LVP to avoid (read if considering Coretec or CaliBambo) and a mystery
Ugh. I’m sorry in advance for the length of this post. It truly is a long (and ongoing) story.
In July of 2019, we used a local flooring company to install almost 2000 sq ft of Coretec Berlin Pine. Within a month it was clear that the bevel paint was coming off on many of the planks and many of those were also chipping at the corners where the paint had come off. The flooring company worked with Coretec (Shaw) to bring out an independent inspector to investigate and the problem was so obvious that we had a response within the same day that the floor was defective (a process we were told that usually takes weeks). After some back and forth we were eventually refunded the money by Shaw and, of course, wanted nothing more to do with them or any of their products.
We worked with the flooring company to find a replacement and ended up going with Cali Bamboo North Shore Oak because that was the only other LVP that we could find that had the warm tones we were looking for. After the installers had ripped up the Coretec planks on the bottom floor, they pointed out to us that there were so many pattern repeats in the Cali Bamboo flooring that they couldn’t make it look good. This pattern repeat issue was something we had explicitly checked on before purchasing so we were livid that we had been told inaccurate information by CB sales people. There was a 3-day struggle with them because they kept saying if we install the floors we accept them as is, but our argument was we had to install what was here because we were on subfloors at that point and we have a toddler (not clean and not safe!!). They FINALLY agreed that that was sound reasoning, then told us there was a problem with manufacturing and there actually should have been more patterns than the 4 we had and they had plans to fix it. They refunded our money with the assurance they would have the pattern repeat issue fixed and new planks would be in stock in about 6 months. So the installers hastily laid down what we had from them at the time with everyone expecting a new floor fairly shortly (which didn’t happen). So we currently have clearly defective boards on the floor (one even has numbers printed on it) and overly stressed and cracked molding (some with nails sticking out) from too many install attempts because we just needed them to get us off the subfloors immediately. The Coretec floors are still installed upstairs because they hadn’t been ripped up yet when the installers figured out there was a problem with Cali Bamboo.
It’s been over a year since then and Cali Bamboo recently said they fixed the repeat issue. We found out they didn’t really (just took the same 4 exact patterns and reversed them) and when we questioned how that didn’t line up with what they said before they’ve gone silent and basically aren’t answering anything else. So needless to say, we are also not fond of Cali Bamboo.
We are still searching for LVP with warmer tones and are awaiting samples from many companies including Flooret (who has had the best customer service BY FAR so far). I have to say though, given that we had to have the flooring install company fight for us two times in a row over unexpected issues, we are highly anxious about ordering direct and having an independent installer do the installation for us. If our house is under some kind of crazy curse and something goes horribly wrong with our floors for a third time, even if the flooring manufacturer admits fault, I imagine we’d be out the installation costs? The flooring manufacturers we dealt with for our two horrible experiences were abysmal, but at least the flooring company we worked with that partnered with the manufactures fought for us until we (and they) were refunded everything including installation costs.
There is another piece to the story that we’re terrified of repeating. Both of these issues apply to the Coretec floors but not to the Cali Bamboo floors. First off, the “haze” that people complain about on forums that makes it to where you can’t ever get the floor looking clean is absolutely true. And we’ve only ever used approved cleaning tools and solutions. Anything Coretec suggests is worthless to fix this problem. There are still footprints from install a year and a half ago on those floors. No problems with the look or ease of cleaning the Cali Bamboo floors downstairs at all.
This last issue is the worst one. Since we have a toddler, we spend a lot of time down on the floor. It took awhile but we finally figured out why all of our socks and pants were getting holes in them so quickly and why every time I’d get up from my knees off the floor I’d have whitish patches on them. The Coretec floors are shredding our clothes (like a fine-grit sandpaper)! Again, the Cali Bamboo floors do not do this. I sure wish they had a better pattern repeat solution and their customer service was better so we could just go with them because at least we know their floors won’t tear up our clothes and we can clean the floors just fine without the haze. We have gotten several samples already from Armstrong Empower and Pergo extreme and they seem to have the same ultra matte finish as the Coretec Berlin Pine. I so hope this isn’t the latest trend that we’re going to find across the board because I’m telling you that finish is horrible (though as explained below, it perhaps can’t all be blamed on the finish). When we go upstairs we have to avoid touching the floors with our clothes to try to keep them from being ruined (pretty hard to do with a three year old). It’s just an absolutely ridiculous situation.
The thing we can’t figure out is all of these companies are using different materials for the protective top layer (Coretec uses UV acrylic, Armstrong Empower uses diamond dust with urethane, Pergo Extreme uses aluminum oxide) but if it even remotely has a matte finish like the Berlin Pine then it does the same thing (as evidenced by me getting down and testing the samples on my pant knees!) regardless of what the wear layer is made of. Even some samples that aren’t super duper matte are doing it. We were hoping we could just avoid the acrylic since that’s what Coretec uses but it doesn’t seem to be the material that’s the culprit, it seems to be the finish I guess but that doesn’t really explain it totally either!? Also can’t explain it away by blaming it on embossing/texture because the Coretec floor we have doesn’t have really bumpy ridges (and feels pretty smooth to the touch though you can definitely tell it’s not a slick/glossy finish just by the feel). The Cali Bamboo floor we have does have quite a bit of embossing/texture (more than we’d prefer in fact) but no issues with clothes shredding. The CB North Shore Oak finish does have a noticeably slicker feel in between the embossed ridges if you run your finger over it compared to the Berlin Pine, though it doesn’t appear glossy or shiny. Does anyone have any clue as to what on earth is causing this fabric damaging property on the floors that are doing it??!!
I’ve also seen other people complaining about the haze problem with other LVP besides Coretec so that also doesn’t seem to be a problem that is specific to the acrylic top coat they are using. (But again, no such problem with Cali Bamboo so definitely not an issue with all LVP).
Also, of note, we saw the issue with paint coming off the bevel on A LOT of samples we looked at in our second round of looking for a replacement. You could see the paint coming off onto a wet paper towel (just using water) by just rubbing it over the painted bevel. So that’s also not an issue just specific to the Coretec floors (at that time Cali Bamboo was the only one we tested that didn’t have this issue). So if you are floor shopping and are getting something with a painted bevel, I recommend you do the wet paper towel test!
So I guess what I’m looking for here is...
1) We’re seeking an understanding of why some LVP has the haze problem people complain about and why some LVP has the clothes shredding problem we’ve had and at least one LVP (Cali) doesn’t. Since neither of these issues seem to be able to be explained away by a difference in what the top layer is made of or whether or not there is pronounced texture/embossing we don’t know how to avoid it and are understandably terrified of going through another round of flooring fail!
2) Also wanting to hear from people about whether or not they have LVP that has the haze/footprint issue or the clothes shredding issue or the bevel paint issue or the dumb pattern repeat issue. I’m sure there are some who do actually have the clothes problem (given our testing of recent samples and how widespread the matte finish is now) but don’t realize it or aren’t down on the floors enough for it to be noticeable. BTW, we told Coretec about it and they didn’t care in the least. When we left negative reviews mentioning the clothes-shredding capabilities of their flooring they said it must have been an installation problem (as if).
We’re desperate to find a replacement that isn’t going to repeat any of these problems we’ve experienced! Any advice/help anyone can share will be GREATLY appreciated!! TYIA!