Remodeling, Unexpected Costs and Customer Service.

IMG_5016I’ve been posting some about our experiences doing some remodeling on our 1974 Modern style home. The day after we bough our house I ordered tile for most of the downstairs. It’s a faux wood tile that will be in the both living areas, the dining room and the kitchen. Over 900 square feet of tile. That’s a big job.

There are always unexpected costs in any remodel. Watch any two episodes of any HGTV show and at least one will have a remodeling project that finds something during the demo.

In order to save money, I removed the old flooring myself. I even posted a video about how to rip out old laminate wood flooring. Under that flooring was an old vinyl tile.

I went to the store and spoke with them. Did I have to scrape that flooring up or not? They assured me that the installer could install right over it. OK, reassured, I didn’t worry about it anymore. Here at the end of the year, the install wait time was significant. But we are on track to get it all done by Christmas. Over a month after I purchased the flooring.

About the middle of December The installer called to see if they could come install my floor early. I was happy to have them do it, but the store had not delivered my tile yet. So we lost that window of opportunity. My product was in the back room at the store, but no one had delivered it yet. I got on the phone and had 2 pallets of tile at my house the next day.

Then comes this morning. The installer arrives and we begin talking about the job. He is surprised to see the vinyl tile. He is concerned, and calls the manufacturer to make sure they can install over it. He is told they should not. The install department of the store says he should not. Now there is more labor cost.

Remember, I removed the old flooring to save money. I asked about this flooring, and was told I could leave it. One person even said I should leave it. Now I’m looking down the barrel of several hundred dollars in labor and haul away of vinyl tile. I was not pleased.

The installer and I talked. He called the store. It was going to cost $300 to remove this old tile. He had dropped the price over 50% of what they normally charge of this much removal.

By my reckoning the store had missed 2 opportunities to keep me from eating this expense. First their employees had told me it could be left, so I had not spent any of the last 3+ weeks removing the old tile. Second, if they had delivered my product on time, the installer would have seen the old tile over a week ago, and I could have removed it myself before the original install date. Instead, I was faced with an additional $300 bill in order to get my flooring installed before Christmas.

I’m not unreasonable, and this price was better than expected. But I was not happy about eating the whole thing. I did not want to hold off and have that for installed later. Living a month without being able to fully move in has been hard. So, off I go to the store. I find those kind of conversations are best had in person.

Because the store knew I had not only purchased a lot of flooring already, but will be doing some more improvements in the coming months, the employee had already spoken to the manager. I arrived, we spoke about the issues, and missed opportunities the store had to keep me from facing an unexpected expense. They offered to cover half the cost. That means I will pay $150 to have 400 square feet of vinyl tile scraped up and hauled away. I could have done this myself, but in order to get it finished on schedule, I was willing to meet them halfway.

In reality, I would have paid the whole $300, but it would likely have been the last money I would pay them on a large install. Because they owned up to their mistakes, and were willing to cover some of the costs, They kept a customer. Yes, I will spend a bit more than expected, but nowhere near the amount it could have been.

One thought on “Remodeling, Unexpected Costs and Customer Service.

  1. Pingback: Buying Tile/Flooring from Big Box Home Improvement Stores: A Checklist | Scott Link Blog

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