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Vinyl mystery spot

by Lew Migliore

The vinyl flooring pictured with this column was installed in a kitchen/dining area of a home and, as you can see, has a dull spot, which is in a very conspicuous location.

The homeowners said they noticed the spot the day of or day after installation, yet they did not file the complaint for two months. When questioned, the couple could not be certain when they noticed the spot.

The spot is something that would have been obviously evident at the time the material was cut, installed and initially used. No one seems to be able to specifically identify the cause thus the reason the dealer contacted us to help solve this mystery.

The mark was said to be rough in texture, on top of the surface of the flooring, perpendicular to the seam, in close proximity to the refrigerator, irregular in shape and not affected by any attempts to remove it with several agents. It was reported, after being inspected, to be the result of a foreign contaminant coming in contact with the flooring.

After viewing all the photos supplied, it was evident that there was an underlying line in the material. The dull spot can be seen over this line, and the shape of the dull spot indicates an activity that suggests a circular type motion over the line. In addition, there are three small spots to the lower right of the photo, which indicate drips.

The evidence presented indicates damage to the flooring material and an attempt was made to remove it. Remember what I’ve been telling you for years in this column: The evidence never lies. It will always tell you the truth.

We’ve all been inundated with enough episodes of the TV series “CSI” that this statement should now resonate clearly with you.

The spot could not have been caused at the mill or else it would have been seen. The fact that it runs perpendicular to the seam would also eliminate manufacturing as it goes contrary to the direction the material travels when produced. It’s not installation-related because nothing is used in installation that would cause the mark or dull spot, especially for as long as it is and the direction it runs. And you would hope the installer would have fixed it at the time if he did cause it; easy enough to do. The location, in front of the refrigerator, the most active area in the room, would have made this spot noticeable immediately, yet the dealer was not notified for two months.

So what are we to conclude from all the evidence? The physical evidence is screaming out: Someone tried to remove damage to the floor and damaged it worse. The psychology tells us it wasn’t there to start with and occurred sometime after the floor was installed.

Put simply, the floor is damaged, not defective. The homeowners or someone in the home caused the damage, and since the flooring was still fairly new, thought they could get away with filing a claim against the material with the dealer. They would be better served by filing a claim with their insurance company after this.

This should not have been such a perplexing issue, but it turned out to be because no one could recognize what the evidence was telling them. This is also a case where you have to think backwards and use some common sense and logic to realize nothing in the normal chain of events in manufacturing or installation would cause this glaring, extensive and obvious damage.

We can help you, too, if you have something like this no one can determine. We can always figure out what happened and most often common sense will tell you.

See my ad in the classifieds section on page 23.