Here’s a scenario from the job site; maybe it sounds familiar to you:

After completion of the wood flooring installation, the floor is covered to protect it from construction debris and moisture. Then six weeks later, after the installation of trim molding, the painting, etc., etc., the floor covering is pulled up … and the owner notices little dents in the face of the flooring due to sand, gravel and whatever else was trapped under the covering. Ultimately, the wood flooring pro gets the call that there is a problem, and the builder/owner wants this covered under the pro’s warranty.

Now the inspector is called in to find out the cause of the damage and document it accordingly. Through discovery of the history, he finds out it was the flooring professional who covered the floor. As you can see in the photo above, one section of the floor is still new while the other side has construction debris including small stones. Now comes in the liability of who is going to warranty it? Of course, everybody wants to turn their cheek to this problem and walk away from it. Now everybody points the finger back to the flooring professional.

Have you had this happen to you? As wood flooring contractors, I think we all have, and it isn't the most pleasant situation to be in with your builder. In my contracting days, this is how we handled the problem of floor protection: We would add a separate clause at the bottom of the proposal for providing the floor covering. Of course, we inflated the price to make sure the builder would have his laborer get there early the next morning and cover it themselves. Oftentimes, the floor covering with end up with holes beaten into it, or the tape will let loose, allowing debris to ruin the finish. If the builder is the one who was responsible for the floor protection and there are problems, now you can charge for the repair—instead of you doing a free repair service because it was your floor protection.

A final note: When installing a prefinished floor, it’s always advisable the have at least one full box of flooring left over for situations like this that are beyond your control.

Roy Reichow

Roy Reichow has 44 years of experience in the wood flooring industry as a wood flooring expert. He holds all NWFA certifications including Inspector and Commercial Inspector, and is ranked one of the top three certified professionals with the NWFA. Roy has served on the NWFACP board of directors as well as past chairman. Roy founded National Wood Floor Consultants Inc. (NWFC) in 2001, a wood floor inspection/consultation firm. NWFC services include mediation, arbitration and litigation consulting and expert testimony for wood flooring design, flooring construction specifications, insurance and installation compliance claims. NWFC has extensive experience and expertise in performing wood floor evaluations/inspections including forensics, diagnostics, and investigations related to design, installation and construction defects.  Roy has authored many articles published in Wood Floor Business magazine as well as other trade publications. He is a national presenter at various conferences and leads educational seminars for wood floor professionals.