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Old 03-31-2014, 10:59 AM   #1
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some advice please regarding flooring issues - possibly have to involve a lawyer :(


My mother-in-law had her condo done over in Engineered flooring. It was installed over concrete as a floating floor. After a couple weeks, there started to appear a few small hairline cracks here and there. She contacted them and they said they would come out and take a look. They put her off for a few weeks and in that time, more and deeper cracks appeared. They finally came out to look and told her that it's not their fault and that the humidity in the apartment wasn't right and that was causing the issues. She battled with them and finally after months of arguing and emailing etc, they came to replace the half dozen or so cracked boards. They did a terrible job with this. The boards are uneven, there are large gaps between planks in areas that have been filled in by filler, the replacement boards have enough shade variation that it looks terrible, and the floor is still cracking in new areas. I went by there shortly after they made the humidity accusation and used my hygrometer to test the humidity - 44%. Besides, isn't it the installers job to ensure the worksite is ready and proper? Several of her friends have had floors installed in the building with sparkling results. She's been fighting with them to come replace the newly cracked boards but they are saying they are "done helping". I went by there yesterday and found that not only are the boards cracking, but in several areas the floor is cupping. I also noticed that the terribly installed shoe molding was nailed into the concrete underlayment, not the existing baseboard and it's pulling out in several places. I Took up some of the shoe molding and there are expansion gaps in that area, but I haven't by any stretch looked at every wall as I'm hesitant to remove too much of the shotty work before possible legal inspection. Also, I noticed that they inexplicably placed the kitchen boards in the opposite direction as the rest of house, necessitating the use of thresholds when otherwise a continuous flowing floor could have been had.

My questions are as follows: What are some of the possible issues that could be wrong with the install to cause this? My first thought was acclimation... they didn't open the boxes until install day, but I understand that engineered flooring doesn't need to be acclimated? What else could be wrong? I didn't notice any foam underlayment, could that be an issue?

What is the best way to handle this? She doesn't have much money for a lawyer but needs to protect her investment. Should she hire a private inspector of some kind? Should she get a lawyer first and have the lawyer provide an inspector?
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Old 03-31-2014, 12:11 PM   #2
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Some photos would help. It sounds like they didn't leave any room for expansion around the perimeter of the floor. Product details will also help.
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Old 03-31-2014, 02:50 PM   #3
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Sounds like multiple problems. Possibly defective product and bad installers. How long did it take for the cracking to start (from install date)? What type of engineered product? What type of underlayment? Pictures will help the experts here help you.
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Old 03-31-2014, 03:12 PM   #4
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To sue, you would probably need a flooring inspector. They can be pricey, but you would most likely get the fee back if you won in court.
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Old 03-31-2014, 06:30 PM   #5
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I would contact the manufacturer to see if they would send a rep out.
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Old 04-04-2014, 09:28 AM   #6
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The flooring was BR111 Brazilian Cherry engineered hardwood.

http://www.lumberliquidators.com/ll/...2516S/10021845


Pictures are up Here:

https://flooringpics.shutterfly.com/pictures#n_5

Thanks guys!






Also - found some reviews mentioning very similar (and some way more disturbing) issues.


