Dealing with Bad Flooring Job: An Insider’s Guide

Bad Flooring Job

We’ve all been there. You just spent a small fortune having brand new floors installed in your home. But when the bad flooring job is done, you realize the flooring is uneven, the tiles are cracked, or there are gaps and lifting around the edges. It’s a total nightmare.

As someone who has been through my fair share of botched flooring jobs over the years, believe me when I say I understand how frustrating this can be. You fork over thousands of dollars expecting beautiful new floors, only to end up with a hot mess. It’s enough to make you want to rip up the flooring yourself!

Before you let your anger get the best of you, take a deep breath. There are steps you can take to get the issue resolved professionally without doing further damage. I’m going to walk you through exactly what to do, from filing a complaint to disputing the charges. Read on for my insider’s guide to dealing with bad flooring.

The Psychological Impact of Bad Flooring Job

First off, don’t feel silly orvain for being so upset about your floors. There’s actually a psychological reason this hits us so hard. Our homes are deeply personal spaces, an extension of our identities. So when something goes wrong with a big home improvement project, it feels like a violation.

There’s also the fact that we tend to see floors as a permanent fixture, unlike something easily changed like paint color. So having to look at a glaring flaw day after day takes a real mental toll. It’s a constant reminder that you wasted your hard-earned money on shoddy craftsmanship.

The good news is, you don’t have to live with emotional distress. If the flooring company won’t make it right on their own, you have options to set things straight. The key is staying calm and tackling the issue strategically, step by step.

How to Spot a Quality Flooring Contractor

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s definitely true when it comes to choosing a flooring pro. Spending time upfront finding someone reputable can help you avoid ending up with subpar floors.

– Ask for referrals. Word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to find a pro you can trust. Ask friends, family, neighbors and realtors for recommendations.

– Check qualifications. Look for contractors accredited by organizations like the National Wood Flooring Association for hardwood or the National Tile Contractors Association for tile. These groups only recognize craftsmen who meet strict quality standards.

– Review their portfolio. Reputable contractors will have photos of past jobs readily available.Browse through their previous work to get a feel for their skill level.

– Ask lots of questions. A good contractor will patiently answer any queries you have about their experience, methods and policies. If they seem rushed or annoyed, that’s a red flag.

– Check ratings and reviews. Search online for feedback on any contractor you’re considering. Look out for repeat complaints about things like sloppy workmanship or bad communication.

– Get estimates from multiple pros. Comparing bids apples-to-apples helps you spot anomalously low or high prices, which could indicate issues.

– Go with your gut. If a contractor makes you uneasy for any reason, don’t hesitate to look elsewhere. You want to feel totally comfortable entrusting your floors to them.

Asking the right questions upfront takes some legwork, but it’s well worth it for peace of mind. Taking your time to vet flooring pros thoroughly better ensures you’ll end up thrilled, not displeased, when the job is done.

Getting Compensation for a Bad Flooring Job

Getting Compensation for a Bad Flooring Job

Okay, so you didn’t do your due diligence on the front end. Or maybe you did, but still ended up with disastrous floors for reasons beyond your control. Regardless of how you got here, the situation obviously needs to be made right. So what are your options for recouping damages?

First, carefully document the issues. Take tons of pictures and videos showing each problem in detail. Measure any cracks, gaps or uneven sections so you have hard numbers to provide. Draft an itemized list of every defect along with your desired remedy for each, whether that’s repair, replacement or refund.

Armed with your documentation, you can now firmly but politely reach out to the contractor. Explain in no uncertain terms that their work is unacceptable and falls short of basic standards. Provide your list of itemized issues and requested resolutions. Make clear you expect them to make this right at their own expense.

If the contractor is reasonable, they’ll likely agree to your requests—especially if you have an ironclad contract stipulating satisfaction guaranteed. Reputable pros want happy customers and good word-of-mouth, so they’ll work with you rather than risk damaging their reputation.

What if they refuse or drag their feet fixing it? 

Then it’s time to take more aggressive action:

File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. The BBB allows customers to dispute bad business practices. The company will then be notified and expected to respond.

Report them to the licensing board. Contractors must be licensed in your state. Contact the licensing agency to file an official grievance for subpar work.

