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Does anybody know a good website where we can get advices on problems

August 24, 2014
I have installed hardwood flooring in the entire house. Less than one year later, two rooms started showing darker spots. Had it diagnosed as humidity from underneath. The spots grew a little and now it seems that stopped growing. The company that installed it wants to charge me for the repair (after a $18,000 job that I paid them cash). I am wondering if I could just let the way it is. Perhaps Houzz is not the right place to look for this kind of advice. Suggestions to where to go is greatly appreciated!

Comments (31)

  • hayleydaniels
    Try this link to a flooring forum for professionals:


    Do you mind if I ask where you bought your flooring? It wasn't from a big box store like Lumber Liquidators, was it? If so, you bought an inferior product, an what's you're experiencing is par for the course. Lumber Liquidators and the like use hardwood that isn't dried long enough so it develops a host of problems shortly after being installed. The fabulous guarantees that inspire people to shut off their common sense are written in favor of the seller, not the buyer. If you're up for it, check out pissedconsumer.com and search Lumber Liquidators for stories of other peoples' experiences with their products.

    If you bought from a regular flooring store that doesn't sell inferior products, they should know what type of warranty the product has on it, and help you get the situation resolved.

    Good luck.
  • gildamlt
    Thanks for replying! I will try the website.
    I got my floor at Floor Depot in Clearwater, FL. The wood that I chose was in back order, so they got the same type from Hurst Flooring.
    Their intallation was very good. I even recommended them at Houzz. However, the spots showed up a month after I posted my good comments. Their attitude in solving the problem was a great disappointment. I wanted to remove my comments but did not know how.
    I heard the same stories about big box stores, and I also agree with the guarantees that is offered. I've learned my lesson.
  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler
    Was this a gluedown on a slab? Is this engineered or solid? What brand? You don't give enough info to even begin a diagnosis.
  • gildamlt
    It is engineered wood glued on the slab.
    An insurance contractor diagnosed as humidity coming from underneath.
  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler
    Check for a plumbing leak.
  • Angel 18432
    I had some leftover pieces of flooring glued down onto concrete slab in a closet.
    The guy who did it said it wasn't recommended because of moisture in the concrete.
    I said I didn't care if the flooring changed color or whatever might happen - it was in a closet. Bottom line, I don't think you should have done that. Did the installers say anything?
  • gildamlt
    I did with a plumber and with the contractor from the insurance, there is no leak.
    They said that since the house is old, 1985, the moisture barrier that was placed when the house was built, may have deteriorated in certain areas, where the spots are showing.
    I am wondering if the moisture would find a way to breath, and I would not need to redo the areas applying a moisture barrier.
  • gildamlt
    Hi Angel18432, did you put the wood in your closet then? Did it really change color? How long do you have it, and did it get worse?
  • kylen2350
    Florida. Concrete slab. Inferior moisture barrier. Wood on concrete. All make for damaged floors. Maybe wood should have been teak. Sorry for damage but contractor should have used new moisture barrier.
    Or just put tile in place.
  • Angel 18432
    I did glue the wood directly to the floor in 2010 and there has been no discoloration so far.
    The house was built in 2010 on clay. With your home being older, above posters may be right regarding the damaged/inferior moisture barrier - but florida ground is generally sand I understand - you would think that would help the situation somewhat.
  • Angel 18432
    Here is a website you might find helpful. I was just reading it and it sounds like the vapour barrier problem as suggested above. It could be that it was damaged when the concrete was installed but hasn't come to light until now. Perhaps you could contact them and see what they suggest to remedy.

  • PRO
    Masterpiece Hardwood Flooring Ltd.
    I'm going to venture a guess in that perhaps the wrong glue was used. If this engineered product is warrantied over slab and was glued, the glue needs to have a vapour barrier built into it or over time the moisture from the slab is going to effect the wood. There are also other options for glue where two different ones are used, one as a moisture barrier and one as an adhesive. I'm not sure you can figure out what was used but a flooring inspector may be able to help determine that. Good luck!
  • halfpint2
    They should have applied a slip coat before installing the floors. I'd make the company do the job correctly.
  • PRO
    Select Hardwood Floor Co.
    Agree with SOME of what's been said already...
    If I had to guess, your "installers" may have been good mechanics in the area of the installation, but working in Florida, where TILE has been the "go to" flooring of choice for a long time, many of the guys in the biz aren't up to speed in the newer developments available to prevent situations such as moisture problems from beneath...

    There are a variety of HIGH quality solutions on the market which are designed specifically to prevent such problems.
    And the better products offer a substantial warranty to back their product, some including replacement of the flooring (as long as instructions are followed to a T).

    Unfortunately, many "installers" will look to the most economical adhesives, or use an inadequate amount during installation, in an effort to keep their costs down.

