Hardwood Floor Install Nightmare

sbp59March 31, 2007

We just had 740 square feet of wide plank Coastal Collection Brazilian Cherry installed in our home this week. What was suppose to take 3 days has taken 6 and for the past 2 days, I've been telling the installer and the owner of the store there were spots all over the floor.

The owner insisted these spots would come out and left a cleaner to rub out the spots and 9 hours later the installer's wife had accomplished nothing. Nobody believed me until they tried it for themselves. The floor has a dull, spotty appearance that I have never before seen.

They tell me they used a new glue Ultrabond 980 that didn't get wiped up in time off the wood. It is beyond belief to me that they could let this happen, and they tell me it's never happened before.

The owner said they would make it right and after 2 hours he gave up today and called a guy with a machine to come in next week and take the floor and glue up to reinstall. He wants to use the same glue. I'm thinking that is not a good idea - as it is the floor looks totally unacceptable - and is very hard to believe.

The owner blames the installer for not wiping it up. The installer blames the glue. And I blame the owner for not checking on the job enough and listening to the customer - but the bottom line is the floor looks terrible. I can't find anything like this situation online. Another week of dust and dirt and no guarantee I won't have beautiful floors when all is said and done.

Should I insist that they not use the same glue? I know this floor/manufacturer has been installed in other homes as I've seen pictures and they had it laid down in the showroom. I don't get it. Could it be the wood? It's an extremely hard, thick hardwood.

What should I ask for to make this right besides total and complete reinstall, making them paint the shoe moulding this time around and insisting they hire a cleaning service when done? Thanks!

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The spots are indeed from glue squeeze out that was not thorougly wiped clean. The new urethanes are very unforgiving about clean up. Even the slighest glue film on the surface will cure into a blush that is impossible to remove.This just happenned on an install of a current renovation. Fortunately (for me) I was not involved in the floors as the owners contracted them directly. The floors are scheduled to be torn up this weekend.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 6:07PM
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This isn't the glue!!!! It is the installer that lacks a clean working area! He has not got the concept of cleaning glue smears when they happen. We all get "fat finger syndrome", but the key is to have your rag with a little mineral spirits handy to wipe not only the glue on the boards, but your fingers and hands, to keep them clean.

I may miss a spot here or there, I am human, but if I look my floor over the very next morning, I can usually get the glue off, as I'm pulling my blue tape off.

These floor stores, subcontract out the installations, rarely do they have an employeed workforce doing the work. Having no idea of the guys training or experience, the flooring store owner, will always take a subcontractor with a cheaper price, over the better quality installer with a slightly higher price.

It has to take something like this, (and sometime not) for them to look for a better subcontractor to service their installed product sales. But they still dictate very low pay.

It is a good thing he is ripping it up!! Some will make you go all the way to a courtroom, to get what you want.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 8:59PM
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Is there a reason the floor (thinking its factory finished) couldn't be screened and recoated without replacing? The screening would take off the top layer and adding another coat of finish isn't a bad thing. Just trying to think of a way to resolve the problem without replacing the whole thing.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 10:44PM
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Sure screening or sanding and coating can be done, but you have to have a floor finisher capable of doing a great job and pleasing the customer with an "almost" prefinished look...and how many floor stores employ those?

Very diffcult to do...clean room type floor work and the fiinish has to be the top shelf expensive stuff. Cost? I wouldn't charge less than $6 per square foot or $8 if sanded, stained and then finished.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 7:28PM
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I just wanted to post a follow-up; nightmares do come to an end. Thanks everyone for their input.
I think I got incredibly lucky and I finally have new floors that are worth getting excited about - 6 days for the wrong install and 3 days to tear up and reinstall. I had a crew with a forklift type machine and jackhammer taking up the floor and a crew putting it down. I watched how differently they installed the floor from the first installer. They spread a section of glue, washed their hands and then laid down the wood. There were minimal glue spots, and it looks beautiful. Our house is filled with dust but after 9 days, I just wanted our house back. It'll be interesting to see if I hear anymore from the owner, but I am glad because now I know what great wood floors look like!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 8:51PM
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Top notch retailer and replacements isntaller right there.

Mistakes happen because we are all human and the retailer made it all right to satisfy the consumer.

That's the way it should happen.

I agree with Perry this is a purely installer related situation.

Its obvious the first installer had very limited glue down hardwood experience to be so sloppy.

You should be singing the praises to that retailer and telling everyone how great they are.

Many retailers arent.

As a retailer myself, I have been stung by subcontractors with impeccable credentials and references and and all you can do is to do right by your customer.

I am glad you got satisfied.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 9:07PM
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Hmmm... was this pre-finished?

I have unfinished red oak... and Bostik's best Urethane... I had the installer, the supplier and Bostik tell that any glue on the floor will sand off and not to worry. The Bostik glue remove is ONLY for finished floor... not unfinished... and my installer said he did not want to use mineral spirits because that could leave a stain... "don't worry, it will and off"... I made them all aware of what I read here about Urethane glue staining the wood.

Now, after part of it is installed... i took a belt sander and tried to sand off a 1-day dried glob of glue.. it left a blush on the wood... I am concerned that when stained it will be even MORE obvious. The installers have quite a few areas with boot marks of glue, etc...

Should I be raising hell here or still trusting??????


    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 9:32PM
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Raise heck -- now. Do not wait. They told me day after day it would come off. It wasn't until the owner himself came out and after several hours realized he couldn't get the spots up -- and that they were all over the floor -- that he made the decision to rip the floor up. They never asked me to complete a comment card nor followed up with me if we were satisfied. He also promised to pay for dinner for the nights we were inconvenienced. Didn't do that either. Today, the floor is wonderful--and they used the same glue -- but they were very careful when it was installed. I wouldn't recommend them because they didn't follow through -- and I'm scared to go through such an experience again.

I'd insist they show you how to get the spots removed before they continue. Seriously, my floor looked like it had the chicken pox.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 10:53PM
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Thanks for your response... but was yours pre-finished or unfinished? If it is pre-finished I can understand how there might not be much that can be done to correct the ruined finish... but with unfinished floor... that will get sanded, stained, etc. they are telling me that it can be sanded out... I am trying to find anyone who has had unfinished floor glued with Urethane, and find out whether it is true that it can be sanded out... how deep into the wood does the urethane stain?


    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 11:54PM
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Not a problem with urethane glue on unfinished hardwood. My first job with Bostiks 10 years ago was an unfinished 1/2" cherry quarter sawn. I had the stuff everywhere. Thankfully it wasn't prefinished!

A belt sander does not take off enough material. For added comfort I witnessed another unfinished gluedown(engineered) about two months ago. There was glue here and there and a few small globs, no noticeable difference once it was finished natural. If it was a stained floor I doubt it would have an effect either.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 8:24AM
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