A little Laminate Comedy

Discussion in 'Laminate Flooring Sales & Installations' started by Devin Roy, Aug 1, 2018.

  1. Devin Roy

    Devin Roy Installation Manager

    Here's a video I shot on an inspection.

    Great job guys! Whats that... you say you left expansion... hmm I don't think so!

     
  2. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    At away to surf those waves!
     
  3. Chris 45

    Chris 45 Director of P.R. on some deserted island. I Support TFP

    Unit 822. Was that new construction? Production work? Were you able to get a moisture reading of the subfloor? What else is going on in that unit/ building?

    I’ve had a couple jobs that the salesperson tried to initially throw me under the bus when some cheap laminat buckled because insufficient expansion space is everybody’s go to answer for why a floor buckles. One specific job the customer had a fish tank explode on them but improper expansion space was the first thing out of the salespersons mouth. We went to repair it and discovered standing water under the floor. That’s when the truth came out. Another one was due to a leaky dryer vent. Most people don’t realize the average dryer load has somewhere between 9 to 14 pounds of moisture that is being removed. If the dryer isn’t properly vented, that moisture is going somewhere that can’t be good.

    I’m not saying insufficient expansion space isn’t the cause of your floors failure but often times there are other reasons that can cause a failure yet it’s always the installers fault until proven otherwise.
     
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  4. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    I’m interested in the flow path of dryer ventilation. So it uses my nice cool humidity controlled interior air and throws it outside? Been wondering that for awhile as I’m not down with this concept or the cheesy exhaust system.

    But I agree, I guess to prove expansion at time of install pictures would defend an installer. Obviously there was some expansion as they didn’t install it that tight. Always more to story than what is divulged.
     
  5. Devin Roy

    Devin Roy Installation Manager

    I'm sure there was some expansion, but damm i've never seen it quite this bad.

    Not new construction, it is a HighRise though
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 1, 2018
  6. seamsealer

    seamsealer Pro Member

    One way to find out, pull the baseboard and take a look and see that there is enough room for expansion.

    This reminds me of a new house I did in early 80's. Owner calls and says the Solarian floor is moving up the wall. Hmmm, never heard that one before. Met the builder there and we removed the baseboard and the wall was never nailed down. The room on the other side of the kitchen was a bedroom with hardwood floors and as it warmed up, the hardwood picked up moisture and pushed on that wall and the solarian surface was being skinned off the backing, making it look like it was moving up the wall. The builder screwed down the wall without damaging the sheet rock, put the base back up and never got another call back for that one. Lots of strange stuff in this flooring business.
     
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  7. Chris 45

    Chris 45 Director of P.R. on some deserted island. I Support TFP

    If the floor is buckling, I suspect there is no more expansion space. That part seems obvious. The problem I have is when an inspection is done maybe a year later and of course there is no more expansion space at the time of the inspection. This is not an indicator of there never being a proper expansion space. It just means there isn’t one now. My question is why is there no more expansion space. Was it insufficient from the get go, which is probably the case most of the time, or has something happened that caused the floor to expand beyond whatever expansion space was required as per instructions. I guess my point is How do you know it is installer error. Maybe granny boils spaghetti noodles all day long while taking hot showers and doesn’t believe in using the bathroom fan.
     
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  8. Commercial Floor Rep

    Commercial Floor Rep I Support TFP Published

    When I get calls to look at stuff like this, which isn't often in the commercial world but it happens now and again. I take what I affectionately call the "lie detector" with me. It's a small non-invasive moisture meter in a black leather case. It's just a qualitative test so I could technically use it to compare one area vs. another using the needle scale if I had to. 99% of the time I don't even have to actually use it. I start to get it out while talking to the claimant and they ask me what it is and I tell them it will tell me if there have been any moisture leaks or spills (I know that's a bit of a fib) and all of a sudden I get the stories..."Oh, I just remembered we had an ice maker leak." "Oh, I just remembered the sink, toilet, bathtub overflowed once, but we cleaned it up right away." At that point we start to talk about what the warranty does and doesn't cover and then I go on my merry little way.

