Mannington Engineered Hardwood and my Internet Purchase

Where do I begin???
We're building a new home and I fell in love with the photo of Mannington's Blue Ridge Hickory Plank Natural in their catalog. I went to several local flooring stores to price shop and view the sample boards. I got catalogs and I requested wood samples from Mannington, which they sent right out. I thought I knew what I was ordering.
I called FastFloors.com and got a quote of $5.30 a square foot, which was $2.00 a foot less than the lowest local store was offering. They offered to put flooring on hold for me, because this particular style is popular and on backorder frequently. The next day, credit card in hand, I called FastFloors.com back to pay. I was told that the quote was no good and that I would have to pay $6.15 a square foot. Since the only available flooring was on hold with them, I would either have to risk losing that lot to someone else in the country and waiting for a backorder to arrive in a few weeks, or pay the higher price. I was angry, but I ordered the flooring.
It was delivered 3 weeks ago, and our installers told us to let it sit in the house for two weeks to acclimate. We opened two boxes, and admired the top board or two---couldn't wait to see it installed!
Installation day arrived 10 days ago. Several hours into the job, the owner of the installation company called me and told me that a lot of the wood was bad, and that I needed to leave work and take a look.
Bad? It is horrible wood. Nothing at all like Mannington's photos. I called them up and was told that hickory has lots of "character and color variation". I was fine with the colors--that is what I loved about what I had seen. I did not appreciate the worm holes, huge gray areas, black streaks, wood with defects which had been finished over, huge knots, etc. My installer told me it was "cabin grade" wood, which would be fine if we were building a cabin and not a $2 million contemporary home in Los Angeles.
Sadly, during the building of the home, we were victims of the deluges of rain all winter and our subfloors were soaked so often that they were not very smooth. Our installers sanded, and recommended gluing down the flooring to increase the integrity of the finished installation.
When I saw the wood that had been installed, I just about cried in front of the entire crew. The owner told me that the glue wouldn't be completely cured for at least 24 hours and that he could have the flooring pried up in the morning. I told him I'd call Mannington first.
When they told me that this was the wood I had ordered and that the photos on their website are not accurate depictions of the products but merely "room scenes". I wonder what they call the sample boards? The actual samples they mail...what are those??
I told my installer John (not his real name) to go ahead and remove the approximately 300 square feet they'd installed. They had to pry it up with crowbars, tearing up the subfloor with it.
My subfloor is so damaged now that parts will have to be replaced, and the framers glued it to the joists, so we have a HUGE MESS on our hands!!!! I cannot even imagine the words our contractor must have uttered when he walked in last week and saw the destruction.
Mannington has a pre-installation warranty, whereby a consumer can hand-select all of the boards to be installed and return the rest for exchange.
So, what if you order flooring, schedule installers to spend a week at your home, and half the flooring turns out to look like crap, and there is no more in stock because it's on backorder???? Does Mannington warn you? No. Does FastFloors.com? No. But do they both know that Mannington's hickory is like this? Yes! It would be so kind of one of them to inform consumers that they should order twice as much wood as they determine they'll need, so they can hand-select their boards and send the rest back.
John is going to do his best to fix my subfloor. It looks like a bomb went off in the home we were supposed to move into in two weeks. Inspections have been postponed, because we won't pass any of them now.
I'm out another $10,000 in additional wood ordered so far, and will probably need another 25 boxes to fill my original quantity of decent wood ordered.
Will I be responsible for the extra $600-700 in shipping? Will Mannington really refund my $10,000-$13,000 in "rustic" wood? What will the State Attorney General have to say about all of this?
Stay tuned. I will post again, because no one should suffer the stress that my husband and I, and John, are going through right now. I should not be worrying and wondering if more wood will be showing up in the next day or two so that John's guys can finish.
What if I hadn't been able to pay for the extra wood so we could "hand-select" our boards? I was lucky enough to have enough credit available on my AMEX card....oh, and I've called them too. I hear they are very good about dealing with disputed charges.
If I don't come out of this mess satisfied with the outcome, I will be putting up a website to accurately depict Mannington's Blue Ridge Hickory Plank Natural First Quality wood. Someone's got to and Mannington doesn't seem inclined to, at least not yet.
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Your contractor owes you a free subfloor. American Express is the best for disputes so dont worry to much. Am Exp bailed me out several times .
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Bruce's flooring says typical waste is ten percent.

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Lowest price is not always the best value. This sounds sleazy and you won't have the support that a reputable local dealer would offer.

Some of that sounds very typical of hickory, expecially the worm holes and color variation. If knots are solid they are often considered to be acceptable. I don' tknow about the other defects as I can't see them. The samples you were sent should have been a bit more represtative. I think.

Cabin grade? I'm not familiar with the term in an engineered wood floor. OTOH, some woods do look more rustic that others From Mannington's web site: Blue Ridge Hickory Plank Blue Ridge Hickory Plank offers a visual with a wide range of color variations making each floor unique.
Checkk this out: http://www.mannington.com/residential/hardwoodViewByStyle.asp?breadL5=Classics&showPage=main_styles.asp&business_unit_id=1&surface_type_id=2&flooring_type_id=8&collection_idp&gsa_contract=&mainstreet=&series=Statements&Collection=American+Rustics%99
Can you post a photo someplace? How about alt.binaries.test? I'd like to see how your products compare wiht the brochures.

