How much does getting a laminate floor moisture test cost?
September 24, 2007 2:12 PM   Subscribe

I have laminate floor installed in my condo. We have swelling and warping in various locations, so we filed a warranty claim. As part of the fulfillment process they have requested that a chunk of the floor gets uninstalled and sent to a laboratory for moisture testing. If it turns out that it's our fault we have to pay for the testing. Does anyone have any idea how much something like that costs? If we wanted to dispute their findings, where do I find a lab to do the same testing?
posted by fellion to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Where is the warping happening? Bathrooms, kitchen, random spots?
posted by pmbuko at 2:31 PM on September 24, 2007

We have laminate in every room in the condo except the bathrooms and you can find warping everywhere even in the closets.
posted by fellion at 2:35 PM on September 24, 2007

It seems like lab testing would be a disputable method of determining responsibility whereas an actual on-site investigation by a licensed building inspector would be most likely indisputable. Get a building inspector.
posted by JJ86 at 2:38 PM on September 24, 2007

Be careful here. What insurance are you claiming on (condo, builder's or flooring?) It's likely that moisture caused the warping even if it isn't a leak - so what happens next if they determine that?
posted by true at 3:11 PM on September 24, 2007

They haven't given me an answer on what happens if they determine moisture called it.
posted by fellion at 3:48 PM on September 24, 2007

The fine print on laminate floor warranties basically says if moisture is present then the warranty is voided. Moisture just ruins this stuff. You aren't even supposed to use soap and water to clean it, you're supposed to use some alcohol-based fluid. So I'm guessing if the lab finds even trace amounts of mosture then you're on your own.
posted by quadog at 5:05 PM on September 24, 2007

Sounds to me like there is obviously moisture - and more probable that the installer didn't install a proper barrier or determine the moisture levels prior to installation. If it were me, I'd work entirely through the installer, not the floor vendor.

...just my opinion...
posted by whatisish at 5:41 PM on September 24, 2007

Did you buy the condo new? How old is it?

Sight unseen, I would guess that your subfloor is concrete, possibly slab-on-grade. Could be that the flooring installer didn't let the concrete cure long enough (moisture content too high, and the flooring is now absorbing that excess moisture) (probably the installer's fault), or that there is moisture below the slab that is migrating up through the slab (general contractor's fault). The installation instructions for flooring typically state that the moisture content must be at or below a specific level, and/or that some sort of moisture barrier be applied below the flooring.

Who to complain to depends on how new the condo is etc. Is there a management company that handles maintenance requests etc? They would be a good contact -- they might also be able to tell you if other people are having the same problem (e.g. everybody on the ground level condos, everyone on the downhill end of the condo complex, etc)
posted by misterbrandt at 7:30 PM on September 24, 2007

The testing will probably cost in the region of a couple of hundred dollars, but I'm guessing to some extent. The test will almost certianly find moisture present in sufficient quantities to show that this is the cause of the warping, otherwise what would the cause be? That stuff is like blotting paper at the best of times. it doesn't matter how the moisture got there, it isn't the problem of the supplier (unless they also installed it).

Before sending off the sample, you might like to investigate some other causes, even if you have to involve a building inspector, which will also cost you. If you do end up sending off the sample, take a second sample from adjacent to where you got the piece to send them and keep it sealed in plastic in a stable temperature in case you want to do a second test.
posted by dg at 8:45 PM on September 24, 2007

Going rate for flooring industry independent inspections of this nature is $100 to $200, depending on your locale.

If they determine that your floor is defective due to manufacturing defects, they will most likely cover this fee, as part of their warranty coverage.

If the inspection finds, rather, that the materials are performing as designed, and that the problem is a result of a problem specific to your room(s), they may or may not cover the cost of the inspection and testing.

If you wish to dispute their findings, you can find testing lab info here.
posted by Exchequer at 10:54 PM on September 24, 2007

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