When you’re called out on an inspection, you never know what you will run into. In this case, the homeowners made the statement that this floor was “exceptionally hard to take care of, and sheen is so inconsistent!” During my inspection at this new home, this is what I found:

There were literally 10 products used on the floor—everything from vinegar and water to shine enhancers. 

During the interview with the homeowner, I asked: “Did you ever received floor care instructions?” They answered that yes, they did recall seeing some paperwork when they moved in, but they couldn’t locate it for the inspection. They added, “We’ve owned three homes with hardwood flooring before, so we are familiar with how to care for them.”

Looking at the floor, I could see it was multi-sheen and streaked. Whatever was on the surface of the wood floor was dry, and I couldn’t get it off with standard floor cleaner. That is when I asked about all the different floor mops in their back closet. They stated that when they moved in, the floor sheen was very dull. They told me: “When we picked out the wood floor, we didn’t realize it had little to no gloss. We like to have floors with some shine, which shows they are clean.”

RELATED: Clear Up Confusion About Wood Floor Maintenance

I asked: “During the selection process of your wood floor, did you mention that to the salesperson?” They asked me: “Have you ever built a house, with all the questions coming at you day after day?" They told me that the floor style, width and color was what they wanted, and that they had told the salesperson to go ahead with it.”

During the inspection, I took some denatured alcohol and removed a small section down to the original floor finish and sheen. My report concluded that the homeowners failed to maintain the wood floor to the manufacturer’s maintenance requirements.

There’s a lesson here for you retailers and contractors: Always have the homeowners sign off that they received floor care instructions. This would have saved the retailer $700 for the inspection—instead they could have produced a signed copy of their maintenance release. Yes, it’s one extra step in closing, but in the long run, it’s worth every penny.

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Roy Reichow

Roy Reichow has 50 years of experience in the wood flooring industry as a wood flooring expert. He was the first of three people to acquire all NWFA education credits and all five certifications including Inspector and Commercial Inspector. 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.