new kitchen floor: contractor job

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We had our kitchen floor replaced.
The new floor uses Bruce prefinished oak. The contract said that they'd te ar out some plywood under the old floor, else the new one would be too high .
The floor mainly looks OK, but my wife is now really pissed off because it slopes in a way the old one didn't. Meaning: It's an eat-in kitchen. The eat-in part is in an addition. (There's no wall between the kitchen part and the eat-in part.) Now, roughly at where the addition meets the main fo otprint of the original house, the floor slopes downwards. A nearby cabine t makes it look like a drop of about 3/4 inch for a couple feet run, at lea st there.
I suppose there are two ways this could have happened: (1) The contractor didn't execute the stated plans correctly. (2) The plans were adhered to, but whoever put the plywood in before did so mething to even out the slope, and this "balance" was upset when the plywoo d was ripped out.
My question is: should the contractor have observed this problem and alert ed us to it before putting the new flooring in? Meaning, I can see that th ey shouldn't have to finish the contract without additional money if there was something screwy they couldn't have known about before, but should they have alerted us to the problem and presented alternatives (like, "for $X w e can try to deal with that, or you could just ignore it and we'll continue ")?
The place was pretty highly rated in our local ratings magazine.
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On Sunday, April 28, 2013 5:18:15 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@jqpx37.cotse.net wrote:

OK, I got out my little level. The floor is pretty level in the kitchen/original house half. It's also pretty level in addition/dinner room half. But at the transition, it slopes more than 1/2" in the course of one and a half feet.
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On Sun, 28 Apr 2013 14:37:35 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@jqpx37.cotse.net wrote:

kitchen/original house half. It's also pretty level in addition/dinner room half. But at the transition, it slopes more than 1/2" in the course of one and a half feet.
As a homeowner, you may not have seen that coming. A contractor is a professional and it is his job to see problems like that. He should have had a solution, be it at additional cost or not.
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snipped-for-privacy@jqpx37.cotse.net;3054572 Wrote: >

> and a half feet.
If this hardwood flooring contractor also installed baseboards after he finished installing the floor, then I don't see how the difference in floor height WOULDN'T have come to his attention. He would have noticed that for sure when installing the the baseboards at that transition. He couldn't have missed noticing that the baseboard elevation that works well on one side of the transition DOESN'T work on the other side of that transition, and would have had to figure out what to do with the baseboard in that transtion zone.
It seems to me that the best fix would have been to add an additional layer of underlayment to the area that was at the lower elevation first, and then transition to the floor at the higher elevation.
Johnsonite makes a stiff rubber material specifically for this purpose. It comes in 12 inch wide strips 4 feet long that go from effectively zero thickness on one side to 1/8 inch, 1/4 inch, 3/8 inch and 1/2 inch thickness on the other. The following image shows how the Johnsonite subfloor leveller system can be installed:
[image:
http://www.johnsonite.com/portals/8/Subfloorleveler.jpg ]
The green sheet flooring is thinner than the grey flooring, and so the tapered rubber strip is installed to transition between the two finished floor heights.
In your case, a better option would have been to add a layer of 1/2 inch underlayment to the part of the floor that was at the lower elevation, and then use these tapered strips to fill in the transition between the new underlayment and the higher elevation floor. If you use two pieces of the 0 to 3/8 inch transition and a 6 inch wide piece of 3/8 inch underlayment, you can go from 0 to 9/16 inches difference in floor height in a foot and a half wide transition. From what you're saying, that would have worked out well on your floor.
Maybe they started installing the hardwood flooring on the part of the floor at the lower elevation first, and by the time they encountered the change in floor elevation, part of the floor had already been covered in hardwood, and fixing things at that point would have meant tearing out the hardwood they'd already installed. Maybe this was a new foreman leading up this job, and he just didn't know what to do about the problem once it was staring him in the face, so he just decided to finish the job and hope you'd just learn to live with it.
Still, if this was a professional hardwood flooring contractor, then he should have been on the look out for things that could screw up the job, LIKE changes in floor elevation. After all, this wasn't his first hardwood floor installation, and he would have realized that something like that would need to be corrected BEFORE he starts installing the hardwood. So, I agree with the others that the contractor should have noticed and addressed this problem before installing the hardwood.
Have you already paid the contractor? Either way, I'd maybe bring this to the attention of the top dog at that company. Even though the job is finished, they should acknowledge that it was a mistake on their part to install the hardwood without discussing the matter with you first, and they may be willing to fix the floor at no or very little cost to you.
--
nestork


