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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Another talk radio show customer/contractor dispute - you make the call.

Flooring contractor and customer. Contractor comes in to tile customers house, bathroom, foyer, kitchen, hallway. He removes part of the plywood subfloor in the foyer and replaces because of some sort of building issue with how the foyer was constructed. (luan under original linoleum glued to plywood subfloor) He layes 1/2 hardi board through out and tiles.

Customer is over 300lbs. Is now upset because grout is cracking and popping, says he paid the contractor to remove all his sub-floor and that he only did the foyer.

Contract reads contractor to remove existing linoleum and replace sub-flooring, which was meant by contractor to mean the luan under the linoleum.

Contractor says he did was he was supposed to do and the grout is cracking because the customer is a 'big' man, but he will come out to see what he can do.

Customer wants him to rip out tile and replace plywood sub-flooring because it has been water damaged previously.

Contractor says the customer never mentioned the plywood sub-floor, the contractor keeps refering to the luan as the sub-floor and says he did what the contract says.

To me a sub-floor refers to plywood decking over joists. The luan in what should be referred to in the contract as 'under-layment' which is what the hardi backer board is also. Seems to me the contractor doesn't know the proper terms for the business he is in and the customer didn't make his point clear before work started, or contractor failed to understand him. Contactor says he has been doing flooring for 15 years.

So if the contract says 'replace subfloor' does that mean tear out the plywood decking and replace or does it mean he did what he said he would which is replace the luan with hardi backer board?
 

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Mike Finley said:
So if the contract says 'replace subfloor' does that mean tear out the plywood decking and replace?
I'd have to side with the h/o on this one. It seems to me that the definitions of the terms 'subfloor' and 'underlayment' are pretty well settled. Even if you broaden the scope of the dispute to include whether or not a new subfloor would sufficiently stabilize the floor system to preclude the grout from cracking, I'd think the contractor's role as the 'expert' amongst the two parties would leave him stuck in the "you should have known better" box.
 

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I agree with Grumpy.
As long as I can remember, the sub-floor has always referred to the plywood sheeting attached to the joists.
Clearly a case of mis-communication on the part of those involved. What a mess.
 

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I agree. Subfloor and underlayment are 2 breeds.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Yep, that's the funny thing about it, not only did the expert who runs the show keep throwing around all kinds of terminology that was way off - describing hardi backer board as - "yeah, that's good you are supposed to put laminate down under tile." But every contractor who called in to offer their experience, not a one called an underlayment an underlayment, each one kept calling it sub-flooring, as if anything was a sub-floor. I was in shock.

This was the one time they had me wanting to call in and yell at them "Look you guys are all mixed up, you're mixing terms all over the place and I can't believe 6 different contractors and flooring experts haven't once used the term underlayment!!!!!!!

Plywood or OSB attached to the joists is called a sub-floor! Material added directly under the finished flooring is an underlayment! Further nobody is going to remove the sub-floor and replace it. The usual fix for flex problems is running another layer of sub-floor perpendicular to the original, then underlayment then the finished flooring!!!!!!!! :cheesygri
 

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lol. Yeah, two breeds.

Anyway the contractor could've helped himself some by stating the areas being replaced. Does the contract mention foyer? Not that it matters, if the homeowner knows the difference between underlayment and subfloor, how does a flooring "pro" not?

We should start a pro radio show. lol.

Don
 

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I'd say the six 'different' contractors might be be six different phone calls from the 'soup kitchen' installer that did the job in the first place.

Wouldn't that be a pisser, driving to work and you hear your last customer bash you on the radio. You would have to call in and insist your underlayment/subfloor stupidity was correct.

Then after getting 3 or 4 of your soup kitchen employee's to run up your cell bill, you would have to frantically drive to evryone's house close enough to make the show's end.

Or have your employee drive so you can hit the crack pipe.

A stretch?........ah yes, but what a life it would be.

Bob



Mike Finley said:
Yep, that's the funny thing about it, not only did the expert who runs the show keep throwing around all kinds of terminology that was way off - describing hardi backer board as - "yeah, that's good you are supposed to put laminate down under tile." But every contractor who called in to offer their experience, not a one called an underlayment an underlayment, each one kept calling it sub-flooring, as if anything was a sub-floor. I was in shock.

This was the one time they had me wanting to call in and yell at them "Look you guys are all mixed up, you're mixing terms all over the place and I can't believe 6 different contractors and flooring experts haven't once used the term underlayment!!!!!!!

Plywood or OSB attached to the joists is called a sub-floor! Material added directly under the finished flooring is an underlayment! Further nobody is going to remove the sub-floor and replace it. The usual fix for flex problems is running another layer of sub-floor perpendicular to the original, then underlayment then the finished flooring!!!!!!!! :cheesygri
 

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subfloor

Hey guys,
Just got back from deer hunting and saw this (skunked, no deer) anyway - yep. Homeowner's right on this one. Subfloor is the plywood that is nailed to the joists. Luan is simply tile underlayment.

This shouldn't be a debatable question. The local building code should have code requirements on subflooring. Thin little luan underlayment does not meet any code's subflooring definition (that I know of) so by code definition only plywood, not luan can be subflooring - the builder screwed up.

Tim
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Wow, who whould have guessed how this original subject has snow-balled now.

The talk show host is being accused of taking money improperly and fraud, the homeowners are suing everybody in site, the contractors story gets more and more ridiculous, the homeowner's brother was supposed to originally do the work but he got thrown in the slammer before the job started, it's like a soap opera, even made the news...

http://www.westword.com/issues/2005-03-03/news/message.html
 

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Mike Finley said:
Wow, who whould have guessed how this original subject has snow-balled now.
The talk show host is being accused of taking money improperly and fraud
LOL I wonder sometimes if these shows are rehearsed to entertain.
 

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1/2 / Master, We wonder about you too.
 
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