Archive for the ‘Inspection Safari’ Category

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…)

Inspection Safari: Carpet Stain Blocker Failure

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

carpet stain blocker

Sometimes when I receive an inspection request, the stated reason and the actual complaint are different. Today’s Inspection Safari is a perfect example of such a complaint.

A major carpet mill asked me to inspect a carpet for “stain blocker failure.” Most of today’s carpets are made using some type of stain resistant technology. So a permanent stain is often covered by the carpet warranty. My job would be to see if this stain was something that might be a “warrantied defect.”

I called the homeowner to schedule an appointment and asked him if there was a problem with a stained carpet. He said, “Yes, AND the carpet is coming apart.” He explained that the spot had been professionally cleaned five times. The last time it was cleaned, the technician “was aggressive” with the cleaning and the carpet delaminated (separated)! So now I also had to determine the structural integrity of the carpet. (more…)

Flooring Inspection Safari: Causes of Dirty Carpet

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

soapy carpet spot | carpet expert Glenn Revere

In a previous post, I discussed why a three-year-old carpet stayed clean after its first cleaning, but quickly soiled after its second cleaning. Sometimes, even a brand new carpet starts to “soil up” after just a few weeks. Here’s why.

Carpet mills have to add a detergent-based lubricant to any synthetic fiber (nylon, polyester, or olefin) when they spin it into carpet yarn. Otherwise, the heat from the spinning process could damage the fiber. This is called a spin finish. This lubricant is normally removed during the production process. But mistakes happen. Sometimes the spin finish stays in the carpet instead of getting removed. You can’t see it. When the new carpet is installed in your home, dirt starts to (more…)

Cleaning Engineered Wood Floors: Consumer-Caused Delamination

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

The process of layering materials together to form a product is called lamination. Any product made by layering materials together can separate under the right conditions. Engineered wood floors are made by gluing (laminating) several thin plies of wood together to form a board suitable for flooring. By definition, engineered wood is a plied board and can delaminate. That is, any of the layers can separate, including the veneer top sheet.

There is more than one reason why boards delaminate. My job as a flooring inspector is to figure out the exact reason for a flooring failure. Is the cause manufacturing, installation, or site/maintenance related?

Today’s Inspection Safari looks at a maintenance-related cause. (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…)

Flooring Inspection Safari: Proper Carpet Cleaning

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

carpet cleaning | carpet expert Glenn Revere

I received an inspection request from a carpet manufacturer. The carpet had been installed for 3 1/2 years. It had been cleaned twice. The complaint was: “carpet looks terrible, appears soiled after cleaning.” My job was to see how the carpet was holding up and to check the soil/stain resistance of the fiber.

When I arrived at the well-maintained home, I saw that the main floor was ceramic tile. The carpet in question was installed on the stairs, and in the upstairs hallway and connecting master bedroom.

The last carpet cleaning had been done (more…)

Flooring Inspection Safari: Knee Kicker Carpet Tears

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

knee kicker tear | Carpet Expert Glenn Revere

Knee Kicker: a short device with gripper teeth on one end and a cushion on the other. It is used by installers to stretch carpet in small areas, like closets. It is also used to position the carpet onto the tackless strip before power stretching. The installer puts the teeth into the pile and bumps the padded end with the area just above the knee. (From All About Carpets: Everything You Need to Know)

After installing a new carpet, it is normal to see an occasional loose tuft or thread here and there. It is not normal to still see loose tufts coming out of the new carpet after a few weeks.

There are several reasons for tufts (carpet yarns) to work out of the carpet backing. There might be a problem with (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…)

Widthwise Lines in Carpet: Shift Marks

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

photo of carpet shift marks | Glenn Revere

Beautiful carpeting is made on very complicated machinery. When more parts make up a machine, more things can go wrong with the manufacturing process. The carpet mills know this. They have extensive inspection and quality control departments whose function is to find defective carpet and keep it from arriving at your home. In spite of these controls, mistakes happen.

Carpeting can contain various types of streaks, either lengthwise or widthwise in direction. There are many causes for these streaks. I recently looked at some carpet that had widthwise lines/streaks throughout the installation. The complaint for this newly installed carpet was listed as “uneven dye.” It was not noticed until the day after installation. I was asked by the mill to determine the cause of this problem. I arrived at my conclusion by using a process of elimination. (more…)

Laminate Flooring Inspection: Glueless “Hardwood” Flooring

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

box of glueless hardwood flooring | Glenn Revere

As a Certified Flooring Inspector, I am asked by manufacturers, retailers, installers, and homeowners to inspect all types of flooring. These inspections cover all sorts of complaints: manufacturing related, installation related, site related — even buyer’s remorse. The inspection I’ll share today is “something else.”

A major manufacturer asked me to inspect one of their engineered wood floors. The complaint was “floor falling apart.” That potentially covers a wide range of problems, from bad manufacturing to homeowner abuse.

I scheduled the inspection with the end-user, a retired building contractor. The well maintained home was in (more…)