2012-07-12 Bamboo Flooring Problem LGM and Associates Expert Flooring Services

2012-07-12 Bamboo Flooring Problem

Here’s an issue with a woven bamboo flooring material sold to a builder and installed by the builder over a new concrete slab. The installer claimed he followed the manufacturer’s installation guidelines.  The first issue encountered was white spots on the finish of the flooring. These looked like, what was described as baby powder and were mainly in the areas with the hand scraped finish.  On seeing this, the dealer first thought and assumed it was sheet rock dust stuck to the glue haze that occurred due to the installer failing to clean the glue off promptly. The installer claimed it was like that out of the box, producing an uninstalled plank with similar white spots.  The flooring was cleaned which removed the white spots. Now the flooring has buckled and the homeowner is blaming the product and the cleaning.   An upstairs hall glued over plywood which wasnt cleaned as it had no white spots, is fine.  The dealer, who just sold the material, doesn’t  think the installer  adequately checked the concrete slab moisture levels and although, the dealer says, there is expansion around most of the walls, there is a span of about 8-10 where the wood is cut tight.  The dealer further states the he questions the installers decision to install the product after he noticed the white spots.  He further mentioned that some of the wood had no white spots and common sense should have told the installer to verify that the white spots were part of the finish.   The dealer also said the house felt very damp and warm the day he went out to look at the flooring.

Our response was that there is no question if the installer noticed a problem with the product he should have stopped the installation.  That said, the installer would have had to know that the white spots were not supposed to be there.  If he was not familiar with the product that could have easily been the case. Some wood flooring materials will also have “white” looking sections in the roughhewn part of the material.  Any defect noticed at the time of the installation and not reported, noted or photographed for proof can nullify any claim you file.   There is likely a moisture issue with the slab as well as an indoor environment issue, the warm and humid he felt, both of which will wreak havoc with wood flooring materials.

The dealer sold the bamboo flooring as a material only sale and said they made sure the builder and installer had all the technical info from the manufacturer as to what glue was recommended, acclimation time & acceptable moisture levels in the slab.  The dealer also says he thinks the manufacturer was generous in having the bamboo cleaned at their expense however the homeowner is now using that against them & the builder.  The builder is asking the dealer to help with the cost of replacement.  It’s not his fault the installation failed but the builder is a good customer and he doesn’t want to upset him and lose their business.

This issue has a number of problems.  It is assumed the installer knew the product and what it should look like, which I would think is not the case here.  Installers are not concrete experts but the act of installation constitutes acceptance.  However, if the installer was experienced one would have to suspect the slab and environmental conditions would be at least considered and questioned.  The slab and interior environment issue must be addressed and corrected before a replacement is made or else the problem will reoccur.  The dealer is being railroaded just a bit here to participate in a problem that’s not his because he doesn’t want to lose a customer – most dealers today would do the same.  Not a happy ending.  If you don’t control the job, the job controls you.

Author Lewis G. Migliore

LGM and Associates The Floorcovering Experts

Leave a Reply