This is where the local dealer would be a big help. A good one would have been at your house to check it out.

The glued subfloor is a good thing, a sign of quality constructiohn to eliminate future squeeks. this time it backfired.

Guess you should have opened more boxes and looke d amore of the boards. I did that just to mix them up from box to box like in real flooring. What you describe is not what I see on their web page though. You do have a good point.

You bad experience is the first i've heard about Mannington. I'm very satisfied iwth every single board I bought.

I will. I'm interested in the resolutionof this.
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Had to order and then drive an hour each way today to pick up another 20 boxes. Now we have 225 boxes to do a 104 box job, but hopefully there is now enough decent wood to finish up tomorrow. I've taken lots of photos and will be keeping some of the bad wood, for future use if necessary. I have to box up all of the bad stuff this week and call to have the distributor pick it up. It's like putting a puzzle together to fit all of the various size boards back in the boxes, and a huge job that I just don't have time for! I am very, very unhappy with my Mannington flooring and I'm starting to think that this wood has already been picked over and re-packaged by someone else, with a few good boards tossed in to make it look otherwise. My boxes only have white stickers on the ends, with the style no., lot no., etc. I saw other Mannington boxes at the distributor's warehouse that had "MANNINGTON" in large letters, in green ink on the sides. Why isn't their name on my boxes?
Oh, and another thing. Ever heard of "banana boards"? That is what the installers are calling some of my planks, which are terribly warped. I'll have to take some photos of those as well. I thought that engineered hardwood didn't warp.
Edwin, I have registered a couple of domains to document this incident, and will post the photos on them shortly.
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> My installer told me it was "cabin grade" wood,

Why in the world would you try to cheap out by ordering online when you have such a huge investment? Chances are your contractor is correct, and you received what we call seconds. You may be correct in thinking the stock you received was repackaged.
There are wholesale houses which contractors can buy flooring. I used to use a wholesale house which had a 2 day turn around on any brand. They carry popular brands and have a showroom which builders, architects, and installers can use for their customers. The stock obtained through a wholesale distributor is first-line, not seconds or rejects.
Had you planned out your project, a reputable contractor probably would have run the flooring through them, and passed a percentage of the savings onto you.
Guess I'm not surprised to see yet another uninformed consumer, wasting away dollars.
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Well, you "used to use" which means you have experience with this, and I did not. My contractor refers to a local retail flooring store, and their prices were so much higher than what I found online. FastFloors.com advertises "First Quality". If they are committing fraud by misrepresenting what they are selling, I will have two companies to file complaints against when I contact California's State Attorney General next week. I called Mannington and they had me check the labels on the boxes, and they stated that based on the label information, I had first quality wood. As of now, I do not believe it.
Also, if the distributor's (Galleher) rep who came out to my home lied to me about the product I have here, I will add them to the list as well.
I did plan out my project to the best of my ability, but I am the homeowner, NOT the contractor, architect, etc. This is the first time we've ever had a custom home built, and it is definitely a learning experience. I will have American Express duke it out with Mannington, Galleher and FastFloors.com. In the meantime, we're almost done with installation, but we are out of good wood again as of today, so I will have to order more again Monday.
I don't feel it's so much a case of an uninformed consumer as it is outright fraud on the part of one or more parties.
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I don't doubt you had a serious problem, but I really doubt that it is fraud. Mannington is far to big a company to risk intentionally putting defective product into the marketplace to save a thousand bucks in scrap. Can defective product reach the consumer? Sure, especially if the warping occurred after the material was packaged. If may have been defective and not noticed (wood moves very slowly), stored under improper conditions (excessive heat or moisture). I'd tread rather lightly and carefully before publicly accusing any business of fraud. You want these people in a position to want to help you and make good on bad products, not to be in a position to have to defend themselves against a potential libel situation.
You'd be amazed at how a good (but firm) attitude helps get problems solved.
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I think this is a perfect example of you get what you pay for. I would have asked myself why the online place is so much less rather than just going for the cheapest price.

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True, IF the labelling on the boxes indicated that it was second quality merchandise, but I talked to Mannington about it, and based on the item number, they said this is first quality product. Also, all of the online places were between $5.19 and $6.15 per square foot. I called several of them, and FastFloors.com seemed to have the most knowledgeable staff. They did not have the cheapest price, and because the lower price range was so widely available on the internet, nothing led me to suspect that things weren't on the up-and-up. I will be calling Mannington again in the morning to talk to them about the plain box issue, and to discuss further what they can do to help. FastFloors.com mentions in more than one place on their website that they only sell first quality products. I can't help but suspect that something fishy has occurred, and maybe it's the distributor, and Mannington and FastFloors.com have no knowledge of what is going on. The warped boards were not the only problem--just one of them.
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