After two years of searching, we have just bought our dream home. We were very excited to quickly begin personalizing it to our taste. We wanted to put in a wide plank hardwood floor in a dark ebony color.
Mullican & Lowes enters the picture
We were driven to Lowes because of the floor selection they carried and because we thought working with the big guys, we would be able to receive exceptional customer service barring any issues we would have with ordering, delivery, quality, etc.
We had settled on the Mullican line: Buckingham Beech 5 solid plank in an ebony stain, and had Lowes put in the order (9/6). It fit exactly what we wanted. We received the shipment (9/13), inspected the product visually for color and initiated the installation process. This included tearing out the old wood floors to the sub floor. Meanwhile, we ordered customized flush mounted vents in beech wood ($595), as well as had the banister painted to match the floors ($360) (9/15). [continued below]....
..... Days after the wood sit and settled in the house, the installation process commenced (9/17). After putting in about +20 sq ft of floors, our installers noticed gaps forming in between the pieces of the installed wood. Upon further investigation, they found there were 4 7/8, 5, and 5 1/8 pieces, all interspersed in the boxes. It wasnt just a few, it was many, in the multiple boxes. There was a major quality issue with the job. The installers stopped the job.
We returned to Lowes to try to figure out what to do. We had 1050 sq ft. of torn out flooring down to the subfloor and a faulty product sitting in our house. We thought that maybe the quality issue resided in the 5 plank, so we were willing to look into the 4 and 3 because we enjoyed the color so well. After Lowes spoke with their Mullican rep, they returned to us stating they didnt have the confidence in the quality of the line (Beech wood). We would need to select another product. We had to have all the wood picked up from the house.
We then went back to Lowes. We researched and came up with some options. Lowes spoke with Mullican to see what other products they had to match what we were looking for. We were sent samples that included the Castillian Midnight Oak 5 solid floor. We chose a more premium product that Lowes doesnt distribute in their stores. We thought we had found our replacement. Lowes ordered the floor (9/23). We have just received the floor into the home on 9/28, and upon our inspection, and to our horror, we have found that the so-called premium Castillian Midnight Oak 5 solid floor had major quality issues. The flooring received did not represent the sample in the way that the stain was not absorbed into the wood completely. If you looked at a piece of wood, you could see the natural wood spots in the floor. It was like one light coat of stain was put on the wood. We had to have all the wood picked up from the house AGAIN (10/7).
It has now been nearly a month since we have put in our first order to Lowes, and we are we are stuck having to go back to the drawing board of finding a product, getting in samples, ordering, etc., which has pushed our move date back at least one month. Lowees doesnt carry a product that is close to what we wanted. We have a torn up floor to the sub, beech wood flush mounted vents to go with nothing, and a painted banister matched to a product not installed. We have to pay the mortgage and bills for a house we cant move into, (since it is unsafe for our 1 year old daughter), as we pay rent and bills for our present place. We cant do other things that have to be done to the house until after the floors are installed.
What did we get for this nightmare of a mess?
Lowes gave us $350 and Mullican paid us about $1300 to cover the loss of work we had to pay installers for coming out.
So less what we have in flush vents and paint, we net about $700. Hardly anything for the situation when you were willing to invest nearly $8 a sq ft.
What did we learn?
Mullican does not produce the quality it states, as they even told us themselves there are difficulties in quality for the Beech wood. They continue to sell a known problematic product. As far as the Castillian Midnight Oak, they still preach it is a premium product. I say you be the judge of that, if you dont want stain to be covering all of your floor.
Working with a big company doesnt help you. Lowes kept pointing the finger at Mullican, telling us, sorry, they supply us. But I say, not my problem. I cant buy direct from Mullican, I buy from Lowes, who takes their cut. They are responsible for their suppliers product and behavior.
Lowes continues today to sell the Mullican Beech line of product.
Pictures available upon request