Flooring and Carpeting Sheet vinyl — crackling noise at edges, crunch crunch, crackling noise

Flooring and Carpeting Sheet vinyl - crackling noise at edges, crunch crunch, crackling noise

Flooring and Carpeting /Sheet vinyl — crackling noise at edges

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Expert: John Michaels — 6/2/2009

Question

QUESTION: John,

5 weeks ago, a local flooring company installed sheet vinyl (Mannington Sobella Supreme) in our upstairs bathrooms. This was installed fully adhered to new underlayment to replace the existing carpeting. The installer removed the carpet as well as the underlying resilient-type adhesive tiles, exposing the builder-quality wood sub-floor. He fixed and leveled out some irregularities in the sub-floor, installed quarter-inch luan-type underlayment, and then installed the sheet vinyl. There are no seams, and there’s quarter-round wood at the baseboards and a bead of caulk around the tubs and toilets. We did not walk on the new vinyl for over 24 hours. The next day, all was fine: our footsteps sounded almost like walking on wood. Flash forward: yesterday, I noticed for the first time that walking on the floor near the baseboards produces a medium-loud crackling sound. Crunch, crunch with every step, within about 12 inches of the edges by the baseboards only (not by the toilet or tub caulking). Is this normal?

ANSWER: Hi Carol;No, it does not sound normal. Since I can’t see your installation, I can only guess what’s happening, and my guesses may not be the real root cause. Perhaps the vinyl was over cut and rubbing on the walls. The adhesive may have not been applied properly or allowed to set up properly before the vinyl was put down. The leveling could have been done improperly. The nails or screws used to secure the underlayment into the subfloor may have been the incorrect type or length. There could have been debris on the bottom of the vinyl that was not cleaned away. The moldings could have been improperly secured. The list goes on and on. My suggestion would be to enter a claim with whomever you contracted to do the installation (the dealer if the installation was included in he sales contract, the installer if you had a contract with him or her, etc.), have the dealer and/or installer inspect the job but ONLY HAVE A CONVERSATION IN YOUR HOME TO SHOW THE INSTALLER AND/OR DEALER THE NATURE OF YOUR COMPLAINT AND DO NOT HAVE ANY OTHER TYPES OF CONVERSATION, listen to what they have to say and if they indicate they can correct the situation ask how they will correct it and what they feel is the cause, THEN DO NOT HAVE THE WORK DONE. Make an excuse that you want the repair attempts done later and make an appointment for about 5-7 days after their inspection. Prior to calling them, go to the website, mannington.com, and down load the installation specifications Mannington provides. Read those specifications fully, and see if you find anything that was done does not agree with those specifications. Contact me again to let me know the outcome of their visit. If the dealer and/or installer guesses what the problem is over the telephone and/or does not come to do an inspection, HAVE NO MORE VERBAL CONVERSATIONS WITH ANYONE INVOLVED IN THE SALE AND DO NOT TAKE ANY ADVICE FROM THOSE WHO CLAIM ‘TO KNOW ALL ABOUT VINYL FLOOR INSTALLATIONS’. To protect your investment you either should run everything by your attorney and get legal advice. I am not an attorney so I cannot give you any legal advice. That visit may be certainly worth your while. If you do not wish to obtain legal advice, I suggest that you contact an outside, independent floor covering inspector who can visit your home, inspect the problems and issue you a certified report of the findings that you can use to take any action you wish. If you cannot find a certified inspector (not a dealer, not another installer, etc.), but a certified floor covering inspector, get back to me with the city and State in which you live, and I will give you a suggestion where to contact such an inspector. Should the matter ever end up in Court, hearsay evidence is usually not acceptable, so the less contact you have, verbally, with anyone who may become a defendant, would be to your advantage. Written correspondence with return receipts and keeping a copy of that correspondence for your records, would be the way to go. Your attorney would be able to properly address this issue, and I would assume give you the advice to have the installation inspected. If you have anyother questions, please feel free to get back to me.

Flooring and Carpeting Sheet vinyl - crackling noise at edges, crunch crunch, crackling noise

We contracted with the local dealer for the installation. They’re just down the block from our home. (And, according to Angie’s List reviewers, the owners seem to make good on their promise to correct installation problems that may arise.) I’m trying to decide what to say in my initial «claim reporting» phone call to the dealer. How about: «We are now noticing a crackling noise when we walk on the vinyl floor. Could you send someone out to inspect the job?» If they want more information before sending someone out, what should I then say? Also: Would it be better not to speak about the problem with the (pleasant) lady who answers the phone, but simply to ask to speak with the owner (or if he’s unavailable, for the owner to call me)?

Answer

Hi, again, Carol; Yes, call the dealer, speak to the owner, just tell the owner about the noise and ask him to come out and take a look. The dealer may want to have the installation supervisor and/or installer look at the problem. Let the dealer inspect the problem and go from there. Also, read your sales contract, even the fine print, to see what is covered in any labor warranty, and how long the warranty runs. It may run 90 days, 120 days, a year, etc. so register your complaint well before any labor warranty runs out. If the dealer says the inspection will be done, get a firm date for the inspection and indicate you need someone to see the problem in the next couple of days. Then, by certified letter, with a return receipt, and keep a copy of the letter for yourself, send the dealer a letter confirming your conversation and the date and time for the inspection. This way, the dealer will know you are not just fooling around and expect prompt service. If the dealer refuses to inspect, then you really need to contact your attorney. I think I would also suggest that you do send the certified letter to the dealer, refer to your sales contract (date of sale, date of installation, date you spoke to the dealer to register the complaint, etc.), detail the nature of your complaint, and indicate that you do expect the dealer to inspect and rectify what you believe to be an installation related issue of the vinyl floor and indicate the exact locations of the problem. Don’t go into a bunch of extra information. Keep it short and then take the action you deem necessary such as a visit to your attorney or contract to have the installation inspected as I indicated in my first answer to you. You made an investment and you need to protect it.


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