Approximately a year after the installation was completed, the homeowner called. A discoloration had appeared in the sheet vinyl.

photo 1
It took me a while to find this one, but I think it is worth the effort.

Approximately one year after the installation was completed, homeowner Joe Filler phoned his “builder” to inform him of a random discoloration in his sheet vinyl. The same vinyl is installed in the laundry room, the garage entry hall, the bathroom, the kitchen dining, and kitchen prep areas. The builder was informed of the condition along with the retailer. The distributor was then contacted to set up an inspection.

photo 2
After the first battery of inspections were finished, all the parties involved agreed to disagree, and an independent inspector was called in. A second independent inspector was called because everyone disagreed with the first (don’t laugh, it happens). Only in the kitchen dining area could a discoloration be found (photos 1 and 2). The photos are of the sample area after its removal.

Can you guestimate the cause of the discoloration?

You make the call!

photo 3
I purposely said guestimate because until the floor is cut (and even then it is sometimes not clear) your guess is as good as mine. Remember, never, ever cut a floor unless you have been instructed to do so by the responsible party. Photo 3 may give some insight as to the problem’s cause. Still not sure?

OK. We all see the knot, but in this case the knot is only a victim. Look closer at photos 4 and 5. What do you see inside the knot and the other voids? A filler compound made primarily of silicon (photos 6 and 7 show the reverse side).

photo 4
Wait a minute! This is an exterior grade, APA underlayment, a recommended and approved product. So the real question is…

Who installed the underlayment? The builder.

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The homeowner had been saying all along that the builder would never do something like this. The builder had been saying that he hired the professional floor covering mechanic to install the floor. The retailer just wanted closure of the whole episode.

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To this day, I’m not sure if the underlayment was installed upside down or not, but I can say that I have previously seen sanded side up with filled plugs, knots, and voids which are very hard to notice because the manufacturer used a color-matched filler.

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And no, the installer was not to blame, but he did get a free lunch for two days, on top of being paid to install new underlayment and floor covering.

Believe it or knot!