A Local Carpet One franchise was hired to install an Armstrong laminate hardwood floor in 2001. The floor's planks were installed by sliding planks into place and gluing together (different from the current locking laminate products).
After one week of product "acclimation" and install, there were problems. In a small number of places, some seams began to rise, creating peaks where the floor pieces joined. In other areas, some adjacent to the peaks, the planks separated. In three places, Planks did not properly fit at corners, resulting in sharp points.
Honoring product and installation warranties, within 6 months of the installation Carpet One sent an installer to repair the floor three times. The result was still less than perfect, but still for the better. I wrote the floor off as being a little higher maintenance than planned.
This year, I hired the same Carpet One franchise to install more flooring, including Armstrong vinyl. The installer, who was a certified by Armstrong for laminate installation, immediately recognized the floor as a glue-together product that was defective.
The installer alerted a Carpet One sales rep, and the company sent a sales representative to look at my floor. In his opinion, too, the floor was defective and needed repair or replacement.
A claim was filed with Armstrong via Carpet One in October, and Armstrong sent one of their distributor reps to my house to examine the problems. She immediately decided that each of my problems had to be related to bad installation or uneven subfloor, without thorough investigation other than a moisture reading. Armstrong denied the claim per the rep's claims of moisture and uneven subflooring.
1) Moisture: Armstrong determined the flooring to be too moist. This is a climate controlled, humidity-controlled home built on a crawlspace in which the ground is covered in plastic and lime. The floor was found to contain some excess moisture, but the areas she tested were not even the defective areas, moisture causes expansion and not separation, and she based her findings on current product standards (the current products are moisture resistant on all sides and not held together by liquid glue -- of course they will retain less moisture). Also, between my subfloor and laminate floor lies Armstrong's own moisture barrier underlayment...so if moisture is coming up from under the house, they provided defective underlayment.
2) Uneven subflooring: My home has some uneven subflooring, but actually not in the areas in which the defects are occurring.
No mention in the claim denial was made of plank separation...and neither moisture nor uneven subflooring can possibly be accountable for that issue.
Additionally, I continuously had to remind Armstrong's distributor rep while inspecting my floor that my floor was a glue-together installation, not interlocking. Even at the end of her "assessment" she claimed separation would be "due to bad installation since the pieces are made to lock together"...she had absolutely no idea the glue-together flooring was not designed to interlock.
Armstrong and Carpet One have both acknowledged that there have problems with Armstrong glue-together laminate flooring significant enough for them to discontinue them entirely, and the interlocking products are designed so problems such as mine do not occur.
It's not my fault I purchased a floor that had been poorly engineered/designed at the time of purchase. Factory warranty on the floor is 20 years. To date, they refuse to even repair even a few of the most apparent defects.
I have requested an independent inspector look at the defective flooring. If Armstrong will not accommodate my efforts to fix their own defective product, I intend to pursue this with my state attorney general's office and Better business Bureau...I am also ready to pursue a legal battle.
Durham, North Carolina