Stephen Perrera, Owner Of Top Floor Installation Co. and native Tucsonan since 1955 has been in the flooring trade for over thirty-two years. He is licensed, bonded and an insured state of Arizona Flooring Contractor and detailed troubleshooter who performs moisture testing and floor failure analysis, installing a variety of floor coverings. Top
How to Buy Flooring
I am continually shocked when I read about consumers being taken advantage of by unscrupulous retailers. I frequent a few flooring forums where consumers often complain about their new flooring prematurely wearing out or falling apart.
The most unscrupulous companies buy enough advertising time to put a commercial on every station, every five minutes. After having spent all of that advertising revenue, how much money do you think they have to add to the price of the actual floorcovering they sell? Oh and sure, you're going to get that cruise to the Bahamas' for free as well. Happy in-home sales people are happy because there are so many consumers out there who will fall for this. Once they get in your house, it's high pressure sales tactics time.
This is why one company makes you have both owners of the residence be there at the same time. These guys don't waste their time, they know how to corner people and promise them the world. Sign here....... So, remember to get at least 3 bids no matter how much pressure the salesperson puts on you to accept the deal.
Sales tactics: When you see an advertisement that seems too good to be true, like 59.9999% off flooring, don't believe it. They may have one product that is the only one marked down that low - and believe me it is so cheap not even a slumdog would buy it. Ever hear of a loss leader?
Once I heard a prospective client tell me a happy sales person told them it would cost 20 grand to put laminate in a 1,000 sf area. The laminate costs $3.00 a sf. Fortunately the elderly lady thought better of it. The next day the same salesman called her back saying they made a mistake and it would only cost 12 grand.
Restocking Fee: Check the fine print. If you determine the floor is junk and want to return it for anything else you buy from them, restocking fee's can total up to 39%!
Warranty: A 50 year warranty.... do you really believe that? If you do I have some beach front property to sell you for only 10 grand an acre. Hey, it will be beach front property some day when California falls into the Pacific Ocean.
I've gone out to fix jobs where the big box stores and happy sales people put consumers off for over a year hoping they will simply get discouraged and go away. If this tactic doesn't work, they offer them a menial refund to get them off their backs.
Maintenance: This is yet another way to brush off irate consumers when the flooring falls apart. I cannot tell you how many manufacturers get off the hook because they know you will not maintain the floor properly, like cleaning schedules for one. Carpet needs to be professionally cleaned every year. Check the warranty and make certain you follow the manufacturers' guidelines.
If your cheap foreign-made hardwood falls apart the manufacturer will generally say low humidity is the cause and well, out here the relative humidity is bone dry to sopping wet? True, engineered hardwood and solid hardwood finishes may check and the wood itself may split, but engineered should not delaminate per the hardwood plywood veneer association that writes the standards for hardwood plywood in which the engineered falls under. Most laminate manufacturers have the same rule. But if they sell it in a zone like mine (Arizona) then they are liable for any replacement. If you're making a large investment in hardwoods or other flooring that requires a stated rh number, get a humidifier. They do not cost that much. And if your floor steamer manufacturer says it can be used for hardwood and laminate, call your manufacturer first.
Installation: FYI- There is no such thing as free installation! Installation costs are just about the same everywhere in your local area and the retailer simply marks up the price of something else you need to buy with that product like padding for the carpet.
Free Padding... Really? You believe that? Free Pad?
Did you know many box stores will not install some of the product that's stocked on their shelves? They will not install it because they know there are too many problems with it and ultimately let the consumer DIY it knowing they cannot possibly install it to industry standards. One factor for this is due to the fact that the manufacturer may not put all the necessary instructions on the box or in the literature.
Is cheaper flooring and installation a better deal? Think about how much replacement will cost you. A favorite saying is 'The bitterness of poor workmanship (or poor quality materials) remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten'.
DO NOT FALL FOR THE NEXT DAY INSTALLATION WHEN IT COMES TO HARDWOOD OR LAMINATE FLOORS!
Installers: Do you really think that a handyman can install a hardwood floor for a buck a foot? Is he insured enough to pay for your house and possessions should he burn it to the ground? Ask why unlicensed guys choose NOT to get a contractors license. I just spent $540 on my license. That is called dedication and being professional.
Most LICENSED independent contractors have legitimate sources for purchasing flooring with their discount. Find one you like that has professional training and certification.
Moisture testing: There are liquidators and budget retailers who go out and do not properly conduct moisture tests on slabs or wood substrates before installations. Why? Because it takes too long and costs more money. The flooring industry surveys have found out that over 70% of the flooring that requires moisture testing is not done at all!
Next time you go shopping for floorcovering ask questions and be sure to read the fine print. Look for a qualified installer who has actually taken the time to get certified and trained in his field, not some handyman who says he can do it and his price is half of what the industry charges.
Good luck and safe shopping.
Edited by Admin 2/21/2012
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