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Engineered flooring nightmare - what would you do?

Keeping it clean

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Aug 16, 2019
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Keeping it real
Customer originally says they have unsealed real hardwood that was recently installed. First hired us to remove a stain that no one else could (including the manufacturer supposedly). Tech tested an inconspicuous area and tried the polish before treating the stain. Stain was removed polish worked great, happy customer. Calls to have all the flooring cleaned. Cleaned and polished a month later with Bona - same as before. Happy customer. Almost 5 months later customer says they are getting spots on the hardwood. Looks like bleach spots where little drops of color are fading in specific areas only. One being in the hallway near a bathroom. They have a dog and a housekeeper. (Cleaned their tile as well that had stains that tech said were probably from cleaning products used by housekeeper that the tech removed and they were pleased with results) Fastforward to now, he contacts the manufacturer and they say its oil based engineered. My question is, if it were a chemical reaction would it have taken 4-5 months to have some sort of reaction? And would it occur only in certain areas? Also the initial stain removed a month prior to that is still holding up well in the kitchen. I’ve looked up the flooring manufacturer reviews and found a ton of bad reviews. Also found a few customers stating that water drops immediately wiped up will even bleach their floor.
 

Keeping it clean

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Keeping it real
Stains are not going to show up months later. They did something to the floor and are looking for someone to blame.
That's what I told him and that's what Bona said. It should take a few weeks at most, a month is pushing it. We've agreed to remove the sealant for free but he's expecting us to put a new flooring through our insurance. He of course keeps insisting that he's had "professionals" come out and said they've seen those spots occur in a chemical reaction due to the flooring being oiled. My guess would be the housekeeper ran out of the right cleaner then used something acidic and sprayed it directly on the floor. That or dog drool. Any thoughts? And what would you say to the customer?

floor stain1.jpeg
floor stain 2.jpeg
 

Todd the Cleaner

Todd Cottino
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That's what I told him and that's what Bona said. It should take a few weeks at most, a month is pushing it. We've agreed to remove the sealant for free but he's expecting us to put a new flooring through our insurance. He of course keeps insisting that he's had "professionals" come out and said they've seen those spots occur in a chemical reaction due to the flooring being oiled. My guess would be the housekeeper ran out of the right cleaner then used something acidic and sprayed it directly on the floor. That or dog drool. Any thoughts? And what would you say to the customer?

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Something definitely was dripped on the floor that removed the topical coating. You should be able to strip and recoat the floor just fine. I would go use some stripper on one plank with the spots and see how hard it is to remove the coating. Once you remove the topical then it should be easy to re-apply what they have been using.

I absolutely would not replace the floor. Don’t call your insurance either. If it comes to it let them take you to court. Once a court date is set THEN call your insurance. I’m guessing they know they have a losing argument and will never take you to court.

I would offer to fix their problem. I don’t think I would do it for free. Maybe give them your price and then discount it if they insist. I guess if worse came to worse you could do it at no charge.
 
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Scott W

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You definitely need to hire a professional flooring inspector. Preferably one who specializes in wood floors. I know 6 or 7 great guys around the country. You can also go to the trade association website www.nicfi.org and check there.

An independent inspector can test the floor for various residues and in other ways determined what caused the problem.

Let me know where you are located and I may be able to recommend someone.
 
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FloorCareChris

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Def looks like a topical coating or too much degreaser when cleaning which led to some soil build up. The drips look like a concentrated cleaning chemical that just sat too long. Over a week or 2 those spots should even out and if it does its proof of what I'm saying. For best results a strip of the floor and proper rinse and just leave it bare. The texture isn't great for any coating and a picky customer. If the wax or sealer started chipping over time they will prob be mad about that too