Member Comments:
It was a horrible nightmare. The installers showed up at 8 am and didn't leave until 10:30 pm. What they left me with was, large scratches on the new floor they installed, my furniture was piled in a corner in the rooms. Saw dust and wood left everywhere, I was up until midnight picking up debris and sweeping and still didn't finish with cleaning up after them because I had to go to work the next day. They left a huge pile of saw dust on my lawn which killed my grass. They dented my refrigerator and didn't pay for the damages, they left a huge hole in my wall. The repair on the hole was them stuffing the hole with so much plaster it bulged out of the wall. I was told it would diminish once dried, it didn't. Some of my door moldings were damaged and you can tell where the installers tried to hammer them back in. Needless to say, it has to be repaired. They somehow sliced my gas line for my stove which cost $430 to get a plumber down to repair, they did pay for that. They also cut my cable line. The most disgusting thing they did is leave a splatter of human crap on my bathroom wall where one of the installers got sick and no one cleaned up the mess. This nightmare continued when I reported all that occured and the owners of Milford didn't believe me, luckily I took pictures. After about 1 1/2 months they finally agreed to come and repair the damages but instead left me more angry as to the repair jobs would have been better if I did them myself. One of the floor boards was lifting and when they tried to repair it they chipped the board next to it and filled it with wood putty. Who does that? This can't be an isolated incident. I would understand if they came to do the repairs and did them in a professional manner. I don't understand why repairs made things worst instead of better. I would never recommend this company to anyone. I forgot to mention that they pieced the bullnose on the stepdown to go into the dining room, it looks horrible. This is such an amatures job. I have a 5 inch trim molding at the bottom of my stairs where they left a huge chip, they tried to fix it with wood putty. The putty is the wrong color and does not fill the chip, also looks horrible. So even though the bill was $5,400, it cost me so much more in the long run because I've had to hire others to repair the repairs that Milford Hardwood Flooring did and didn't do.
I also used this company for carpet in two of my bedrooms. The carpet that I selected was a different brand than I chose. When I brought this to the owner, which is a different owner than the hardwood department of Milford Hardwood Flooring, they kept insisting the level of carpet I chose was the one I got, they wouldn't even consider that I might know what I'm talking about. The color was so close that until I went to pay my balance, that is when I realized it was the wrong brand. I let that one go because the install when perfectly fine and it looked great.
Oh, I forgot to mention the hardwood installers put three stains on this new carpet while installing the floor in the hall. The carpet was only 1 week old.


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We wanted to go with a local outfit as we thought this would be better than a box store. We were incredibly wrong. They subcontract all their work. In our case, one installer downstairs and others for upstairs. Downstairs is decent although another installer giving us a quote for other work asked what happened with our floor? Upstairs is a disaster. They marked the walls everywhere taking the trim off. They absolutely butchered the install. It's like the floor is floating in spots and other spots it's very tight and creaks. Trying to get Milford Hardware to come look at it took call after call. The original installers were sent back several times and simply nailed through the top of the wood which leaves nail marks. When that wasn't sufficient, they sent the downstairs installer but he didn't know why they were told to come. After lifting sections the scope of the issue was clear. The boards near the wall were half inch off the floor in an arc. When we finally got the owner there he admitted it was awful and said it appears they used the wrong tools when they got to the walls. This explains why two feet out from every wall is soft and sinks. This apparently wasn't enough to get them to take proper action. It was their position that everything was OUR fault because the we don't run a humidifier and air conditioning all day to keep the exact humidity correct. My question is why the downstairs isn't the same as upstairs and why doesn't the other hardware previously installed have the same issue? The owners DO NOT review the work of their subcontractors nor do they live up to any level of accountability about the work of their subcontractors. This company should not be considered for work in your home and if anyone you know is considering them, they should be strongly cautioned against it. They might be good if you have no issues, but if you do, they will not stand behind their work as much as they say they do. Rev

Last edited by J187; 04-04-2014 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 04-04-2014, 09:49 AM   #7
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187.... OK...I'm really confused....Looked at the specs on Lumber Liq.... and we have a lot of both contradiction and unknown.

First... LL says it is 5/16 SOLID.... implying it is not engineered at all

Then application indicates "Glue/Staple/Nail "... implying it is not floating at all.

LL also could not answer (or did not answer) several spec's / questions and indicated it was a special buy.

Better find out what you have first.

How it was applied.

Also, what was your subfloor.