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d

e

That image looks worse than his "problem" to me. He said they transitioned 1/2" in about 18". But I guess you could use multiple pieces side by side of the less pitched product to make it more gradual.

e

I agree, provided that adding that 1/2" to the lower part doesn't screw up something somewhere else, ie the bottom of a door, another transition someplace else, etc.
 If you use two pieces

s

I'd be interested to hear how this works out. The problem now is the "fix" isn't an easy one and involves tearing out at least 1/2 the job.
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On Monday, April 29, 2013 12:51:33 AM UTC-4, nestork wrote:
"If this hardwood flooring contractor also installed baseboards after he fi nished installing the floor, then I don't see how the difference in floor h eight WOULDN'T have come to his attention. He would have noticed that for sure when installing the the baseboards at that transition."
Right. It's obvious at the transition: you can see the drop where they re placed the trim where the kitchen counter meets the floor. My wife claims she pointed it out after they were done before they level, and the tech som ehow shrugged it off.
You can also see from the trim in the addition as a whole that the level dr opped. We're fine with that; we discussed that beforehand.
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On Apr 29, 11:02 am, snipped-for-privacy@jqpx37.cotse.net wrote:

finished installing the floor, then I don't see how the difference in floor height WOULDN'T have come to his attention.  He would have noticed that for sure when installing the the baseboards at that transition."

hey replaced the trim where the kitchen counter meets the floor.  My wife claims she pointed it out after they were done before they level, and the tech somehow shrugged it off.

dropped.  We're fine with that; we discussed that beforehand.
But why did you pay him for a crappy job??? And, wasn't anyone there while the work was being done??
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On Apr 29, 9:32 pm, " snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net"

e finished installing the floor, then I don't see how the difference in flo or height WOULDN'T have come to his attention.  He would have noticed tha t for sure when installing the the baseboards at that transition."

they replaced the trim where the kitchen counter meets the floor.  My wi fe claims she pointed it out after they were done before they level, and th e tech somehow shrugged it off.

l dropped.  We're fine with that; we discussed that beforehand.

The big thing here that's new and of concern is that he now says:
" You can also see from the trim in the addition as a whole that the level dropped. We're fine with that; we discussed that beforehand."
What does that mean? If there was discussion and agreement before about the trim level dropping in the addition, how could that come up without it being a direct result of the floor itself also dropping? It would seem to me that if the trim drops, it must be because the floor drops too.....
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On Apr 28, 5:18 pm, snipped-for-privacy@jqpx37.cotse.net wrote:

d tear out some plywood under the old floor, else the new one would be too high.

t slopes in a way the old one didn't.  Meaning:  It's an eat-in kitchen .  The eat-in part is in an addition.  (There's no wall between the kit chen part and the eat-in part.)  Now, roughly at where the addition meets the main footprint of the original house, the floor slopes downwards.  A nearby cabinet makes it look like a drop of about 3/4 inch for a couple fe et run, at least there.

something to even out the slope, and this "balance" was upset when the plyw ood was ripped out.

lerted us to it before putting the new flooring in?
 Meaning, I can see that they shouldn't have to finish the contract without additional money if there was something screwy they couldn't have known about before, but should they have alerted us to the problem and presented alternatives (like, "for $X we can try to deal with that, or you could just ignore it and we'll continue")?

Absolutely. Any competent floor installer should have pointed out the problem, the possible solutions, etc. Dropping 1/2" in 1.5 ft is not acceptable.
But another question is what are the ramifications of making it one height, eg either the higher height or the lower height? Would that be easy to do or do you wind up with some other alignment or transition problem somewhere else?
My guess is that to do this right would have required some more finesse, time, skill, etc and the contractor just didn't give a damn.
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On Sunday, April 28, 2013 5:18:15 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@jqpx37.cotse.net wrote:

