Retailer Rob Benson, owner of Frontier Furniture & Carpet in West Virginia, wrote in to share his amazement at everything an installer is responsible for on today’s jobsite. He states: “I am again aghast by the movement in the industry to pass along every problem to the flooring installer. Beyond basic installation procedures, installers must now be responsible for not only humidity in an installation, but must correct skewing or bowing of patterns, inspect all the products for delivery defects or damage, and know all the correct adhesives to use with specific products—all while looking for out-of-square rooms and potential subfloor problems. And that’s before he unloads his tools to do the job!

“Let’s face it—everyone is passing the buck to the last man standing. I know it’s all well and good to say the installer has to accept the jobsite, but why should this not be the job of the GC? Let’s say the installer has two helpers he is paying, and while he knows acclimation is needed, he could lose the job if he does not do it now and will have to pay his helpers out of his own pocket. So he loads up and goes to the home, where the GC had put down an unacceptable underlay to nail to. He takes what was given to him by ‘professionals’ and does the job and it fails. Who is to blame?

“I am not an installer, but I think that if the other trades were responsible for their fields and let the installer do his, there may be a longer line of younger installers coming into the field. I recently asked a helper on a crew if he was considering becoming a crew head. He said no way—the pay is not enough for the work and responsibilities that come with the title.

“Now I do realize there are several good mechanics of flooring out there who do a great job and are conscientious about their work. But it is a dying trade, and the outlook for a flow of new installers does not look that impressive, especially in more rural areas of the US.

“I give way to the professional. What is your opinion?”