Something sure looks strange/ confusing here....
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Old 04-04-2014, 12:11 PM   #8
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And LL has a horrible record of customer service and shoddy products.
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Old 04-04-2014, 01:40 PM   #9
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Sorry!! Wrong link- I was just looking at it on LL for info. I meant to send this link:

http://www.br111.com/Floors?product_id=79


I got the info right from the box. Definitely is engineered and to be clear, she didn't buy from LL at all - the flooring company provided the flooring.
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Old 04-04-2014, 04:13 PM   #10
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Well, right on the instruction sheet it says

"Proper acclimation of flooring before installation is necessary to avoid excessive cracks between planks, and in extreme cases, cupping and lifting of the floor"

And I'm still not seeing where the manufacturer recommends a floating floor installation. Either a glue down or staple.
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Old 04-06-2014, 12:05 PM   #11
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I had a friend with a very similar problem. Only one solution...Get a lawyer.
No matter how you look at this: slab humidity, acclimation, and using the proper floor for a given location are all the responsibility of the flooring company. If it was a DIY job you would be on your own, but that is not the case.
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Old 04-06-2014, 02:43 PM   #12
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So was the floor glued together or any kind of click lock? Or was it just tongue and groove?
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Old 04-06-2014, 05:16 PM   #13
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I know it was floating, but I'm not sure if it was glue or click. Either way, when you hire a professional and they furnish all materials, it's not your problem. You need to hold the installer liable. Once they start using filler on a floating floor, it's not going to be right. What is strange is that you have "cupping" on an engineered floating floor. I've done a few in my houses over the years and because they expand and contract and are not attached to the subfloor they tend to stay pretty flat. Not sure what part of the country you are in, but you will see some minor shrinkage in just about any floor in the winter due to lack of humidity. Especially if it was installed at a humid time of year. If it's excessive and the floors are glued together, then you could get some cracking and minor gaps when it dries out in the winter. Once the humidity picks up it will expand and the gaps will close up. Using a humidifier in the winter also helps a lot. I would not expect anything as drastic as what you mention from an engineered floor though. Spend a few bucks on a lawyer, you may be able to scare them into repairing the job. Good luck.
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Old 04-06-2014, 09:18 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CTgarret View Post
I know it was floating, but I'm not sure if it was glue or click. Either way, when you hire a professional and they furnish all materials, it's not your problem. You need to hold the installer liable. Once they start using filler on a floating floor, it's not going to be right. What is strange is that you have "cupping" on an engineered floating floor. I've done a few in my houses over the years and because they expand and contract and are not attached to the subfloor they tend to stay pretty flat. Not sure what part of the country you are in, but you will see some minor shrinkage in just about any floor in the winter due to lack of humidity. Especially if it was installed at a humid time of year. If it's excessive and the floors are glued together, then you could get some cracking and minor gaps when it dries out in the winter. Once the humidity picks up it will expand and the gaps will close up. Using a humidifier in the winter also helps a lot. I would not expect anything as drastic as what you mention from an engineered floor though. Spend a few bucks on a lawyer, you may be able to scare them into repairing the job. Good luck.
Garrett is dead on....

but he sure could us some paragraphs.
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Old 04-07-2014, 09:40 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taylorjm View Post
Well, right on the instruction sheet it says

"Proper acclimation of flooring before installation is necessary to avoid excessive cracks between planks, and in extreme cases, cupping and lifting of the floor"

And I'm still not seeing where the manufacturer recommends a floating floor installation. Either a glue down or staple.
Hi, thanks for the information...

I brought up the instruction sheet for the Engineered collection:

http://www.br111.com/pdf/Install_ins...s_ENG1-2-1.pdf

I definitely see several mentions of floating installation and recommendation. I do however, see what you were saying about acclimation. Interestingly, when this first happened I did call the manufacturer and ask about the acclimation process since it was my natural first suspicion. I told them I was being told that engineered HW didn't need to be acclimated and asked if that was true - they told me they "believed so". So I took it that it was true.

I am suspicious as to whether or not they used the manufacturer's approved under pad though...

I am also suspicious that somewhere under the horribly installed shoe molding I will find a spot with no expansion gap - but I don't want to start disassembling things just yet until I get a lawyer and/or inspector. I am a little confused as to the process there - should I hire an inspector to start? Hire the lawyer first? Should I just have another reputable flooring company come in and assess and quote a reinstall?


Also - can any of you guys think of a good reason why they'd have run the flooring in the opposite direction in the kitchen - necessitating the thresholds? One of things I thought would be the nicest part of doing hardwoods in her condo was the nice flow it would provide.
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