Tag Archives: Materials and Supplies

Flooring scams, carpet rip-offs, things you need to know before buying that new floor

I’ve been in the flooring business for nearly 15 years and one thing that constantly amazes me is the consistently poor quality of uniform information from different sales people. I’m not talking about blatant “bait and switch” scams of delivering a product other than what was sold.
What I’m referring to is a simple matter of obfuscation.
Even the mills seem to be in on the game by changing names of styles from store-to-store or big box, making it harder than heck to shop a product.
Well, I’m not going to accuse anyone in particular of doing anything wrong, but I am going to tell you how to spot, in the best case, a poorly-trained sales person, or in the worst case, an unscrupulous one.

First things first – get everything in writing.
You are entering into a contract and if you can’t get your understanding in writing, walk away.
Ask to see the warranty descriptions and know the difference between a “wear” warranty and a performance warranty (abrasive wear-through or texture retention).
If you don’t have at least a basic understanding of the protection you’re getting… think twice.
Second – make sure your pad (if you’re buying carpet) meets at least the mill’s minimum standard, or your warranty is worthless. Here’s an image of a very good piece of Karastan carpet totally ruined by inferior pad that didn’t meet the mill standard:

Base grade, foam pad ruined this carpet.

The above carpet was good quality… but the sales person, intentionally or not, killed it by specifying poor quality underlayment.
The pad above is a “builder-grade” (aka “crap”) 2.5-3 lb foam… and the mill minimum is 6 pound for cut pile, 8 pound for berber.
So, know what’s going under that fantastic floor as well.
Same goes for a floating floor where you may have expectations of sound-deadening, because all underlayments are not created equal.
I’ll be adding to this post, but you can add, too, by submitting your comments.
All the best,
Chris Moline, LEED AP, Residential Group Manager for Commercial Carpets of America

Chris is Residential Group Manager for Commercial Carpets of America & Alexandria Carpet One

Which LEED categories apply to wood flooring?

Though the type of certification may affect whether or not certain credits apply, the following should be a good guide.
Just be sure to use the latest USGBC regulations before making a decision.