[snip]
A few more details:
The old floor was also a Bruce product. We knew what was underneath in the sense that some air vent/register comes out easily, and you can look from there.
The sales guy said that between having been sanded down or something, and ( IIRC) having been thinner to begin with, they'd probably take the stuff und erneath the Bruce planking [? I'm not an expert in these things] out. If they didn't, the floor would be higher, and that's not the end of the world except that then e.g. this door at the side of the addition would no longe r open (it was a pretty tight fit as it was).
The house is pretty old, a 1948 brick Colonial, and IMHO it's overall a goo d house, but having been through many owners there's a few quirky things ab out it. My guess is that the sheeting they did rip out was somehow placed to compensate for the transition, and when they ripped it out that "fix" wa s removed and not replaced.
My own guess is that as one of you said, "...to do this right would have re quired some more finesse, time, skill..." It was supposed to be a one-day job, and they did finish in a day. Also, none of the guys on site spoke En glish at all well, according to my wife who was here. Whether that correla tes with being less skill is a potential flamewar that I don't think it's w orth getting into, but obviously it might make communication more difficult .
My own attitude is conflicted. On the one hand, I'm not much into aestheti cs, and it's not a big deal to me. All I give a $h*t about is resale impli cations, which I think are probably pretty minor. OTOH, we live in a world of real "information asymmetry," as economists would say, and I get pretty damn tired of people doing jobs quickly and at low cost, and without a deg ree of professionalism that should be reasonable to expect. Sadly, this ki nd of crap is hardly limited to the construction trades, but that's a rant for a different newsgroup.
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On Apr 29, 9:21 am, snipped-for-privacy@jqpx37.cotse.net wrote:
e:

the sense that some air vent/register comes out easily, and you can look f rom there.

(IIRC) having been thinner to begin with, they'd probably take the stuff u nderneath the Bruce planking [?  I'm not an expert in these things] out.  If they didn't, the floor would be higher, and that's not the end of the world except that then e.g. this door at the side of the addition would no longer open (it was a pretty tight fit as it was).

ood house, but having been through many owners there's a few quirky things about it.  My guess is that the sheeting they did rip out was somehow pla ced to compensate for the transition, and when they ripped it out that "fix " was removed and not replaced.

required some more finesse, time, skill..."  It was supposed to be a one- day job, and they did finish in a day.  Also, none of the guys on site sp oke English at all well, according to my wife who was here.  Whether that correlates with being less skill is a potential flamewar that I don't thin k it's worth getting into, but obviously it might make communication more d ifficult.

hetics, and it's not a big deal to me.  All I give a $h*t about is resale implications, which I think are probably pretty minor.  OTOH, we live in a world of real "information asymmetry," as economists would say, and I ge t pretty damn tired of people doing jobs quickly and at low cost, and witho ut a degree of professionalism that should be reasonable to expect.  Sadl y, this kind of crap is hardly limited to the construction trades, but that 's a rant for a different newsgroup.
I would not accept it the way it is. If it wound up in small claims I would think you'd have an excellent chance of prevailing. A newly installed floor is not supposed to drop 1/2" in 18". At least not unless there is no reasonable way to have done it right and even then, they clearly should have told you, discussed options, etc. Also the fact that it did not exist before is on your side. IMO, the only way a contractor could win this kind of case would be if they had a signed disclaimer where you acknowledged that they told you this would be the result. They are the professional and they are expected to perform work to normal industry practices. This sure doesn't meet that.
Another question is what the root cause of the difference is. Often in cases like this with an older house, it's caused by some structural issue. I'd want to understand why it is the way it is. Some possibilities:
A - Something structural that was fixed at some point, but the floor was never jacked back up. That can be OK as long as it's now sound and you just deal with it at the sub-floor level.
B - As per above, but the structural problem was never addressed at all. Then it should be evaluated. It's probably OK though, if the floor has been the way it has been for a long time, not moving more, etc.
C - It's not structural, but just differences in sub-floor for some reason, like maybe one day the flooring was different in one of those areas versus the other, like tile, etc?
What's underneath? Basement? Can you see what's going on from below? Note that this is just something that should be determined so that it's dealt with properly. It in no way excuses the job they did.
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On Monday, April 29, 2013 10:10:13 AM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:
[snip]

OK, my wife called the guy to bitch about it. The original sales guy. I g ot on the phone also (conference call).
He's saying (a) they didn't know it was a problem before hand, (b) it's not clear it could have been dealt with, (c) his "technician" (his word) is ve ry competent, blah blah blah.
What _you_ seem to say is that this work isn't up to professional standards .
That, to me, is what the key issue is. I'm not a floor guy, so I don't kno w what reasonable professional standards are.
I do try to be a _reasonable_ guy. I do completely, 1000% agree that if a contractor uncovers an unknown problem, then it's in most cases not reasona ble for the customer to demand the contractor deal with it without any addi tional compensation.
But it this case, it _sounds_ like professional standards dictate that they should have brought the problem to our attention, and we should have had t he option of dealing with it.
In terms of more details, we _did_ agree in advance that, by them taking ou t the subfloor, it would result in the overall level of the floor dropping. UNIFORMLY. And we're not contesting that.