    In many instances, the Customer becomes an unwilling participant in the failure by pushing TOO hard to keep the costs down, while looking at bids.
    I'm not saying this is the case in your situation... but it is a battle many of us in the industry are confronted with daily.
    Good luck.
  • Angel 18432
    Lots more good info. Maybe your only recourse will be to get 1 or 2 professional opinions in writing and if wrong glue was used take the company to small claims court if they won't help you.
  • Angel 18432
    By the way, have you been in touch with Hurst flooring and see what they have to say.
    Maybe they can send a rep around to look at it. They should be able to diagnose the problem for you. Also Floor Depot may use "any old wood installer" as opposed to a pro such as above.
  • PRO
    ProSource Memphis
    What glue was used? That's a pretty important detail. Was any moisture testing done before the install? What methodology? That's another MUST. Some slabs in high water table country just are too damp for a successful wood install. 95% of the time, it's an installer issue for not following the manufacturer's requirements when it comes to slab moisture content.
  • PRO
    Select Hardwood Floor Co.
    "Any old installer"... period!
    When I 1st got into the "trade" many years ago (& yes, hardwood flooring is a TRADE)..., when people asked me what I did, more often than not the response was: "that's a dying art".

    Then of course, when wood flooring became popular, anyone with a pulse & a pair of kneepads decided it was an easy way to make a buck.

    The situation worsened as the quazi-hardwood floor "mass production hacks" began lowering the standards to the point wood flooring was regarded as "the cheap alternative to linoleum" by the bargain hunters.
    Enter; the low end import market... and the "race to the bottom" continued.

    Between poor installations & substandard quality of MANY of the products, the problems result in the general public throwing the baby out with the bathwater... and the industry as a whole gets a black eye.

    I thank GOD for the fact that there are still a few people who recognize the difference... and are willing to make their choices carefully based on PRODUCT as well as PRICE!

    Okay... my rant is over... I feel better now! lol
  • Angel 18432
    David - glad you're feeling better !

    It's too bad more people couldn't read this post and learn a little. Sounds like this lady did pay $$ for her install but didn't get what she should have.

    That's why I don't like getting "installers" from Home Depot or Loews. They use any warm body to do an install then don't guarantee it.

    My sister recently purchased a garage door opener from Home and was going to use their installer until he couldn't fit it into his " schedule" (probably did this on the side). She returned it and went with a reputable company that deals in openers only and it was installed at her convenience. It cost $50.00 more but was done "professionally" with no problems.
  • bungalowmo
    @ Select Hardwoods....I totally get where you're coming from! I have hardwood floor throughout my house. It's been here for almost 100 years. Still gorgeous too.

    But...it was a high grade wood (oak downstairs & pine up in BR's) Way back then, no one skimped, because we're talking small communities, all of these craftsmen had their own niche...bricklayers, carpenters, plasterers, sash makers, etc. They likely all knew each other as well.

    Now days....these install companies come & go. They set up a storefront & drop out of sight within a year, leaving a string of bad workmanship and lawsuits in their wake.

    ut emptor cavete
  • Emily H
    This is a good website to get advice. ;)
  • PRO
    Select Hardwood Floor Co.
    @Emily Hurley...
    I can't argue with your "get advice" statement...(free)
    But I'd think, just once in awhile, Houzz would emphasize that it's ALSO a good resource for products & services...
    Sometimes, (situations as described above) could be avoided if the homeowner would patronize the folks "giving the advice"...
    Rather than "brain-picking" the participants, then jumping onto Amazon.com to make purchases with their newfound advice & information...
    Just my humble observation.
  • Emily H
    Hi Select, Of course it's a great place to find professionals and products! The vast majority of the site is dedicated to doing exactly that. The advice area on Houzz is a small section open to both consumers and professionals in all stages of projects or for folks that are just interested in good design to discuss, brainstorm, talk about projects or just enjoy talking about the design and building as a whole.
  • gildamlt
    I thank you all of you for your comments.
    This was my first time participating, or initiating a "forum". I thought that Houzz was a website to get ideas of decor, products and professionals. I threw my question about my problem as a desperate act with hopes to get a suggestion on where to look for directions....thank you for your interest!

    I will look in the suggested websites.

    I understand both points of view, from the consumer side and from the professional side. What is frustrating is to prepare yourself (or "think" you are prepared) to make a good decision, and find out all your time in research was wasted.

