Tips from the Contractor

Differences in Same Materials

Today brought up an all too-familiar scenario in the home remodeling business: differences in the same materials. Differences in materials that have the same name, stock number or even the same color code, include material deviations such as patterns, thickness and size, sheen the most prevalent is color.

Every customer needs to know that materials are produced at factories in lots or batches. There are many influences that can create a slight variance in materials of the same name or stock number. Materials produced with the same batch number will most likely be and should be exactly the same. Materials from different batches and run dates, however, have a greater chance of being slightly different than previously produced products.

Today I saw a great example of this. Recently a client had a flood in the center of the house on the ground level. It ruined the center third of their beautiful thick engineered hardwood floor planks. The original floor was installed 10 months ago and then came the flood. The water remediation company removed the center third of the flooring and the insurance company came and paid for the replacement of that section of flooring in the center leaving the sections on the left and right side of the home. 

The client ordered the exact same flooring from the same company and we installed it. Once the floor was installed and all sections were cleaned and mopped for inspection, you could see the new center section was darker then the left and right ends. The question remains, Who is to blame? Who is responsible? How do you make it right? Is the insurance company responsible for replacing the entire floor so it will match 100% knowing that different batches may not match? All good questions.

To help remedy problems like these, always purchase enough material so you have extra for any project that you can return once completed. During a project, that is the best remedy so you do not take a chance of running out of materials from the same lot. I highly recommend buying flooring for the entire house if you are also planning on installing flooring one level at a time but at separate times. Do everything you can to help eliminate any possible chance of error or variations that could negatively impact the final look of your remodel project.

This material difference happens quite often with wood or laminate flooring and also with ceramic, porcelain and travertine floor and shower tiles as well. Two of the more important materials also to be aware of are paint choices and wallpaper selections. It is best to buy your paint at one time to help eliminate as many possible variations as possible. Nowhere else on a project is this more important than a wallpaper purchase. 

There is no reason to even begin installing wallpaper if all the rolls are not produced from the same batch. I guarantee you the patterns and colors will not match. So buy smart and have a game plan with your project materials purchase before you start spending money on materials that could cause you pain and anguish in the end.

Rick Lazarus

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