Really good points.

Sadly, I can't see. Underneath in the original footprint is my office, typ ing here now, and there's a "false ceiling" or whatever you call it. Under neath the addition, there's nothing. The only thing I can see w/o doing an ything destructive is the vent/register, where there's not much useful info except that I can see the new Bruce flooring, and before I think I could s ee a level of plywood or something.
...so it really boils down to professional standards. Should they have not iced this transition, and should they have told us?
The sales guy said that this kind of thing is very common in old houses, an d there's little that can be done. One of you guys make it sound like ther e's obvious things that can be done. (The Johnsonite link above.)
You yourself pointed out above "Would that be easy to do or do you wind up with some other alignment or transition problem somewhere else?" Again, I' m not a floor guy, but I'm pretty reasonable, so I understand that oftentim es the world we live in is constrained, and fixing/changing things is hard or comes with a "price". But these guys didn't give us the option.
Apparently a higher-level manager called my wife back and gave her this off er: they'd fix it for the price of new materials (ie free labor), but we'd have to pay someone else to level the floor. Which sounds ridiculous: wo uldn't you think "floor guys" would know how to level things out pretty rea sonably before putting the final floor down? This is into "shit, what's th e point of paying someone else, I'll just get a book and make a few inquiri es on alt.home.repair and do it myself" territory.
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On Monday, April 29, 2013 11:55:05 AM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@jqpx37.cotse.net wrote :
[snip]
Adding: suppose the problem were that the slope was completely gradual, fr om one end of the kitchen to one end of the dining area. My intuition woul d say that that would be very difficult to fix, indeed. What would you do, put down wood, and then plane it until it were level? But of course a 3/4 " drop over 15" wouldn't be a big deal.
But a transition, it's _possible_ that it would be easy to fix or considera bly ameliorate. _Maybe_ one could just put sheeting down in the lower port ion, and then in the transition be a bit more careful and use extra pieces to even things out.
Maybe not. But again, they just did the work and didn't think it was a big deal.
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On Apr 29, 11:55 am, snipped-for-privacy@jqpx37.cotse.net wrote:

 I got on the phone also (conference call).

That may be true. You say the existing floor did not have that nasty sharp level change. In that case something was done differently in the previous install to even it up and they removed or changed that. It could have been that some level changing was applied over a much wider area, so that while the level changes, it's not abrupt, and hence not noticeable.
(b) it's not clear it could have been dealt with,
Almost certainly a lie. The fact that the existing floor didn't have this problem is pretty powerful proof that you probably can get a floor in there that doesn't have this problem
And you would think they would say "I'll be out with the installer to see what happened, how it got that way, what can be done etc., instead of already making up excuses.
(c) his "technician" (his word) is very competent, blah blah blah.
I think everyone here disagrees.

ds.
I think everyone here agrees that it's not. You can go to any of the local flooring stores and ask them if a 1/2+" drop in 18" is acceptable. It's way beyond anything that's acceptable. The only place it might be acceptable is if it were in say a doorway going from one room to another. Even there I'm not so sure. Because with that much change, do the wood joints even look closed?
Which brings up another possible avenue to explore. Go to the Bruce website and see what you can find as to the standards their product is to be applied to. I would think they might have something that says you can't put it on an area with a sharp level change, for obvious reasons. Or call them up and ask.

know what reasonable professional standards are.
I would think that just life experience and general observation would tell you that it's not acceptable.

f a contractor uncovers an unknown problem, then it's in most cases not rea sonable for the customer to demand the contractor deal with it without any additional compensation.

ey should have brought the problem to our attention, and we should have had the option of dealing with it.

out the subfloor, it would result in the overall level of the floor droppin g.  UNIFORMLY.  And we're not contesting that.

