Any time you have a problem on a job with products or labor, trying to find out who is responsible is always a frustrating process.

If there is a product issue, the manufacturer will always ask about the site conditions. You need to be able to answer these questions: Is it a wood or concrete floor? Is the product specified the right product for the floor? Can it be installed directly on the floor or is there another product on the floor? Is abatement necessary, and if so, what method should be used and who is responsible? Is the concrete sealed and/or what type of sealer was used? Does moisture testing need to be done? Pay close attention to these issues and the manufacturer's recommendations, and pass along any concerns you might have to the customer, general contractor, or architect. They may not change products, but if they know you have concerns, and you've documented them, it will certainly help you if the job fails.

There are also issues during or after the job is done. As an example, we glued down a large commercial job in broadloom. All existing flooring was taken up and the floor was cleaned. After the carpet was installed on two floors the seams started to gap. The carpet manufacturer's adhesive had been used and seams sealed. The first statement made by a mill inspector was that not enough seam sealer was used. I responded that the seams weren't unraveling; rather, the carpet was shrinking. Then the inspector said not enough glue had been used. I knew I had new trowels on the job site during the job, so maybe the manufacturer's glue was the problem. However, the manufacturer stated the problem was installation related. We finished the last floor before we could resolve this issue because of the customer's occupancy schedule. On the final walk through, only one floor out of six floors was without any problems, and on that floor I had used another manufacturer's adhesive and had documentation to back it up. With that info, the manufacturer stepped up and paid for all the repairs.

As an installation contractor, we will step up and be responsible for what we do. We need the manufacturers to do the same.