Consult a lawyer. For big flooring jobs, it may be worthwhile to have a lawyer draft a demand letter insisting the company rectify the situation or face legal action.

Stop payment. If you haven’t paid in full, refuse further payment until satisfactory corrections are made.

Initiate a chargeback. If you paid by credit card, you may be able to dispute the charges if services weren’t delivered as promised.

Take them to small claims court. If other resolution attempts fail, you may have to sue to recover damages. Keep good documentation to support your case.

Pursuing action like this takes time and effort, but shows you’re dead serious about getting restitution. It often lights a fire under lackadaisical contractors to make things right. Just be sure to give them a chance to correct it first before going the legal route.

How to Choose Flooring That Hides Imperfections

Okay, worst case scenario: the flooring company refuses to redo your floors and you can’t afford to replace them yourself right now. While you save up or weigh your options, you’re just stuck with the unsightly floors. How can you minimize the flaws in the meantime?

There are certain types of flooring that do a better job disguising imperfections than others. Here are some good choices for camouflaging shoddy flooring work:

Textured or patterned carpeting. Busy patterns and thick pile do a great job hiding subfloor inconsistencies, gaps and seams. Just don’t go too bold or the pattern itself will be the problem!

Vinyl sheet flooring. The solid sheet construction seamlessly covers over flaws underneath without awkward seams or grout lines.

Laminate flooring. The pattern layer on top makes it difficult to detect small dents, lifting edges and uneven spots underneath.

Dark stained hardwood. Compared to light floors, dark wood tones easily mask subfloor flaws and minor damage like scratches or gaps between boards.

Large format tile. Fewer grout lines means less obvious uneven tile or lippage problems. Just be sure the tile itself has variation in pattern.

Rugs and furniture. Use large area rugs, cabinets and furnishings to literally cover over troubled spots for a quick fix.

Working around botched floors requires some creative thinking. Try mixing and matching these strategies to help restore the look you want until you can have the flooring redone or replaced entirely. The good news is, there’s always a solution for covering up flaws, even if takes time and effort to implement.

How to Protect Yourself on Future Jobs

How to Protect Yourself on Future Jobs

They say fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Don’t beat yourself up over one bad experience—it happens to everyone eventually. The key is to learn from it so history doesn’t repeat itself.

Here are some key ways to safeguard yourself on future flooring jobs:

– Vet contractors meticulously upfront and document everything in a contract.

– Understand your rights under implied and express warranties.

– Pay in installments tied to completion milestones rather than upfront.

– Do your own due diligence on materials and specifications.

– Oversee work closely and speak up about concerns immediately.

– Photograph job progress for your own documentation.

– Get all promises, warranties and guarantees in writing.

– Hold back final payment until completely satisfied.

– Follow up on maintenance and care recommendations.

You can also look into purchasing a home warranty that covers flooring and asks about additional flooring insurance. Some credit cards even offer protection for home improvement services.

Learning to protect yourself is a process. Don’t expect to know it all at once. But with each experience, you gain wisdom that will help you become a savvier consumer. Knowledge truly is power when it comes to avoiding—or resolving—nightmare flooring jobs.


Q: What are signs of a bad flooring job?

A: Some common signs of a bad flooring job include uneven floors, gaps between boards or tiles, cracked/chipped materials, lippage problems, improper seam placement, lifting edges, and subfloor imperfections showing through.

Q: Should I always hire a licensed flooring contractor?

A: Yes, you should only hire flooring contractors who are properly licensed in your state. This helps ensure they have the right training and are accountable for meeting local regulations. Unlicensed contractors often do subpar work.

Q: What’s the best way to measure floors to prove they are uneven?

A: Use a laser level tool to compare floor elevations in multiple spots and document any inconsistencies. Take photos of the laser level displaying measurements for evidence.

Q: Can I ask the flooring company to redo the floors with a different contractor?

A: Yes, you can request the work be redone by a different contractor if you’ve lost faith in the original one’s skills and workmanship. Just be sure this is stipulated in your contract.

Q: Should I accept a partial refund or insist on having the floors redone?

A: It depends on the severity of problems, but full replacement is usually best for badly botched jobs vs. just accepting a token refund. The problems are unlikely to actually be fixed with a refund alone.

Author: Brielle Walker

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