So, I'm confused. There is apparently a kitchen which was an older part of the house and an eat-in section that was added on later. What you just said above makes it sound like they told you that the overall level of the floor would drop uniformly in both areas.
But in another new post, you also said:
" You can also see from the trim in the addition as a whole that the level dropped. We're fine with that; we discussed that beforehand."
Which seems to indicate that the discussion beforehand was about the level changing in just the eat-in section?
Which is it?

typing here now, and there's a "false ceiling" or whatever you call it.  Underneath the addition, there's nothing.  The only thing I can see w/ o doing anything destructive is the vent/register, where there's not much u seful info except that I can see the new Bruce flooring, and before I think I could see a level of plywood or something.

noticed this transition, and should they have told us?

and there's little that can be done.  One of you guys make it sound like there's obvious things that can be done.  (The Johnsonite link above.)
He's a liar. It is common, but it's usually fixable. On top of that, he's telling you what can or cannot be done without even coming out to take a look at it? That alone should tell you they don't give a damn. If I had a customer that was dissatisfied over something like this, first thing I'd do is come look at it.

p

, I'm not a floor guy, but I'm pretty reasonable, so I understand that ofte ntimes the world we live in is constrained, and fixing/changing things is h ard or comes with a "price".  But these guys didn't give us the option.

ffer:  they'd fix it for the price of new materials (ie free labor), but we'd have to pay someone else to level the floor.  Which sounds ridiculou s:  wouldn't you think "floor guys" would know how to level things out pr etty reasonably before putting the final floor down?  This is into "shit, what's the point of paying someone else, I'll just get a book and make a f ew inquiries on alt.home.repair and do it myself" territory.- Hide quoted t ext -

My counter offer would be:
A - Why are you making offers and conclusions without even coming here to look at what was done?
If someone competent sees it, there is a chance they might say, "Oh, that's really bad. I didn't know they did that....." Or they might just give more excuses. I would not be afraid to push this. You have nothing to lose. And as I said before, if you have to, you can go to small claims court, it wouldn't cost you but a few bucks to get a ruling. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
Things in your favor:
No way in hell is this OK to any reasonable standard of workmanship
You claim they just went ahead and did it without even discussing the obvious problem that would result, offering solutions, etc.
They are the experts, it's up to them to do it right, offer options, etc.
Things in their favor:
You paid for it in full.
And maybe you did OK it, possibly without knowing what you were doing. See my questions regarding what you now say about being told the trim level would drop in apparently just the addition? But even if you did, they may not be in a very good position, because at most whatever occured was verbal. If someone comes to a professional and wants them to do something that is basically outside the normal standards, half-assed, may not work, etc, any pro should either not do it, or if they do, then have a disclaimer that the customer signs.
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On Tuesday, April 30, 2013 9:48:37 AM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote: [snip]

