When contractors try to pass off cheap laminate as hardwood

Whether you have just completed the construction of your dream home or simply remodeled an existing space where you live, you expect that the construction professionals helping turn your dream into a reality will use the materials that you agree upon and do their job in a professional manner. Unfortunately, some companies will try to increase their profit margin by replacing expensive, luxury materials with cheaper, lower-grade materials.

Once you discover that your flooring isn’t the premium hardwood you paid for but rather a cheap laminate knockoff, you may have no choice but to initiate construction litigation against the contractors, especially if you reach out to them and they refuse to correct the issue.

What’s the difference between hardwood and laminate anyway?

Laminate flooring used to be very obvious when compared with real wood, but production techniques have improved in recent years. Laminate flooring can now look similar to tile, stone and wood. In some cases, it may even have texture to it.

However, laminate is a much cheaper product than hardwood. It has a shorter useful life, as well as substantially lower resale value and cannot get refinished by you or other owners to change or upgrade its appearance in the future.

Why would a contractor use laminate flooring instead of the hardwood you requested?

When you make it clear in your conversations and in your contract that you want a specific kind of hardwood flooring installed, you expect the company that you pay for the work and the materials to follow through with your wishes.

The company may have two distinct but compelling reasons (from their perspective) to replace your preferred hardwood flooring with a laminate product. First of all, hardwood flooring installation can be labor-intensive. It demands precision when it comes to measuring and fitting the boards, and there can often be substantial work involved, especially in older houses, ensuring that the subflooring is even enough to prevent twisting or warping. Laminate, by comparison, is faster to install.

As if that weren’t a reason enough, the company can also likely pay a fraction of the price for laminate flooring that they would pay for hardwood that looks nearly the same. In other words, they make more money by saving on materials and spending less time on the labor of installation.

By documenting the discrepancy between your requested flooring and what actually got installed, you can take action against the company for breach of contract and potentially recoup the cost of eventually installing the flooring you wanted.

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