Archive for the ‘Inspection Safari’ Category

INSPECTION SAFARI: My New Wood Floors Are Scratched!

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Image of Scratched Wood Flooring

Wood floors scratch. That is a fact of life. All wood floors are stained and then a protective finish is applied over the stain. Unfinished wood floors are stained after installation. Then the protective coat is applied. Once installed, factory finished wood floors are ready to use. While these finishes are hard, they are not scratch-proof. And you’ll notice the scratches more with darker colors and less with lighter colors.
I recently inspected a factory finished solid bamboo floor. The consumers, who had self-installed the wood in a hallway and bedroom, complained to the retailer that the walnut finish scratches too easily.
This older home was located in the dusty backcountry. The family sold turkey and chicken eggs from their front yard.
The couple had purchased and installed a light colored bamboo flooring for the living and family rooms a few years ago. They love the look of the hard surface. When they decided to replace the carpet in the hallway and bedroom, they discovered that this particular bamboo floor is no longer available. So after much searching, they decided to buy and install the dark wood floor that I was commissioned to examine.
I noticed many installation related problems, including the fact that they “floated” the floor rather than attaching it to the subfloor, as was required. However, none of the installation problems had anything to do with the scratching.
The floor was badly scratched through the finish in the bedroom near a dresser and the floor of the bed. The consumer stated that the dresser legs have felt pads to protect the floor. The bed rollers are a hard plastic. She further stated that they were “very careful” when they put the furniture back once the installation was finished so that they would not scratch the wood.
I took an uninstalled board out of a box to examine the finish. An improperly cured factory finish will peel off. Sometimes a thumbnail scraped across the board scratches it. Sometimes a plastic putty knife will damage the finish. Sometimes painters tape will pull off the finish. I was unable to scratch the finish of this board using any of these methods.
I noticed that the scratches went through the finish into the light colored wood below the stain. From the location and shapes of the scratches, it was obvious to me that soothing had been dragged across the floor. Careful observation made its apparent that the felt pads under the dresser were full of grit and sand. The plastic wheels on the bed were also damaged by grit.
It was obvious to me that there was nothing wrong with the finish of this solid bamboo floor. The type of deep scratching that I observed amounted to abuse. Any wood floor would scratch under similar conditions.
You must be especially careful to protect darker wood finishes against scratching. I have even seen toenails from a large, active dog badly scratch a dark wood floor.

Carpet Problems and Solutions: Carpet High Lines

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

carpet high lines | Glenn Revere

Carpeting is made using one of two methods: tufting or weaving. Almost all of the residential carpet sold today is made by tufting. Tufting machines are basically giant sewing machines. Instead of a single needle, 800-1,000 computer controlled needles stitch carpet yarns across a backing material to form the carpet. The needles are set to control the height of the carpet pile. Sometimes a single needle stitches a row of yarn that is too long. Cut pile carpets are carefully sheared after tufting in order to assure a smooth, even pile surface. Even so, a high row or high line can show up after a carpet is installed. If the high row is bent over and buried in the carpet pile, the line may take days or weeks to appear after the carpet has been repeatedly vacuumed. Tufting high lines always run lengthwise. (more…)

Causes of Squeaky Laminate Flooring

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Several months ago, I blogged about a squeaky laminate installation. Numerous in-home and installation errors had caused the floating floor to squeak and snap when walked upon.

I recently inspected a squeaking floating laminate floor. The installers had returned after the initial installation because the homeowner complained about all the noise. They pulled up the new floor and floated (leveled) the concrete slab underneath. When they reinstalled the laminate, they made sure the expansion gaps between the walls and the laminate were to specifications. But the floor still squeaked, so I was called out to see what was wrong. (more…)

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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DIY Laminate Flooring Installation Dangers: Plank Gaps

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

laminate flooring installation plank gaps

Many of you enjoy doing things DIY (Do It Yourself). You have as much fun in a hardware store as some people have in a shoe department. And for those who truly enjoy DIY, the flooring industry has many ways for you to have fun. One of the most poplar segments is installing your own “floating” floors. You buy the tools you need, read the instructions that come with the flooring, and have a good old time. But wait, there’s more. There’s more you need to know that might not be included in the flooring installation instructions, that is.

