How do I work out a flooring installation gone awry?
July 7, 2008 12:05 PM   Subscribe

What's my recourse with a flooring installation now gone awry that was partially contracted through Home Depot, and partially worked out "on the side" with the installer?

Three months ago, I used Home Depot contracted services for installing Traffic Master laminate flooring in my kitchen. I happened to buy additional materials in order to also do flooring in the living room, when I had money to pay for the labor. While the flooring guy was at my house, he offered to do the living from for $500 (about $1000 less than the original quote). I took him up on the offer.

Now the flooring is starting bow / tent, maybe from humidity, or maybe from a shoddy installation. Also, one of the room connectors is starting to crack. When I walk across the floor, it sounds like it's popping -- is that normal with a "floating floor"?

I think he rushed through the job to get the two rooms done on time. The installer warned me that the flooring could not get wet or it would expand, but I found this confusing as the laminate is designed for the kitchen (where it will sometimes get wet, for example from washing dishes or from accidental spills).

Should I contact Home Depot or the installer directly? What's my recourse if the installer refuses to fix the problems?
posted by indigo4963 to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
Now the flooring is starting bow / tent, maybe from humidity, or maybe from a shoddy installation

Or perhaps both. It's vital for floating floors to have an gap around the perimeter to accommodate the expansion and contraction that these floors manifest. It sounds as if there was insufficient space. You should call the installer and see if he will remedy this. If he is at all reluctant, mention that you'll ask Home Depot to look at it - they will not look lightly at contractors that they employ making private deals on the side.
posted by Neiltupper at 12:22 PM on July 7, 2008

It seems you're a bit early in the process to be asking mefi?

Contact both the installer and Home Depot to see what your options are. Home Depot will likely only cover the kitchen install but the installer may do the rest.
posted by bitdamaged at 12:32 PM on July 7, 2008

I just installed the same flooring in my house. I did a test install several months ago in a small area and just continued through the foyer and dining room.

I doubt it's the humidity - this stuff is vinyl, not laminate, so it's waterproof, and doesn't expand and contract as much as laminate. Based on the research I've done, I'm guessing he pressed the seams together too tightly and now they're buckling.

I agree with Neiltupper, try the contractor first, and if he isn't responsive take it to the Home Depot.
posted by thejanna at 12:38 PM on July 7, 2008

I wonder how much research Home Depot would do if you contacted them first about the problem. They might just check to see that you purchased flooring and installation services through them (not checking to see which room(s) you had installed at the time), and take care of correcting the problem themselves.
posted by LolaGeek at 12:48 PM on July 7, 2008

I've know that floating laminate floors will bow sometimes after installation (my direct experience was with bamboo flooring, but I've heard that it's quite common). The solution was to trim some extra from around the edges - the floor people where unsurprised at out call and fixed it quickly. Just call the guy who did it and tell him what's up, he shouldn't give you too hard a time about it.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:54 PM on July 7, 2008

...ahem... the floor people were unsurprised....
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:54 PM on July 7, 2008

Who did you pay for this job? That's who you need to call.

From the way you've framed your question, though, I'm guessing that you wrote two checks -- one to the Home Depot for the kitchen install, and one directly to the flooring contractor for the living room. I'm also guessing that you're having problems in both rooms.

Start with the flooring contractor. Ultimately, he did the work and he should stand behind it. However, it may very well be that he doesn't work for the Home Depot anymore, and will tell you it's their problem. They're notoriously bad to subcontract for, and I know more than a few people who tried installing for HD, but quickly gave it up.

So you could be in a bit of a spot -- you've essentially hired two people for one job, and from my experience dealing with contractors and the Home Depot, each of them will try to place responsibility on the other.

Flooring contractor first, then Home Depot. If it comes to HD, be ready for a hassle. I have a friend who, against my advice, hired HD (who in turn hired a subcontractor) for an HVAC install. They installed the wrong unit, pulled no permit, and have several code violations in addition to doing basic hack work. It's been dragging out for several months with no real resolution, and Home Depot isn't the least bit helpful.
posted by lost_cause at 2:02 PM on July 7, 2008

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