Had a contractor 3 years ago install new wood engineered floor over carpet underlayment. I was told that it was done all the time, and foolishly took him at his word.
Now, the flooring isn’t level and the seams on the wide-panel flooring almost cave in with footsteps. Do I have any recourse against the contractor in terms of having them come back and do it properly (replace underlay with plywood) or is this just an expensive lesson I have to learn?

Update/edit: I can’t add a comment above, but yes when I say underlay I mean carpet padding. Believe it was 1/2” carpet padding, and currently emailing the wood floor manufacturer to confirm that it’s not per installation instructions. I’m thinking he did it to save on need plywood as he started the project during covid right when board costs skyrocketed

  • 1
    3 years isn't necessarily "statute of limitations" but it is a long time for a callback, unless it is something truly dangerous (which this is not). Jul 6, 2023 at 2:47
  • Tell him you will publish his business on social media and the job he has done, lets see how quickly he responds
    – Traveler
    Jul 6, 2023 at 3:02
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    How thick was the carpet underlayment? Regular thick underlayment is bad. The very thin(1/16) stuff is usually called for in the installation instructions.
    – crip659
    Jul 6, 2023 at 11:02
  • When you say underlay are you talking about carpet padding?
    – Huesmann
    Jul 6, 2023 at 12:49

2 Answers 2


No results guaranteed but You can contact the installation company and see what they have to say. You could also contact the better business bureau. Be sure to contact the flooring manufacturer and let them know you problem and why you do not like their product and will not purchase it again.

If the manufacturer's instructions were not followed and the installer is certified by the manufacturer it could get real interesting. Also I would guess a permit should have been pulled for this, check with the permitting authority. You purchase this in good faith from a "qualified" installer.

  • 1
    The flooring manufacturer instructions might not have been followed, so the problem might be of the installers fault.
    – crip659
    Jul 6, 2023 at 11:43

The description of your issues suggest that the underlayment was not proper for the job. But that is just speculation. You need to do some research.

Before you argue your case, arm yourself. Knowledge is power, so find the installation instructions from the manufacturer. Read, in it's entirety, what the instructions advise. In particular the parts regarding underlayment and what is recommended.

Know exactly what underlayment you have under the floor. Compare it to what the manufacturer recommended. If it does not match specifications, you have a valid argument with the installer. If it does match specification your argument is with the product manufacturer.

First contact the manufacturer. Describe your problem with specific information as to what underlayment you have. If they tell you it was installed improperly, ask them to send a verification of that, and the reason the install was done improperly to you in an email. (If the install was done to specifications and instructions, the manufacturer has no argument. You will have to deal with them.)

Now you have your power to prove your case, rather than being just a complaining customer. Use that to leverage your argument with the installer.

Use your knowledge to address the installer and ask for relief. Know ahead of time what the minimum is that you will be satisfied with, but ask for more. ( A return of some money versus a complete redo of the floor with new flooring.)

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