Environmental Quality (EQ)
Environmental Quality (EQ) Prerequisite 2: Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) Control: To prevent contamination of indoor surfaces and systems, the project must be completely non-smoking or permit smoking only in limited, protected areas, even during construction.
Simply stated, no smoking on-site by crews.
On-site staff should have a designated smoking area for workers.
EQ Credit 3.1: Construction IAQ Management Plan:
This encompasses several areas:
• During Construction: The project manager will be concerned with anticipating and preventing IAQ problems resulting from the construction/ renovation process.
• Scheduling of Deliveries: Deliveries of wood and other absorbent materials are to follow dirt-, dust- and VOC-producing construction activities in order to reduce exposure to contaminants from other building materials.
• Source Control: Your highest dirt/ dust producing activities should be scheduled around other construction activities and could require you to work during “off hours”; the wood finishes and adhesives specified will be low-VOC or no-VOC.
• Pathway Interruption: The project documents may specify a dust containment system and your work area may be sectioned/sealed off and be exhausted directly to the outside.
• Housekeeping: for a wood flooring contractor, this is generally vacuuming and proper disposal of cut-offs and other waste.
EQ Credit 3.2: Construction IAQ Management Plan: Before Occupancy: This credit requires a flush-out of the air volume with outdoor air, or testing the air contaminant levels after the installation of all finishes but before occupancy to document that pollutants and contaminants referred to in 3.1 have been dealt with properly.
EQ Credit 4.1: Low-Emitting Materials: Adhesives & Sealants: All wood flooring adhesives must comply with the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Rule No. 1168, which specifies a VOC limit of 100 g/L less water. For subfloor adhesives, the limit is 50 g/L less water.
EQ Credit 4.2: Low-Emitting Materials: Paints & Coatings: All clear wood finishes, floor coatings, stains, primers and shellacs applied to wood flooring must not exceed the VOC content limits established in SCAQMD Rule 1113. Documentation of compliance and VOC limits are available from the manufacturers.
EQ Credit 4.3: Low Emitting Materials: Flooring Systems: All hard-surface flooring, including wood, must be certified as compliant with the FloorScore standard by an independent third-party or meet VOC emissions criteria developed by the California Department of Public Health, widely known as Section 1350.
EQ Credit 4.4: Low-Emitting Materials: Composite Wood & Agrifiber Products: For the wood flooring contractor, subflooring and engineered flooring fall under this credit. These materials, including their adhesives, must contain no added urea-formaldehyde resins. The credit allows for naturally occurring traces of formaldehyde.
Materials & Resources Materials & Resources Credit 2.1 & 2.2: Construction Waste Management: A project-wide plan will be in effect to divert waste from landfills. The wood flooring contractor’s cut-off waste and other un-usable wood materials, along with other construction debris, will go to a designated area for removal. If your flooring comes packaged, consider unpacking it at your company’s location. If possible, request that the manufacturer use the least amount of packaging while still protecting the product during shipping. This plan will also include cans, bottles and other food and beverage packaging brought onsite by construction personnel.
MR Credit 3.1 & 3.2: Resource Reuse: This involves something near and dear to my heart: wood flooring from reclaimed wood. Certification is not required for this but a statement of origin will be requested; a letter from a reputable supplier should suffice.
MR Credit 5.1 & 5.2: Regional Materials: To contribute to 5.1, flooring must have been milled within 500 miles of the project site; for 5.2, it must have been both harvested and milled within the 500-mile radius. If it is a salvaged wood (for MRc3) it must have been reclaimed from a building and milled within 500 miles. A statement of origin is required.
MR Credit 6: Rapidly Renewable Materials: For the wood flooring contractor, the only likely applicable product is bamboo flooring.
MR Credit 7: Certified Wood: FSC is the only certification accepted by LEED. FSC starts at the forest and goes via Chain-of-Custody (COC) certification to the manufacturer and distributor. Flooring contractors are considered the end user as it relates to COC. As LEED is written, if contractors install FSC-certified flooring they have purchased (and for which they have documentation—PO’s, invoices, etc.—showing the manufacturer’s FSC certification and FSC COC for all other parties in between), the flooring contractor does not need FSC COC certification. Reclaimed wood flooring is excluded from this credit.

Usually, a LEED AP assigned to work on a project will be aware of these facts, but it helps to be educated when shopping.

All the best,


Chris Moline, LEED AP

Chris Moline, LEED AP, Residential Group Manager for Commercial Carpets of America

Chris is Residential Group Manager for Commercial Carpets of America & Alexandria Carpet One

A bright, US-made, light in the LED industry… an eco-geek’s hot spot

In this video, Robert Scoble interviews the CEO of BridgeLux, the only US-based manufacturer of LED lighting.


Image by EasyEcoBlog via Flickr

If you’re familiar with LED’s, you’ll know how cool this is.
If not, let me help with your education curve.
LED is an acronym that stands for Light Emitting Diode, and it represents the most efficient way to generate artificial light.
CFL’s (Compact Flourescent Lights) are the more widely-known counterpart to energy-hogging incandescent bulbs and are a fanstastic way to reduce energy use.
For instance, a typical 100-watt incandescent bulb can be replaced by a CFL that uses only 20-30 watts yet still produces the same amount of light (lumens).
An LED can produce the same amount of light using less than 10 watts… now THAT’S cool!
Add to this the lower overall carbon footprint of the product by not having to ship them across the Pacific Ocean.
I truly believe, as many others in my field do, that every light in the near future will be LED. It’s just a matter of time.
All the best,


Wicanders cork flooring – sustainable, comfortable and durable

A few images for Jim’s client to narrow down the choices of amazing cork flooring by Wicanders:

I personally have 500 sf of cork flooring in my very-active home.

For more information, here’s another blog post about cork floors in general.

All the best,