Advice on recently installed vinyl plank flooring

Discussion in 'Vinyl Flooring Q&A' started by peakingproblem, Sep 5, 2017.

  1. peakingproblem

    peakingproblem New Member

    Hi all,

    I'm looking for some expert advice - hence why I'm here! I'm a non-handy consumer so please bear with me.

    My wife and I recently had some vinyl plank flooring installed across approx. 850 square feet of our home (entire first floor and an upstairs office). The brand was Dura Contract Click.

    We're happy with the product, its quality and how it feels under our feet. However, we've had issues with peaking (see attached pictures). Every 3-4 boards or so has some form of peaking happening, some barely noticeable and others very much so. Our socks will catch on them or dust will get caught when sweeping up.

    We're raised the issue with our installer, who's tried some spot fixes using a heat gun and rubber mallet, but that hasn't really helped. They've said this should improve with time, particularly in the winter when things start to contract. I wasn't there to witness the install, so aren't sure on the details like expansion gaps, subfloor, etc.

    Needless to say this wasn't what we were expecting. Maybe we were naive, but we thought the floor would be perfectly smooth. Seeing all these peaks, especially in the light, is driving us both crazy.

    We're trying to decide on next steps. Is there any realistic way to easily fix the floor as currently installed? Would going to the manufacturer be helpful at all? The installer has said these problems are normal and can be a result of temperature/humidity/etc. I'm not sure if they would just point the finger at the installer or vice versa.

    Would having it ripped out and redone potentially lead to the same problem? What kind of cost would we be looking at for a tear-out and re-do? We're also wondering about switching to a distressed hardwood. What are the pros and cons of this? What are the cost implications?

    I guess we're just not sure if this is perfectly normal and something we need to live with, or something we should invest the money/inconvenience to fix.

    Thanks in advance for any help/advice.


    Attached Files:

  2. Roland Thompson

    Roland Thompson Charter Member Senior Member

    No it should not look like that. Looks like they did not get the end joints locked in right.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Dan Schultz

    Dan Schultz Certified Wood Floor Inspector Charter Member

    Installer says it should get better in winter, yet used a heat gun to try to fix?
    • Funny Funny x 2
  4. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    The biggest con is your credibility. The minute you mention this as a solution is the minute you will lose support from those who can help you most, even when it is obvious to them what the problem is.

    It's a beautiful floor and appears to be a decent product, so shoo away any buyers remorse and stick with the thought that this needs to be repaired. It doesn't matter how many boards they have to remove and replace because you paid for a product and a correct installation. You can download the installation instructions here: Dura Contract Click Product Information

    Stand your ground. Show them that you have some knowledge of the installation particulars and they will probably stop feeding you lines like "this is normal." It's not; they are stalling. Just fix it already.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Chris 45

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

    It looks like the installers broke the locking mechanisms on some of the butt joints. How about some pictures of the overall installation. This could be a big ol can of worms.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. peakingproblem

    peakingproblem New Member

    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for all the replies.

    Yes, we obviously want to have it fixed. I think the buyers' remorse is out of frustration with the installer who is not providing any helpful answers. As well, we are worried that we could have the exact same issue with a complete rip-out and replacement.

    I've attached a few wider shots of the full installation. The peaking doesn't show up as well in these shots, but hopefully this gives some better context.

    What is the best way to approach this situation? We have a GC who subcontracted the flooring installer. The GC is trying his best to put pressure on him, but the installer seems reluctant to do any kind of significant fix. He's saying that it's all normal with this product. Do we just keep pushing? Can we go to the manufacturer directly, or does that have to be through the installer?

    We're worried about the installer getting his back up and frankly don't want him redoing the job or sabotaging any chance of getting a warranty claim.

    Thanks again,

    - PP
    DSC_0016.JPG DSC_0017.JPG DSC_0018.JPG
  7. Steve Olson

    Steve Olson Hardwood/Laminate Guru Charter Member Senior Member

    My thought, to add to the others, is that the installer used a tapping block to engage the end joints, and either damaged the locking joint by tapping directly on it, instead of using a piece of scrap, (with its lock engaged to the plank being installed,) to place the tapping block against. Or, just tapping too aggressively can cause peaking as well.
    I've seen both, on the same jobs.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. Chris 45

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

    Who did you sign the contract with? If you signed a contract with the GC and he subbed the job to an installer, the GC is ultimately responsible for taking care of your job whether or not the original installer is even capable of doing a satisfactory repair. Just some food for thought. Hopefully you have some money held back to help ensure prompt service
    • Agree Agree x 3
  9. peakingproblem

    peakingproblem New Member

    Yes, contract is with the general contractor and we are planning to hold back our final payment until this is resolved.

    Does anyone have experience in similar situations like this? What typically happens from here? Who determines if the flooring needs to be replaced? Is that in discussion with the manufacturer?
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. In the commercial world we call this "retainage". That's money that isn't paid to the GC until the end-user is satisfied that the contract was fulfilled. DO NOT BE COERCED INTO PAYING THAT MONEY UNTIL THIS IS FIXED!!!! It's your only real leverage in getting this resolved. This isn't your fault.

