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.