You can find thousands upon thousands of hardwood flooring horror stories on every corner of the web: on review sites, forums, and even through your own social networks. From bad-quality wood to atrocious contractors, plenty of examples make the case for careful research when choosing flooring materials, contractors, refinishers, etc.
A number of these complaints come in reference to a certain big-name flooring liquidator. One example is cheap wood made easily accessible through their promotional events. People who have purchased this low-cost, low-quality wood have noted getting wood that was warped, had numerous knot holes that went completely through the planks, scratches, dents and unevenly cut boards. Not to mention all of the reviews on the terrible customer service when these issues were pointed out to the company. Many note that they were told they could not return the wood or get a refund, and were offered a small percentage of store credit only for unopened boxes of wood. Others noted that all of these problems were brushed off by the company, which was defended by all but outright saying “Anything that happens once you install our product isn’t our fault, you should have read the warranty!”
If that wasn’t bad enough, customers have complained that the products they had seen on the website had been out of stock for months, deliveries never showed up, the company had over-purchased their order and then charged them the restocking fee to take the excess wood back, and never being rightfully refunded thousands of dollars by the company. All of these awful experiences are just another reason why you should go with a trusted flooring company for your home project, rather than a budget flooring provider with a history of shady behavior and dissatisfied customers.
A reputable contractor is another way to ensure that you don’t end up out thousands of dollars with a nightmare flooring job. Instances of corner-cutting, faulty installations and outright scams are pervasive within home building or improvement projects, as thousands of people still don’t do their due diligence in screening the contractors they choose. One such project ended up being a $20,000 repair! The flooring wasn’t allowed time to acclimate, leading to severe cupping of the boards due to excessive moisture, and the subfloor was leveled entirely against structural standards. Not only did the flooring need to be replaced, but the foundation of the floor had to be completely redone as well.
Another story details how a contractor did not level the subfloor at all, and the homeowner wound up with serious bouncing in numerous parts of her house. When she confronted her contractor about it, he refused to fix the issue that he had caused. Luckily, she hadn’t paid him for the job yet, but many others haven’t been so fortunate and have had to shell out thousands extra to fix a mistake that could have been avoided by using a reputable contractor for the job.
Another huge cause for hardwood flooring mishaps is DIY flooring projects. Homeowners frequently think they can tackle all of the installation themselves, and end up with a faulty or damaged floor that is costly to properly repair. Hardwood flooring companies and contractors highly recommend NOT attempting to take on a DIY flooring installation. From voiding the warranty on the materials to not acclimating the wood and causing buckling or cupping, there are plenty of mistakes a DIY-er can make, especially with varying kinds of wood. For example, hickory can be incredibly difficult to work with and a non-professional likely does not know how to properly handle a hickory flooring job.
Always make sure to do your research. Look for reputable and trustworthy companies. You can check for any particularly negative reviews through the Better Business Bureau and TrustPilot. Make sure your purchase is exactly to your specifications before you purchase it, and read over the warranty on the materials very carefully. When choosing a contractor, don’t be afraid to request proof of insurance directly from the contractor’s insurance company, and make sure they have a legitimate state license.
Also, be aware of any shady behavior from your contractor, like not checking the moisture levels of both the wood and the home itself, only showing up to work sporadically, sloppiness, trying to overcharge you and not sticking to proposed deadlines. All of these red flags mean you should stop and find a new contractor who will do the job correctly. It’s always worth it to spend more now on a great flooring job than to spend 10x that amount to fix the job down the road.