When you buy a particular product, you’ll have no idea what kind of installation instructions are inside the box. Some manufacturers include instructions that are barely more than pictographs. They are a “universal” language meant to be used in multiple countries with diverse languages. You follow pictures, not words. Needless to say, some things always get lost in “translation.” (more…)

Cleaning Laminate Floors Without Streaks

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

laminate flooring streaks | Glenn Revere

Every new product — whether it is a computer, ceiling fan, toaster, or flooring — has certain care and maintenance requirements. Manufacturers always include a “care guide” with their warranty information. When you buy new flooring — laminate, carpet, vinyl, wood, stone, or tile — read and follow these instructions. If you don’t, your new flooring won’t look its best or last as long as it should. And ignoring the care guide could void your warranty! This sounds simple, but often the care guidelines are not followed. (more…)

Inspection Safari: Carpet Sprouts – Causes and Solutions

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

carpet yarn sprout | carpet expert Glenn Revere

Last week, I inspected a large commercial installation. The complaint came in as “loose tufts and snags”. What I found was something very different: sprouts.

As defined in my book, All About Carpets, “sprouts are long ends of yarns that protrude above the pile surface…Sprouting is a defect only if excessive and unserviceable.”

When I looked across the large, open, glued-down (no padding) installation, it appeared someone had dropped small ball bearings all over this tufted carpet. What I actually saw were random longer loops of carpet pile that were sticking up above the rest of the level loop pile. So what was going on? Had something yanked loops out of the carpet backing? Or was it something else?

Tufted carpet is made by using needles that stitch carpet yarns into a thin sheet of material. As many as 1,000 needles run across a width of carpet. Each needle sets a looped yarn at a predetermined height. For cut-pile carpet, a knife cuts (more…)

Carpet Discoloration: Heat Damaged Carpet Seams

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

discolored carpet seam | Glenn Revere

Making tufted carpet is complicated. Several steps in the process use heat. Some of those steps include twisting yarn, dyeing yarn, and curing the carpet backings. So heat and carpet is a good combination, right? Well, not always.

Heat can also damage carpet, as today’s Flooring Inspection Safari illustrates:

A high quality nylon carpet was installed in a second story condo. Approximately 18-24 months after the installation, the renter noticed the carpet was fading from tan to pink along the seams! The carpet had not been cleaned yet. The renter, acting on the owner’s behalf, turned in a claim. I was asked to inspect the job for the manufacturer. As always, I looked at the overall installation to make sure it mets industry quality standards. I have duplicated the main portion of my inspection report here. It explains my findings: (more…)

Damaged Wood Flooring: Manufacturing or Installation Related?

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

engineered wood flooring damage | Glenn Revere

As a Certified Flooring Inspector, I field inspection requests from consumers, manufacturers, and installers. The complaints range across a wide variety of problems. Sometimes the blame for a problem is obvious. It is clearly one person’s or one entity’s fault. Sometimes things are not so obvious and I cannot clearly deduce who is at fault. Today’s Flooring Inspection Safari complaint falls into the latter category.

In this case, the consumer complained her newly installed engineered wood floors were scratched and chipped. She noticed the problems when she moved furniture into her home after the installation was complete. She called the installers and they returned to look at the damage. Then they filed a complaint with the manufacturer, who called me. I looked at the floor two months after the installation. I have included the body of my inspection report here for you. You’ll notice that I am always required to check the entire installation: (more…)

Laminate Flooring Installation Problems: Gapped End Joints + More

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

laminate flooring gapped joints | @GlennRevere

You finally bought your new laminate flooring! Congratulations! But remember, installing your new floor correctly is as important as — and maybe even more important than — the selection and purchase. You are paying cold, hard cash for that floor and expect the best. The installation should also be “the best.”

As a Certified Flooring Inspector, I see so many beautiful floors that have been “messed up” because of sloppy installation procedures. Every box of flooring contains detailed installation instructions. With the proper tools and a little training, it should be relatively easy to install laminate flooring. This is a do-it-yourself floor. You’d think professional installers would do it right every time. Well, don’t bet on it. (more…)