Did the installer screw me over?

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Mar 1, 2021
The installer did the living room and kitchen with Luxury Vinyl Plank. The living room had carpet removed, and was down to the subfloor.

The kitchen has 1/8" plywood, then one large sheet of vinyl laminate ?

The installer went right over the kitchen floor, and then used floor leveler to transition to the subfloor where the living room carpet was..

It looks fine, but when you walk right where the living room / kitchen meet, you can feel the floor move a little, and you can tell the floor is higher in the kitchen..

Not sure anyone would notice this, or if I'm been too picky ?

How common is it to just put the luxury vinyl plank down over two different levels of floors, throw down some floor leveler and call it good ?
For the record, the floor looks very nice, just can’t get over that 1/4” or so step up from living room to kitchen ...
I am measuring about 1/2” from high to low, .. so is that a big deal?


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Most of these types of floors, assuming this is a click together laminate, require the floor to be flat within 3/16 of an inch in 6 to 10 ft. You obviously have much more than that.... much much more than that.
if you have a box of the material left over or a partial box, find the installation instructions and they will specify how much deviation there can be in the flooring.
If this flooring is a click together type of flooring and I assume it is, then you need to get some answers as quickly as you can. These types of flooring are not intended to flex. Flexing at the joints will cause the locking joint to break.
if the floor from the dining room to the carpeted area was floated out correctly you would hardly know there's a difference in height. Without seeing the job I would say that the vinyl and the underlayment should have been removed to lower that area rather than try to feather it out. That of course could cost quite a bit more.
installer offered to remove newly laid vinyl, (click in) rip up old vinyl sheet floor, and 1/8" plywood underneath, and make it right, for $500 for 176 square ft. .. sounds fair to me ?

It definitely flexes and sinks in ...
installer offered to remove newly laid vinyl, (click in) rip up old vinyl sheet floor, and 1/8" plywood underneath, and make it right, for $500 for 176 square ft. .. sounds fair to me ?
Was that before he installed it or after. If he knew there was a problem it should have been taken care of before.
After .. .. .
Then the installer installed your floor knowingly there was a problem. To me that is his fault he didn't do the job properly. If hewould have quoted the price before installation then it would be up to you to accept the price or not and if you didn't he should have refused the job. I think you have legal action here, but I'm an installer also but a carpet installer that never wanted to get bit and covered my butt. Now it is in your park to see what can be done, either get him back on his dime or legal action.
So, I think the answer is "Yes" he scammed you. He shouldn't charge $500 to fix something he did wrong in the first place.
If I was the installer and I told you it was going to cost $450 to flatten the floor to make the job turn out as it should, you would have the option to say no or yes to the additional cost.
And again if I was installer, and you didn't agree to let me flatten out the floor properly I would not have installed your floor because I knew it would fail.
Hindsight is 20/20. The installer saw a problem and didn't deal with the situation correctly. The floor surfaces that these laminate type floors are installed upon need to be extremely flat. Very few floors are flat enough. I can spend as much time or more, flattening the floor than installing the material.
I'm not sure how to make a call on this one. If he had done the job correctly he might have charged you $500 more for doing the additional work. You're going to be inconvenienced again by having the flooring removed and the new prep work done. What's that worth to you?
If you pay him for doing the additional prep work and the job turns out as nice as you wanted it to, maybe the installer learned something the hard way and in the end, you got the job that you wanted.
I don't think he owes you free floor prep, but you're inconvenience is worth something.
I've never heard of 1/8" plywood underlayment. Are you sure it's not 1/4"? That would pretty much be the minimum acceptable thickness for any type of floor covering. Fastening 1/8" plywood mechanically, using typical underlayment stapling methods would be impossible. The staples themselves are nearly 1/8" thick across the top, so on 1/4" underlyament with the staple properly countersunk you are "holding" about 1/2 the thickness of the plywood underlayment. If you used 1/8" you'd literrally "blow through" with a stapler.

What the others have said about flatness is 100% correct. The floor isn't flat enough for this type of flooring.
So.... at the risk of going against the grain here I am going to say, you probably should take him up on it.
I will make the assumption this was some "cash" deal outside of a known retailer, in which case the likely probability of restitution outside of this is low. Sure it is more money than you bargained for but, the alternative at this point is a floor that will definitely fail at an indefinite time down the road. I would say stack the deck in your favor at this point.

If my original assumption however is not correct and this was done through a retailer or known business entity then by all means, erect a cross and nail them to it. It would be acceptable to install the product over the original vinyl and sub-floor/underlayment however seeing as you have a 1/4 inch change in height, to maintain the required 3/16 or potentially 1/8 (depending on your manufacturer) elevation change in 10 feet it would have to be "feathered" for approximately 10 feet and this is assuming you truly have a 1/8 underlayment. When you project that level over the plane change in your two floors, you can see how it extends. That is not really a fair assessment of the situation because as you change the fulcrum the amplitude of the slope increases or decreases however it does demonstrate the effect it will have on your floor. You can clearly see how it would require much more filler to remedy this situation. I do concur that removal would be the appropriate and best practice in this situation.

Best of luck, and sorry I had to add a dissenting opinion to the mix, I just want you to get a floor you can live on.

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