Frequently Asked Questions

                                                    What is a Flooring Inspector?  
                                                             Can they help me?
Many people have never heard of flooring inspectors, that is, until they have a flooring problem & then it may be too late. Flooring inspectors are trained to perform all types of flooring inspections-carpet, hard surface and resilient, specialty floors, and substrates. Professional competent Floor Inspectors spend many hours in training &continuing education each year, hours in testing, & invest thousands of dollars in tools to do the work properly. Flooring inspectors ARE NOT home inspectors or structural engineers & can not perform the work of those trained professionals. Home inspectors CAN NOT perform flooring inspections that will be recognized by manufacturers without proper training & certification. 

Inspectors are usually hired after a problem or concerns are noted. They are commissioned by manufacturers that have relationship agreements with their retailers & both parties agree to abide by the findings. Flooring Inspectors can be hired to perform pre testing required by manufacturers, oversee the work performed, or inspect after the work is complete by builders or those building a home.  Proper site conditions are the responsibility of the installer to ensure are present as part of the required work scope, but is often not performed. It is the responsibility of the contractor, building owner, or party with control of the structure to provide these conditions before the installation is performed.

Inspectors have found old substrate concrete slabs emitting excess moisture or pH & found thousands of dollars worth of wood, laminate, bamboo, resilient or tile floors fail because of this.  Had the contractor or installer performed required testing prior to installation & necessary steps to correct the problems taken, a successful installation would still be there.  At this point, the manufacturer is often off the hook & an installer or contractor now owns this floor. 

Contractors are ultimately responsible for all subcontractors.  Time is money; everyone is looking to get work completed, homes or buildings occupied, & get paid. Because of time, contractors or installers may not test substrates to ensure they meet standards or acclimate site or flooring which can lead to problems later. Is it worth taking the chance? Once a home or building is sold & everyone is paid, floors can still fail. At this point, a builder may still own the floor or is usually first to be sued.  Manufacturers WON’T accept responsibility; one deviation may be enough for them to legally walk away from problems due to warranty limitations & exclusions… and many will!!!

Inspectors perform vapor emission testing (Calcium Chloride or Relative Humidity testing) according to ASTM protocol. They can prepare the test sites, set test kits in place, pick them up, read them, & give a certified written report on the results. This is enough for manufacturers to warranty materials if the floor fails if all required steps are taken. They can also be hired to oversee an installation, do follow up inspections, & ensure proper installation guidelines are followed.  If problems arise, the inspector can report on things to the manufacturer to get faster resolution.

Inspector’s services are much less costly on the front end.  On the back end, there’s no other option.  Many inspectors can also be hired as expert witnesses & can testify in a hearing to help settle disputes quickly. This helps get the problem resolved at the expense of the party responsible. It is like the Aamco man said, “You can pay me now, or pay me later.”  You will pay inspectors a lot more once they are needed.   

If manufacturers end up paying for inspections & problems are not due to their materials, they will deny a claim & leave the other parties to work things out. Why shouldn’t they, especially if they provided acceptable materials & pay for an inspection that showed it was not their materials causing the failure?  If it is due to manufacturing issues, they warranty their materials & many times, pay for tear out & replacement labor.