for the Duraceramic is a high-powered contact adhesive and it's going to be a helluva mess getting all of that very aggressive adhesive off of the old wood and out of the cracks in the wood. I personally think your finished but others here may have different ideas, I didn't know what Underflor was.

Typically you wouldn't install Duraceramic directly over a hardwood floor without first installing a sheet-type underlayment of plywood to my knowledge. Not sure what Congoleum has to say about it.:)

We'll see what Rusty thinks beyond calling a lawyer.:)

rusty baker 11-02-2011 06:52 PM

Bud, you know far more about this stuff than me.

Bud Cline 11-02-2011 06:56 PM


Bud, you know far more about this stuff than me.
I know I hate the stuff and I know it does not perform as advertised, and I know when failures begin Congoleum isn't exactly Johnny-on-the-spot to stand behind it as their warranty would suggest.

But those aren't the issues here. I think the whole bunch in this case should be sued right down to the very last guy that was there.:yes:

rusty baker 11-02-2011 07:05 PM

I would imagine the hardwood will need to be replaced.

ben's plumbing 11-02-2011 07:25 PM

sorry to here of you problem...this is why I don"t use sub contractors we have been remodeling for 30 yrs and as bud said never install duraceramic over a wood floor with out some kind underlayment 1st...may i suggest that they lift there work at there have the wood floor refinished at there cost....then have a flooring company install your floor at there cost.....if they don"t agree call a lawyer and come to terms...again sorry you have to deal with this type of workmenship........ just a thougth are they the contractor insured????

Bud Cline 11-02-2011 07:29 PM

I have to admit that I have learned something today. I looked up the "Underflor" system and that is unbelievable. It is nothing more that a plastic coated paper that is loose-laid on the dry floor and then Duraceramic is glued to the paper. Disgraceful.

I had no idea such a technique even existed.:no:

ben's plumbing 11-02-2011 07:52 PM

hey bud I have to agree again found the same information on underflor never to old to learn.just to old to agree.ben

ajdepaul 11-02-2011 07:59 PM

The Underflor was more like a vinyl than a paper. Glad I can contribute some type of info albeit bad product info. I wish I would have consulted this forum before we did it.

What's done is done though. I really don't want to bring this to court if I don't have to. We like the look of the floor, the feel of the floor, etc... Just stinks that our wood is ruined.

ajdepaul 11-02-2011 08:00 PM

And that the grout is cracking... Not going to get better I am assuming.

Bud Cline 11-02-2011 08:53 PM

In one respect the problem is the concrete in the Congoleum exhibit. Concrete is never plane. It can't be. The installation techniques and state-of-the-art equipment available today still isn't good enough to plane the concrete floor. In any case the plane would have to be perfect for the tiles to lay flat on the [paper/plastic] Underflor.

In the case of the OP, the hardwood will move and disrupt the grout. The Duraceramic grout is somewhat flexible but non-the-less the wood expands and contracts enough to tear the grout away from the tiles. This is where I would have used plywood to unitize the hardwood and stopped the movement. But of course that would also ruin the hardwood in this case but the Duraceramic would be in tact. Truth is the hardwood shouldn't be there at all.

It's hard to honestly discuss any of this without being critical of the OP's installation and for that I apologize. I can promise you that even had the Duraceramic been installed over the Underflor product and the Duraceramic would have "floated" over the moving hardwood there would still have been enough movement to disrupt the installation simply because the hardwood moves in all directions and not all slats move at the same time. There are many many demonstrations out there in the flooring world that prove the sellers just don't get it.:) You wouldn't think flooring would be that technical but in reality all floor covering is.:)

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