Sorry for the confusion.
We think of the original kitchen and the addition as one space, even if it' s actually the original home plus an addition. So what I meant is that we had no recollection of this kind of drop anywhere. And when I talked thing s over with the sales rep when he was making a quote, the idea was that the y would remove subflooring from _the entire space_ (meaning, both sections) . So the level would drop in the entire space (both kitchen/old house and eating-in/addition).
Again, on the inside it appears to be one seamless space.
So, presumably they took out one layer of something or other in both places , and it mysteriously created this drop. I stress the old house vs additio n part because presumably that probably has something to do with it, in ter ms of actual mechanics/cause.
I looked at it more carefully yesterday. One problem is that my wife, whil e extremely intelligent in many ways, isn't really handy. I'm not very exp erienced with construction, but I have very technical training and I'm able to pretty quickly grasp these kinds of issues. But my wife was the one on -site; she's also more upset about the end result.
So, anyway, my simple hypothesis _was_ that the floor dropped _more_ in the addition than in the older kitchen part, because perhaps (who knows now) w hatever they took out in the kitchen was thinner than what they took out in the addition.
But I looked more closely at the evidence from the "trim lines." It looks like it dropped about the same in both sections. So that guess, that the s heet of whatever was thicker in the old part than the new, isn't supported by the available evidence. But there's a cabinet running along and paralle l to the transition, which has a trim line going in the direction of the tr ansition. _That_ trim line shows that _in that location_ the drop isn't ev en. Meaning, there's a definite rise/run of about 0.5" over a couple feet.
Since the "simple" hypothesis doesn't look right, it's very likely that wha tever previous fix they "undid" by ripping out the subfloor was somewhat su btle. So it comes down to "how bad was it, and was it fixable within a rea sonable time and budget constraint." (I think you yourself pointed out abo ve, quite reasonably, that sometimes an obvious naive first guess on how to fix some issue would just introduce problems elsewhere. Depending.)
The answer is that we can't know without looking under the floor, and since there's not really good access from the basement, that would mean ripping the floor up. And the company refuses to do a reinstall for free.
Presumably, what _should_ have happened is that they saw this while the flo or was open, and then told us about it. Maybe they could have said, "There 's nothing we can do about this except at excessively large expense." Mayb e they could have said, "for an extra $X we'll deal with it pretty well." But they never told us. My wife pointed it out to them (sadly, after she g ave them the final payment), and they (the tech) just dismissed her.
I do thank you for the moral support (e.g., "No way in hell is this OK to a ny reasonable standard of workmanship..."). Since their attitude is "screw you," we probably won't do much about it (unless we look into the small cl aims thing and it turns out that it's as simple as you say it is...I've nev er done it before, though my wife is a lawyer). We've got two small kids a nd there's barely time to do anything.
Lessons learned, of course: (a) don't hand over the final check until a th orough inspection, (b) have the more mechanical spouse on-site while the wo rk is being done, if possible.
Thanks for all the help and advice, much appreciated---you're a really good guy.
[snip]
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On Tuesday, April 30, 2013 12:35:41 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@jqpx37.cotse.net wrot e:
"So what I meant is that we had no recollection of this kind of drop anywhe re. And when I talked things over with the sales rep when he was making a quote, the idea was that they would remove subflooring from _the entire spa ce_ (meaning, both sections). So the level would drop in the entire space (both kitchen/old house and eating-in/addition)."
Just for clarity: what I mean is that the floor seemed level before in the entire space. The old floor and some stuff under the floor would be remov ed and the new floor put in. As a result, the _expectation_ is that the fl oor would drop a bit everywhere, but still be fairly level. Instead, what happened is that it dropped everywhere, and is mostly level, but in one spo t (say, 2 feet by five feet) there's this transition "grade".
(It's only five feet parallel to the transition between old and addition be cause the rest of it is covered by the cabinet.)
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On Apr 30, 12:35 pm, snipped-for-privacy@jqpx37.cotse.net wrote:

t

."

t's actually the original home plus an addition.  So what I meant is that we had no recollection of this kind of drop anywhere.  And when I talked things over with the sales rep when he was making a quote, the idea was th at they would remove subflooring from _the entire space_ (meaning, both sec tions).  So the level would drop in the entire space (both kitchen/old ho use and eating-in/addition).

es, and it mysteriously created this drop.  I stress the old house vs add ition part because presumably that probably has something to do with it, in terms of actual mechanics/cause.

while extremely intelligent in many ways, isn't really handy.  I'm not ve ry experienced with construction, but I have very technical training and I' m able to pretty quickly grasp these kinds of issues.  But my wife was th e one on-site; she's also more upset about the end result.

he addition than in the older kitchen part, because perhaps (who knows now) whatever they took out in the kitchen was thinner than what they took out in the addition.

oks like it dropped about the same in both sections.  So that guess, that the sheet of whatever was thicker in the old part than the new, isn't supp orted by the available evidence.  But there's a cabinet running along and parallel to the transition, which has a trim line going in the direction o f the transition.  _That_ trim line shows that _in that location_ the dro p isn't even.  Meaning, there's a definite rise/run of about 0.5" over a couple feet.

hatever previous fix they "undid" by ripping out the subfloor was somewhat subtle.  So it comes down to "how bad was it, and was it fixable within a reasonable time and budget constraint."  (I think you yourself pointed o ut above, quite reasonably, that sometimes an obvious naive first guess on how to fix some issue would just introduce problems elsewhere.  Depending .)

ce there's not really good access from the basement, that would mean rippin g the floor up.  And the company refuses to do a reinstall for free.

loor was open, and then told us about it.  Maybe they could have said, "T here's nothing we can do about this except at excessively large expense."  Maybe they could have said, "for an extra $X we'll deal with it pretty w ell."  But they never told us.  My wife pointed it out to them (sadly, after she gave them the final payment), and they (the tech) just dismissed her.

any reasonable standard of workmanship...").  Since their attitude is "s crew you," we probably won't do much about it (unless we look into the smal l claims thing and it turns out that it's as simple as you say it is...I've never done it before, though my wife is a lawyer).  We've got two small kids and there's barely time to do anything.

a thorough inspection, (b) have the more mechanical spouse on-site while th e work is being done, if possible.

od guy.