    I researched about wood flooring in Florida, researched the wood suppliers that were offered by the specialized stores. Personally visited 7 stores, got 3 estimates from these 7, and chose the one that inspired me the most. They were NOT the cheapest estimate.
    After all that, I made a mistake, I signed a long contract overseeing one little space in blank. That was it! The space where it should say the level of humidity checked on the floor, was blank.
    An advice to all of you when purchasing wood floor, ask the installer to check the humidity in many, many different areas, not only in a few areas close to the walls, like most of them, that I know of, do. Ask them to show you the numbers that they are getting.
    It is frustrating to learn that it is so difficult to be an informed consumer.
    Now, I am learning about different kinds of glue. Thanks for the tip.
    Could the professionals that have been commenting, tell me the specifications of these type of glues, the ones that have, or are, moisture barriers ?
    Have you seen this kind of moisture problem?
    In your experience, may I just let it go, or it will get worse and I should repair it?

    I would really appreciate your insight.
    Thanks a lot!
  • gildamlt
    Could the professionals that have been commenting here, tell me the specifications of these types of glue, the ones that have, or are, moisture barriers ?
    Have you seen this kind of moisture problem?
    In your experience, will it get worse?
    I would really appreciate your insight.
  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler
    Yes,will get worse. Moisture is the enemy of all wood, and concrete slabs are nothing but giant sponges full of moisture.

    You still haven't indicated what brand and product was used. There are several brands on the market, and it's crucial to know what brand your installer used. Go back to his invoice, or where it was purchased from the store, or any pictures that you have of the work in progress.
  • PRO
    Select Hardwood Floor Co.
    I was in the midst of replying yesterday, when my page long comment was lost, and I didn't have time to reconstruct it...
    One of the points I was going to make is that, as Sophie W. mentions, at no point have you "identified" your product as anything but flooring.
    Depending on the species, construction, origin (place it was actually manufactured... and I mean ACTUALLY, not what they printed on the box), as well as the construction of the product... will all be key components in whether or not you'll have future problems.

    Your BEST case scenario is that the discoloration is simply a "chemical reaction" to moisture... which is something that can result in certain lumbers.
    The subtropical IMPORT varieties are most prone to this.
    For example White Oak is high in tannins, which can react to certain conditions.
    Your flooring is obviously NOT oak, and I'm relatively sure of what it is, but hesitant to venture a guess here.

    WORST case scenario is that the discoloration is a mold or fungus, which will continue to attack the material.

    The factors involved around your "moisture" problem are also important... is it a seasonal condition or constant?
    Regarding adhesives & systems... it's not in my job description to perform "online marketing" for the products available...
    But if you'd care to drop me a line at: david@selecthardwoodfloor.com, I'd be willing to give you the names of some of the products we endorse... and from there it's up to you & the people you decide to deal with on the matter in the future...
    Gotta run... Good Luck.
  • PRO
    Old Town Wood Floors
    I agree that this is probably a moisture issue coming up through the concrete. A reputable installer will take multiple moisture tests (calcium chloride) to determine the amount of moisture the concrete emits over 24 hours. Only then can he determine the correct type of adhesive to use.
  • Angel 18432
    Lots of comments, so what do the Pros think she should be doing - totally tearing it out?
  • PRO
    Cancork Floor Inc.
    Before pros state what "should be done" we have to determine the cause. A certified flooring inspector (NWFA website can guide you) is step #1. The fact the form you signed had humidity level of slab as "-" blank...makes me shudder. It also means the installer may be on the hook for failure to follow "best practices". Best practices as stated by NWFA are admissible in most courts (but not all...check Florida construction law). Failure to follow best practices (ie. no moisture readings) often means courts find in favour of the client/owner of the floor.

    Before anything can be done, an inspection with moisture readings and a detailed report of species and adhesive will have to be documented. In Canada, the "person at fault" eventually pays for the inspection report. That means if an inspector finds the moisture testing was "missing", the adhesive was "inappropriate" and the method of install is "inappropriate" this points to installation error.

    gildamit will need to pay for the inspection up front and hope to have the fee taken over (ie. the company pays back the inspection fee) after the findings are made known. It is rare to have to take this to court. An inspectors documentation is often enough to get the parties involved to come to an agreement.

    First things first...get your floor inspected. An 'insurance inspection' is not going to cut it. A professional flooring installer who is certified to inspect floors should be paid to come in and view the installation.
  • PRO
    Select Hardwood Floor Co.
    Kinda tough for any of the "Pros" to come in, more or less BLIND, and offer anything other than general statements & opinions.
    Some of us have offered our opinions as well as condolences... but we can't "bat cleanup" for work that's been done by others, using material supplied "by others" on work that was performed a year ago or longer.
    The "woulda, coulda, shoulda" approach is fruitless at this point.
    The unfortunate Customer has to make the decisions on what they are willing to accept, and act accordingly.

    I give advice here on Houzz all the time... most of it in regards to making buying decisions based on "promotional ads" and being careful to work with someone who is GENUINELY adept at performing the task.
    The results are often being accused of trying to "sell the customer" on using my own product or using "scare tactics" to sway their decisions...
    So, the result is a hesitance to voice too many opinions.

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