    The next step would be for a claim to be started by you or the builder with the manufacturer of the product. The process can vary a bit from manufacturer to manufacturer but the basic steps are that an inspection will be performed by a manufacturers representative. In addition you may want to hire an independent inspector to inspect the flooring on your behalf in case this would go to some type of arbitration or litigation.

    The inspector will turn in his report to the manufacturer and the manufacturer will decide whether the issue is a valid manufacturing claim or is the result of an installation error.
    • Like Like x 2
  11. peakingproblem

    peakingproblem New Member

    Good advice, thank you.

    If it's in fact an installation error, what happens then?
  12. It's ultimately the GC's responsibility to get his subcontractor to warranty the work. If they do not then he has to take care of the repair out of his end and most likely would hire a different sub to do the repair.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    To confim the above advice. That money you owe the GC is just about all the leverage you have-----in the real world. Technically, in an ideal world the GC and his subs would honor your expectations of expert workmanship and fix it no matter what were it there fault or get the manufacturer involved til it was fixed in the instance where there was a defect they they could prove. What you have is not acceptable and will not resolve itself with traffic and acclimation. It's highly likely they damaged those end joints during the install as explained above. Is it possible to disassemble and re-use those planks? Surely some could be reworked but it's not likely you could salvage 100%. That leads to the need for extra material and the potential complication of shading from a different batch of tile.

    Try to be patient but be clear and determined with the GC and his sub if you even need to speak with them. I'd try to avoid talking to the sub at this point. He's already indicated he want to weasel out of it.

    Go over his head and keep a cool head. It sucks to have to twist arms to get things done right. But I find that if you remain calm and respectful............who am I kidding? I'm the maniac yelling and threatening.

    So I can assure you, that doesn't work!
  14. I thought I'd mention something, because it does come up during the process quite often. Since the manufacturer is paying for the inspector to process the claim, they legally do not have to give or show you a copy of the inspectors findings. Now an ethical manufacturer generally may share that information, but more times than not they are going to protect the dealer especially in the case of an installation error and NOT share the inspectors findings with you. This is another reason I suggest you get a qualified independent inspector of your own so you know what's really going on. Most likely what will happen if the problem is found to be installation related is that you will simply get a generic turn down letter from the manufacturer stating that the problem is not covered under there warranty and that their findings show that the product meets their specifications. They won't say why the flooring is having an issue, merely that they are not responsible for replacement under their warranty. This way of wording the letter keeps them from blaming the dealer who is ultimately their long term customer. In order for you to know what really happened you'll have to hire your own inspector to forensically diagnose the problem and he will then provide YOU with his written report. This can help you qualify the manufacturer's findings and make sure that no one's pulling a fast one.

    As I stated earlier, IF they don't fix the problem through repair or replacement to your satisfaction then you're going to need this inspection information to proceed to arbitration or court. That's worst case scenario of course and I hope that they will fix your issue long before that, but I believe in being prepared for the worst and hoping for the best.
  15. Daris Mulkin

    Daris Mulkin The One and Only Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Also having your own independent inspection will possibly help you fight it out. I got one on one occasion where my inspector didn't agree with the mill inspector and I won the argument. Actually it was the only time I got inspected in all my years.


  16. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    I've NEVER dealt with a real "independent" inspector. But of course in the commerical world there are regular inspections going on all the time and on nearly half the jobs I deal with full time, on site inspections. So the real difference is these don't devolve into "after-the-fact" complaints. We stop work when that dude has ANY kind of problem. I just headed one of those off at the pass today.
  17. kylenelson

    kylenelson You'll find me on the floor I Support TFP Senior Member

    Looks almost guaranteed to be installer error. Don't pay, it will make things happen faster. Sorry your floor looks like crap:
  18. Tom Potter

    Tom Potter I Support TFP

    From your pic's the ends seem to be drop lock. My guess is there may be some deflection in your sub floor. The movement from walking works the locking mechanism apart.
    That thin click together LVP is very temperamental. Everything HAS to be perfect for it to work. Proper edge spacing, recommended stagger, acclimation, temperature, deflection specs, sun zones...... The list goes on forever!
    Personally i think the thin, floating LVP products are a terrible product. The con's outweigh the pro's. The only pro is it's an easy install. Everything else is a con.
    Now that same exact product in a glue down install is a complete different story. It's strictly the floating one's that have the issues and the baggage.
    Just my 2 cents
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. FlooringFashions

    FlooringFashions They call me Brian

    I checked out the link to the installation directions to see if it was a drop lock because i thought this too. Like debris or something was lifting the joint. But according to the directions it is not a drop lock system. The locking system was broken or debris is in the grove. Lack of sweeping can get saw dust ir dirt in the grove. But most likely the locking system was broke by improperly installing the planks. Different brands if plank have slightly different methods of install some easier than others. But one thing you should not do is force them into place. It will break. Take the plank out and find out why it will not go. Blow out the dirt and try again. A plank replacement or two will fix the raised joint but i would get a good installer to do that.
    • Like Like x 1

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