I don't understand why anyone would just roll over and accept this. You're not even anywhere near having to go to small claims court and your wife is a lawyer to boot? You want to hand over thousands and have some shysters walk all over you? Not my method. Put your big boy pants on and tell the contractor to get their ass over there, look at the problem, and explain WTF happened. Better yet, if they have a physical location, go over there and do it face to face.
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On Apr 30, 11:35 am, snipped-for-privacy@jqpx37.cotse.net wrote:

t

."

t's actually the original home plus an addition.  So what I meant is that we had no recollection of this kind of drop anywhere.  And when I talked things over with the sales rep when he was making a quote, the idea was th at they would remove subflooring from _the entire space_ (meaning, both sec tions).  So the level would drop in the entire space (both kitchen/old ho use and eating-in/addition).

es, and it mysteriously created this drop.  I stress the old house vs add ition part because presumably that probably has something to do with it, in terms of actual mechanics/cause.

while extremely intelligent in many ways, isn't really handy.  I'm not ve ry experienced with construction, but I have very technical training and I' m able to pretty quickly grasp these kinds of issues.  But my wife was th e one on-site; she's also more upset about the end result.

he addition than in the older kitchen part, because perhaps (who knows now) whatever they took out in the kitchen was thinner than what they took out in the addition.

oks like it dropped about the same in both sections.  So that guess, that the sheet of whatever was thicker in the old part than the new, isn't supp orted by the available evidence.  But there's a cabinet running along and parallel to the transition, which has a trim line going in the direction o f the transition.  _That_ trim line shows that _in that location_ the dro p isn't even.  Meaning, there's a definite rise/run of about 0.5" over a couple feet.

hatever previous fix they "undid" by ripping out the subfloor was somewhat subtle.  So it comes down to "how bad was it, and was it fixable within a reasonable time and budget constraint."  (I think you yourself pointed o ut above, quite reasonably, that sometimes an obvious naive first guess on how to fix some issue would just introduce problems elsewhere.  Depending .)

ce there's not really good access from the basement, that would mean rippin g the floor up.  And the company refuses to do a reinstall for free.

loor was open, and then told us about it.  Maybe they could have said, "T here's nothing we can do about this except at excessively large expense."  Maybe they could have said, "for an extra $X we'll deal with it pretty w ell."  But they never told us.  My wife pointed it out to them (sadly, after she gave them the final payment), and they (the tech) just dismissed her.

any reasonable standard of workmanship...").  Since their attitude is "s crew you," we probably won't do much about it (unless we look into the smal l claims thing and it turns out that it's as simple as you say it is...I've never done it before, though my wife is a lawyer).  We've got two small kids and there's barely time to do anything.

a thorough inspection, (b) have the more mechanical spouse on-site while th e work is being done, if possible.

od guy.

Sounds like maybe they didn't remove all the subflooring. It is not more than 4th grade level to use a 4' level and tell when floors are horizontal and not tilted.
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On Tuesday, April 30, 2013 10:37:09 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net wrote:

You'd think so, right?
Here's a direct, copied-and-pasted quote from an email I just got from the office manager: "However, we do not do floor leveling, which seems to be t he underlying issue. If you take care of the leveling issue, we will return to your home to re-install the hardwood."
Am I wrong on this, or is it bizarre that a floor installation company "doe sn't do floor leveling"?
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On May 1, 11:35 am, snipped-for-privacy@jqpx37.cotse.net wrote:
:

e office manager:  "However, we do not do floor leveling, which seems to be the underlying issue. If you take care of the leveling issue, we will re turn to your home to re-install the hardwood."

oesn't do floor leveling"?
I would save that email for court.
It's like taking a car to a paint shop. You pay them $3000 to paint the car. After it looks like crap, they tell you:
"We don't do rust repair, body work, etc."
The fact that they don't is fine. The fact that they represent themselves as paint pros and just paint over rust, without even discussing it with you, is not.
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