Archive for the ‘Flooring Installation’ Category

Inspection Safari: A Bamboo Flooring Installation Gone Wrong

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

As an independent, certified flooring inspector, I am commissioned by various parties to look at flooring complaints. Manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and consumers all call me in regards to flooring problems. Many of the “industry” calls are for “routine” inspections. When a consumer calls me, I know the inspection will be anything but routine.

On today’s Flooring Inspection Safari, I take you to a family’s newly remodeled second floor condominium. The family had updated it in advance of the birth of their first child. They wanted to complete all the work, including new engineered bamboo flooring throughout their home, before the baby came home. Sometimes things just don’t go according to plan!

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Carpet Installation Tip: Always Hire Certified Flooring Installers

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Like any other craft, carpet installers’ skills vary widely. Installers learn their craft by starting as apprentices with a crew. An apprentice might only take up the old carpet and carry tools at first, but slowly learns by watching the others perform their jobs. In this way, the apprentice learns to become an installer.

But hold on! What if the apprentice learns bad installation techniques?

The apprentice doesn’t know any difference between bad and good installations. I have seen apprentices learn from installers who have been doing things the wrong way for thirty years. How do you know that the crew who shows up to install your carpet (after you worked so hard to haul out the furniture!) knows what they’re doing? How do you know that the head of your installation crew wasn’t yesterday’s apprentice? (Note: A lot of retailers hire the lowest bidder and don’t even bother to check the finished job — until there’s a complaint!)

The answer is: always hire a (more…)

Flooring Installation Tip: How Weather Affects Flooring

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

You may not realize it, but the inside of your home has its own “microclimate”. Whether it’s hot and muggy or cold and dry, the “weather” in your home affects how you feel. It also affects how your floors “feel”, too.

Flooring materials like ceramic tile or vinyl don’t care much about atmospheric changes inside your home. But carpet and wood-based flooring (solid wood, engineered wood, bamboo, cork, or laminate) physically change as temperatures and humidity inside your home vary. These materials will grow or shrink as the “weather” inside your home changes.

Before installation, carpet and wood-based flooring must be acclimated to normal living conditions in your home. Flooring manufacturers require that, before installation, their materials adjust to whatever are “normal” living conditions in your home. The acclimation period varies with the type of flooring you are installing.

Most carpet today is completely synthetic. The face fibers, carpet backings, and (more…)

Cork Flooring Problems: My Cork Tiles Won’t Stick!

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

cork flooring installation | @GlennRevere

As a Certified Flooring Inspector, my job is to look at flooring installation failures and figure out what happened. Some people say I am a forensics flooring failure person. I look at all kinds of flooring. Today’s Inspection Safari is about a glue-down cork tile floor that wouldn’t stick to the concrete subfloor.

As with any flooring material, cork tiles must be installed according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Each brand has its own requirements. You can’t necessarily install Brand X the way you did Brand Y. That is why installation instructions are included with every box of material. Unfortunately, some installers think you CAN install different brands the same way and get the same results. It doesn’t work that way. (more…)

Engineered Bamboo Flooring Installation Problems

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

bamboo flooring installation

When a wood floor has problems, there are only four causes for those problems: manufacturing, installation, the home’s indoor environment, and maintenance. Sometimes when I look at complaints, I only find one cause relating to the problem. Sometimes I find multiple causes. In today’s Inspection Safari, I share with you an inspection that has complaints with multiple causes.

This engineered bamboo floor was installed throughout a well-maintained two-story inland San Diego home. The main floor had a concrete slab (foundation), while the upstairs subfloor was 1/2” plywood. The flooring was replaced by the retailer after one year because of multiple installation problems. I was asked to inspect the new (replacement) floor. The homeowner complained that the color of the replacement was much darker than the original installation, which she felt was the correct color. She also had concerns regarding the installation. I have reproduced the bulk of my inspection report below: (more…)

Pergo Laminate Flooring Buckling, Warping and Seeping Moisture

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

I was recently excited to receive an email from a gentleman in the U.K. who had apparently read my book and found what I had to say helpful. He had a few interesting questions that I think might be helpful to the others: (more…)

Engineered Wood Flooring Inspection: Raised Wood End Joints

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

raised wood end joints | Glenn Revere

I have been inspecting flooring complaints for over 40 years. In that time, I have seen all types of problems. Some of them were unavoidable. Most of them were avoidable. Not following a manufacturer’s installation requirements definitely falls into the “avoidable” category.

Installing a wood floor involves many steps, from acclimating the wood prior to installation to cleaning up post-installation. While all wood floors are generally installed in the same way, each manufacturer requires certain installation variations in order to assure a quality installation. These variations are not a secret. Each box of wood contains detailed instructions. If the instructions are missing or something is vague, more information is available on the manufacturer’s website. There is also a toll-free number that one can call for technical support.

So it always amazes me when an “experienced” installer ignores these important requirements and does it “his way.” (more…)

Inspection Safari: A Laminate Flooring Installation Gone Wrong

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

laminate flooring installation | carpet expert Glenn Revere

When you have a new floor installed in your home, whether carpet, wood, or laminate, you expect that floor to lay flat for as long as you keep the floor. But, sometimes floors will buckle or lift in spite of your expectations. Buckling, also called tenting or bridging, is always installation related.

I recently inspected a buckled laminate floor at the homeowners request that could be the poster child for improper installation.

There are general guidelines for installing laminate flooring. Each manufacturer varies the guidelines according to what will create the best installation for their product. The important thing is to read the installation requirements. They are always included in the box with the flooring. In fact, the instructions are the first thing you’ll see when you open the box.

In this case, the homeowner hired an installer from a newspaper ad. He did not ask the installer for references, either. Here’s what happened.

First, some background regarding laminate installations. (more…)

Flooring Inspection Safari: Do You Have Squeaky Floors?

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

squeaky floors

Floating floors (those not nailed or glued down) can make noise when walked upon. You might hear squeaking, snapping, popping, or crackling sounds. Sometimes the sounds are throughout the installation. Sometimes the sounds are in localized areas. They might be apparent all year long. Or the noises might occur only during certain seasons. Manufacturers often automatically turn down a claim for a noisy floor. One major manufacturer states in its warranty that squeaky floors, whether laminate or engineered wood, are not manufacturing related. I recently looked at a laminate flooring installation that is a perfect example of why manufacturers take this position.

A high-quality laminate had been installed over a concrete subfloor, replacing the existing carpet. The installers had not checked the subfloor for unevenness. They placed a thin high density cushion over the concrete. Then they installed the floating laminate flooring. The homeowner noticed squeaking shortly thereafter.

Here’s what I discovered during my inspection: (more…)

Flooring Inspection Safari: Swollen Laminate Seams

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

swollen flooring seams

If you have a wood or laminate floor in your home, you must be aware that water is not a friend of your floor. You should quickly clean up spills. You should use only a DAMP towel or cleaning pad when you maintain the floor. And you should absolutely NOT use any type of wet-jet or steam mop on these floors! The story that follows illustrates what happens when excess water meets a wood-based floor.

I looked at a laminate floor that had been sold for use on two floors in a townhome as a “commercial” quality by a big box store. The homeowner complained almost immediately that she saw “bubbling” along one seam near the kitchen in the dining area. She complained for the next two years that more and more seams showed this problem. The installers looked at the flooring and said that the “bubbling” (what we in the industry call swollen seams) was from (more…)