I went on a consultation the other day for a new construction home buyer. His concern was that the contractor was gluing down Engineered Wood without the AC on, in Florida. The room read 83 degrees 81% Rh at 9:20am. While I was there I noticed that the wrong moisture testing was done, and overspray (drywall mud and paint) were still on the floor. Here is where it gets interesting. The “vendor” rep said the AC doesn’t need to be on, the superintendent said they’ve been doing this for 3 years and haven’t had any problems, BUT according to the manufacture instructions the AC MUST be ON 7 days prior to install, it says to perform an RH or CALC test on the concrete, and the substrate MUST be clean, flat, and dry. None of these things were done in the million dollar plus home in South Tampa.
This situation caused me to wonder about value. I have wood products in my store that I could retail for $4.00 a sqft. I also have products in my store that I could retail for $17.00 a sqft. Is the $17.00 a sqft product $13.00 better than the $4 a sqft product? Yes, it is and here is where I make those comparisons:
- What is the manufacturing process?
- What selection of wood was used? (select, common, character grade)
- Where were the trees farmed and the labor cost to put it together?
- Where was it manufactured? Far East, North America, South America, Europe, Asia
- What is the Janka rating? The Janka hardness test measures the resistance of a type of wood to withstand denting and wear.
- What is the quality of the finish, the thickness of the veneer?
All of these things affect cost, but most importantly is the company backing the product and the quality of the retailer selling it.
After determining value, it leads to what customers really care about WARRANTY. What does a warranty mean? The product listed above gives a “lifetime warranty” but what does that mean? The manufacturer DOESN’T warranty the finish, they only warranty that the product will not come apart IF it’s not exposed to moisture, which includes humidity and we have plenty of that in Florida. Even though the product above is being installed wrong (by their own installation instructions) the company said they will honor the warranty (they did this to keep the retailer happy not the customer). I don’t think that is a company I want to work with. In fact, I don’t sell their product in my store. The installer said they would give a 50 year warranty because they are so confident that it won’t fail, but NOT against moisture problems, again moisture includes humidity and since incorrect moisture testing was done is the first place, I wonder how this is going to go in a few year. The reason they both do this is to avoid the cost of removing it and buying and installing it properly. Something that should have been done from the beginning.
I heard someone say that if it was only about price nobody would buy coffee at a store, it is cheaper to make it at home. I don’t hear people questioning why a BMW is more expensive than a KIA, they also don’t question why Filet Mignon is more expensive than Ground chuck. I’m not saying that ground chuck or a Kia don’t have value, but I don’t expect the same things from them as I do Filet or a BMW. So please don’t buy something you’re going to walk on for 50 years, be purchased solely on price. If you want ground chuck buy ground chuck, and if you want Filet get filet. And don’t think that just because the “store” you’re in has products for $6.00 that that is the best quality floor maybe it is just the best quality that they offer.
With all that being said, if it isn’t installed correctly, the $17-dollar floor has just as much a chance of failing as the $4 floor. Whether you bought the BMW or the KIA, you thought you did your homework, and spent your hard-earned money on what may be a “once in your lifetime” purchase. You would hate to take the car in for repair to the dealer a couple years down the road when something is not right only to find out that the local mechanic you normally go to didn’t use the right parts and now BMW/KIA will not honor their warranty to fix the car, or better yet, the original mechanic that caused the problem says “not their fault” it’s the way you drive your car. So, you are now on your own, to use more of your hard-earned money to fix someone else’s problem or give up and learn to live with the problems. You could always hire a lawyer to sue them, but hey, if you had the time and money to do that you would probably just pay them to fix it again and be done with it. In the end, what I am trying to say is………. buyer beware. Do your homework, ask questions…many questions…and maybe even consider a third-party consultant that can walk you through the WHOLE process, not just the pretty parts. Last, but not least, if something doesn’t look right or sound right demand that they stop work. Because once you accept it, you give up your power and leverage. Where is the VALUE in that????