Battle over the Barn Wood Floor

Seriously, I don’t even know where to begin this post. Something that should have not been a big deal has turned into a total nightmare. Sorry this is so long. So here’s the story…

I wanted to get rid of my carpet in the living room/hallway and replace it with the look of a barn wood floor. I also wanted an easy upkeep with said floor so I chose a tile that looked exactly like barn wood. I loved the look of it and knew it would be a perfect fit for us. We ordered the materials from a box store and went with their installation option.

In July 2016, the contractor brought his crew and they started laying the floor. Hmmm…that doesn’t look right. They were using staples, not screws to put the backer board down. We questioned them. They said that is how it is done and they have been doing this for 20 years. Funny thing is that my husband laid our kitchen tile floor years ago and he used screws. That floor has lasted us 18 years.

Well, we went onto the internet and did a search. Yes, you use screws. We went to the management of the box store and stated our concerns. They pretty much brushed us off stating they will stand behind all their floors. Now, we should have stopped it all. We knew in our gut that things weren’t right, but we let the ‘pros’ convince us otherwise. I’m telling this story to emphasize to always go with your gut. Trust your instinct.

Barn wood floor in July 2016.

The floor went in and I absolutely loved the look. But it had problems. The tile did not lay flat. There were places that I tripped over the tile, even stubbing my toe. Really!?! And within a couple of months, the floor started making creaking sounds. And then crunching sounds. I started sweeping up broken grout. The backer board under the tile was coming loose and moving because it was not screwed down.

In the spring of 2017, we went up against the big box store to get this mess settled. We did most of the phone calls and stopping in the store to speak to management. I truly believe that they thought we’d get tired of trying and eventually give up. Nope. We kept plugging away.

Finally, this past summer they said they’d send the original contractor out to check on the floor and correct any problems. Ummm…he was the problem. So out he came. He proceeded to go into our basement with a meter. He said that our problem was that there was too much moisture (16%) in our basement and that was causing the problem with our flooring. He walked around and stated that he would replace about 5 tiles.

One can never trust a dishonest person. He fooled us once. Not going to fool us again. Hubby went out and bought his own meter. The moisture in our basement was 8% which is a good reading. We knew we had no moisture problems. We have a walkout basement. The stairs to our basement is an open staircase with no doors. We have a dehumidifier. So no moisture problem. He was lying.

Then the box store sent out one of their reps with another contractor. This contractor measured and stated we had no moisture problem. The rep looked up while in the basement and saw all the staples sticking through. She admitted that the floor had been installed incorrectly. Ya think!?! So after many more phone calls, they finally agreed to send a new contractor to reinstall our flooring.

Thank you if you are still hanging in there and reading this. The drama is only starting. Let’s get back to the nightmare, shall we.

It’s now November 2017. So here we go again having to move everything out of the living room and finding a place for everything. The contractor comes and it is only one guy. He says he can do this in 3 days tearing out the floor and putting in the new one. Hmmm…the first crew consisted of 2 guys and it took them 3 days without tearing anything out. Red flag!

So he broke up the tile and carried it out. Then he laid some of the backer board with screws down the hallway and in half of the living room. That is about the time we discovered that he was not putting any thin set (mortar) down under the backer board. Those boards were moving when we stepped on them. You know what that means. The tile would also move and start breaking up. We stopped him and told him that the thin set has to be put down first. He went outside and called his company and came back inside. He said that the company agreed that thin set has to be put down first. He said he has been laying floors for 10 years and never used thin set under the backer board.

Please wake me up from this nightmare. He was ready to tear out the work he had already done and start all over. NO THANK YOU! He’s never laid a floor correctly and we did not want him practicing on ours. We also were concerned because he was way behind schedule. We wanted it done correctly.

So our home is one total mess. Have any of you seen what mortar/grout dust can do? It settles over the whole house. Every room is completely covered in this gritty filth. It has even found its way inside my kitchen cupboards. It will take me months to have a completely clean house again.

We called a contractor that we know slightly. We did not originally go with him because he was booked out for months ahead. This time, he said he could fit us in after the first of the year. We agreed. Of course, we have to pay for him to install it. We now will be after the box store to refund our money. I’m sure it will be a new battle. We have given them enough chances to lay our floor and all they do is send incompetent people to do the work.

Hubby sweeping up the mess.

My husband had to finish the tear out, scrape the remaining grout, and pull out the staples. It was difficult work and definitely not fun. I’ve washed down that whole room. For now, we decided to lay down drop cloths and lay some cheap area rugs on top. We are not going to move everything back into the room. We’ll just have to live with it as is for now. This is how our living room currently looks.

Current look

And so life goes on. (smile) I can wait until January for my new floor. For now, I’m just trying to decide where to put the Christmas tree. LOL!!!

Still counting my blessings,


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8 thoughts on “Battle over the Barn Wood Floor

  1. My husband is in the home business. He has found that typically those big box stores that have installers are many many times the bottom of the barrel in their field. The good ones typically work independently for themselves. I would try to use only those referred by friends and family.

  2. Hi, I (just found your blog) and after reading your post I feel worn out. Ha. I do understand what you are going thru as I have had disastrous results with professionals (not the big box stores) who installed roofing singles completely the wrong way. Then there was the fencing company that installed the wrong height fence on over an acre, and didn’t sink the poles properly. Unfortunately I was out of state at the time and didn’t supervise the job. Sigh.. They were both long drawn out battles. I finally sold my large home and bought a 560′ ft vintage farmhouse, figuring with a smaller home, repairs and updates would be smaller issues. So far, that holds true, in my century old farmhouse. If tile doesn’t work out for your floor, try plane old wood planks (NOT the tongue and groove ones). I just had some installed in my bathroom and could not be happier with how the look and feel and they were inexpensive and easy to install. I see you ended your post by still counting your blessings, and that is the best part of your whole situation. God is awesome and we live blessed lives.

  3. Oh gosh, that is a nightmare Cindy! Glad you stuck to your guns the first time. I’m sure you will have to again. Wishing you the best. Your beautiful tree will take guests eyes off of the floor. 🙂

  4. Oh my gosh I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through this! We’ve lived in our house for 13 years and suffered through two total basement floods and water damage from a leaky roof (bad contractor) that all required extensive repairs. We had to have 12 inch Italian tile pulled out in the main floor of our house. The dust was so bad we had to go to a hotel. Insurance company fought us on that. It was a nightmare. I’m so glad you stuck to your guns. It will be worth the wait once it’s done right! Hang in there! Xo kathleen|Our Hopeful House

  5. Well, Cindy, I thought we was having problems with our new windows! But your floor tops it!!!!! It IS a gorgeous floor, when done right. I fell in love with it last year when we visited with you. Hang in there! I will tell you a very short horror story about our fireplace. That one went on for 8 years! The contractor told us that we just hired him to lay the brick–not that the fireplace would work. Geez!!! Hugs from Our Farmhouse to Yours. . .

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