New Condo owner complains when Home Depot flooring installers balk at subfloor defects

A reader at The Consumerist ordered new hardwood floors from a Home Depot and opted for their installation service for his new condo. He had ripped out the carpet by himself, and discovered cracks in the concrete subfloor, plus a large spot that was not level.

The original representative for Home Depot quoted $100–200 for leveling the floor prior to the installation. When the contractor came out, he received different news:

I asked if we could level the subfloor before the install, and I was told “it would cost a fortune” to do so. When I pressed to get a dollar figure, they said it would be a minimum of $1,000-$1,500 (way higher than the $100-$200 that I was quoted by multiple Home Depot reps). Since I had already paid for the job, hauled supplies into my condo, and ripped out the laminate floor in my kitchen that I wouldn’t have ripped out otherwise, I agreed to pay to level the floor and get it over with. At this point, the installers started giving me the runaround saying that they weren’t even sure leveling was an option and they would have to talk to their manager. They went outside for about 30 minutes and when they came back, they said they can’t do the job because there’s no way they would be able to warranty it (all of the sudden, doing the installation became their choice and not mine). We had a brief conversation about other options then they left.

The owner is being told that he is out of luck by Home Depot. In my opinion, the contractor did the right thing. Installing hardwood floors over an unlevel and cracked subfloor could easily turn into a disaster. At least the contractor from Home Depot didn’t go ahead with the installation.

If this is a new condo, it sounds like the owner needs to have a talk with the builder. I don’t think this is Home Depot’s problem.