    I do agree with Chris with regard to the perimeter gap being a catch all to pin the installer. The gap, for the most part, is there to allow the structure to expand and contract through the course of an average weather cycle, not necessarily so that the product can grow and shrink. Unless you hire a structural engineer, I don't know how you'd determine the present state of the structure within reason. You could possibly look at the seasonal time frame the product was installed in vs. the seasonal time frame you're doing the inspection and see whether they might be in opposition to one another, i.e. summer vs. winter or vice versa. So seeing that a gap isn't present during inspection isn't, in my opinion, a sure fired way to determine whether one was actually left at install.

    That's why taking pictures and documenting as you're installing isn't a bad thing. Everybody nowadays typically has a cell phone. Snap a picture and record that the gaps were left at critical pinch points. It's cheap insurance and helps CYA. Some phones even have the ability to record the address and location in the file metadata so you don't even have to add it. They almost all record time and date. Add the job name to keep it somewhat organized and you're all set to go.
     
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  9. Commercial Floor Rep

    Commercial Floor Rep I Support TFP Published

    I also would like to add that I hate it when a claim inspection is done without all parties with skin in the game being present. If you're going to raise issues with installation, then the guy who installed it should be there to answer those questions.

    If done right, when an inspection is done, you're there to gather information not make a final decision then and there. Get what you need answer as little as possible. Then once you make the determination, start with the person you have to deliver the bad news to if it's installation. It's not always possible, but I try and figure out a way to minimize the sting for the guy. If I can get material at n/c and they eat the labor at least they usually recognize I'm trying to help. I also try and use it as a teaching moment so we don't end up back in the same spot with the next job.

    This is how partners work together. To me, the installer is as important if not more important as the salesperson and/or designer. Everybody can come up with a reasonable plan on paper, but executing that plan is the sole responsibility of the flooring mechanic. So many times the job or product is oversold which puts unrealistic expectations on the mechanic to perform miracles. If you set them up for failure from the start, how can you expect anything different than failure.

    Ok, getting off my soap box now. I just had to remind myself that even though it usually gets blamed on them, it's not always the mechanic's fault.
     
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  10. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    I like the part where you said you would pay the installer for his time to trim the laminate “in that spot only” and all is well in the real world.
     
  11. Tom Potter

    Tom Potter I Support TFP

    Your absolutely right about that. Its become about as important as scraping & sweeping in my crew. I tell everyone to get pics before, during & after. Plus all the important things. Moisture readings, expansion gaps, prior damage around our work space, whatever I think someone might try to point a finger at me for. I'm tired of having to defend me & my guys for what 99% of the time doesn't apply to us. Frankly, it's sad it has come to that.
     
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  12. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    I use to take pictures... then I stopped. I refuse to live in a world where I have to defend myself and the truth. If you don't believe me, so be it. I believe me and will tell you if I did something. Wanna take me to court because you don't believe me... well I'll probably go back to taking pictures :)
     
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  13. Commercial Floor Rep

    Commercial Floor Rep I Support TFP Published

    Mark, Mark, Mark....you do realize I'm not talking about naked selfies right? :p
     
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  14. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    Right right, but I literally use to take pics of all pretty existing damage, floor conditions, sexy neighbours... well you get the idea. Then I took a deep breath and figured, if you don't trust me I shouldn't be in your house anyhow. Good enough for me. I put post it notes on damage I do, or repair it. I got nothing to hide and if that isn't good enough well... what's a man to do.
     
  15. Chris 45

    Chris 45 Director of P.R. on some deserted island. I Support TFP

    I take pics of all my moisture reading but I also refuse to take pictures of every little thing for the same reasons Mark said. However I will take pictures on those jobs that I just have a gut feeling that I should and it’s saved my bacon before.

    The last time I had that gut feeling was when a customer had gone and opened every box of wood and sorted through the good boards and bad boards then they also wondered why they were being charged for how much material was required (net plus 10) as opposed to just the net square footage of the room. The customer also wanted me to fill all the knot holes with putty. It was a prefinished character grade hardwoodo_O The customer had installed their own underlayment and it was obvious that they cut the plywood right there in the room. I took pictures of all the dirt/ dust and all that crap just because I had a feeling. When it was all said and done, the customer complained to the shop about it taking them until midnight to clean everything and even needing to repaint the entire room. Those pictures saved my ass that day.
     
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