The following are several installations of various manufacturers' vinyl. They all have a few things in common; the customer is very unhappy with the performance of the floor covering and no one, prior to the floor being inspected, knew what caused the condition. The cause was not identified but the effect is vividly shown in the photographs. Do the photos indicate a manufacturing, installation or in-service (site-related) condition?

Take a close look at each photo and see if: You can Make the Call!

Photos 1, 2, 3 and 4 are similar in appearance, small cuts in the surface of the floor covering that are the result of dynamic point loading. High-heeled shoes could do this, but what about small rocks stuck in the sole of a shoe? You can't just blame the ladies for this one. Anything that will transmit a heavy load down to a small surface area contact will do this type of damage.

Sure, we have been conditioned to say, "High heels," but I have seen men's dress shoes with the tacks or staple head sticking out of the heel just enough to transmit the load through them right to the surface of the flooring. It's not just high heels for the ladies that can do this either; the same mechanical fastener (nail, staple or tack) can be found on all ladies' dress shoes. Take a close look at the shoes in your closet and that of your significant other; I give it a one-in-five chance that you'll find a cause.

What you should look for on every complaint similar to this type is a repeat of the pattern. Sure, around the sink and dishwasher you'll find the occasional dropped utensil that will cut the surface. But by looking closely around the entire installation, you can almost track path or trail that the mole or troll left behind.

Photo 5 is a repeating pattern that cut into the vinyl down to the underlayment. This one is larger than a shoe heel, about the size of a quarter, but again, it is very dramatic point loading. It turned out to be a steel chair leg, with the cap missing, that was used as a stepping stool. Photos 6, 7 and 8 are from the same job.

Photo 6 is what the problem started out as, several small punctures. Photo 7 is a close up; they sure look like high heels, but there are even smaller holes in the surface of the vinyl that are a different size and shape.

Photo 8 is the result of several holes/punctures and a chair with wheel casters which had small rocks imbedded in the plastic, traveling repeatedly over the same area.

For wear performance, we call this cycling. Thus far, we have seen site-related causes that are not under the control of the installer or the manufacturer, but what about the surface scratching shown in Photo 9? Does this appear to be site related? Sure it is, but what could have been done to prevent this unsightly condition?

Proper maintenance would be my call. This floor covering has never had a dressing or polish applied to it for five years.

We can't say wax, since it's a no-wax floor, but properly maintaining any floor covering per the manufacturer's recommendations ensures the warranty. Many consumers believe "No wax" to mean "No maintenance," and we all know that dirt floors are the only ones that need no maintenance. This last photo, Photo 10, is somewhat of a puzzle to me. Three years after installation, the consumer complains that the floor is cracking in several places. Can You Make the Call? I'll give you a hint.

Oversights and over-cuts can appear to look the same. What happened hers was very simply an oversight by the installer when he cut the corner for this job. They over-cut the corner and then did nothing to repair it! Why would they do this? It was not intentional, I assure you.

This cut, like 90 percent of all cuts, was not visible when the installer left the job. Only after time was it visible. Washing, traffic and soil brought it out to a visible state. If you do over-cut a piece of vinyl, use the proper seam sealer and fix it! If you seal it shut before dirt can get into it, your callbacks on this type of problem will virtually disappear. Thanks again for reading and have a great day!