Floor specifications

A contractor in Pennsylvania installed new subflooring and a linoleum floor in my kitchen and there are issues. There is a “lump” (2-feet across, 8 feet long) in front of a door with a pitch of ~2 inches per ten feet as you move across the kitchen. We had hired a carpenter they recommended to replace a spot in the plywood where that lump is now seen. After he patched the plywood, their team okayed it and put down subfloor and linoleum, giving us the 2" every ten foot pitch. The sent an inspector from their company who indicated (on the sly) had “elevated floor joists” where the lump is that probably should have been leveled before the second team put down the sub-floor. The compnay sent a letter stating that the floor joists were the issue, the floor pitch was not their problem and that they would cut the legs of our kitchen table so it would no longer wobble, if we wanted them to.

Are there specifications or code for the pitch of a floor that state they should not have laid the floor until the joist/subfloor issue was resolved ?


Linoleum floors were outlawed several years ago because of the asbestos content. Today’s floors are vinyl floors.
Contract the manufacturer of your floor IE. Armstrong, Mannington, Tarkett, etc. for their installation instructions / guidelines.
These guidelines will give you a better idea of what the sub flooring contractor is, and is not responsible for.

They are NOT responsible for “Leveling” your house.
If you have a “2-inch lump” in your floor you had it there long before they arrived and the responsibility for a STRUCTURAL REPAIR does not fall on a vinyl installers shoulders.

I think Armstrong would disagree with your statement. Armstrong Linoleum

I know for a fact that for many years linoleum with the asbestos content was outlawed and removed from company shelves .

That being said… it seems that Times/technology are constantly changing! I stand corrected!

Asbestos containg products where outlawed" in 1983. This incluses Vinyl tile with Asbestos backing.

Thank You! :smiley:
If you ever find a “reference” to it I would appreciate it if you would send me a link.


My turn to stand corrected.:slight_smile:

It was 1983 in the UK and 1989 in the USA.

USA ban and phase out

Should they have informed us that this problem existed? We would have paid extra to get it right, but did not know about it until the flooring was completed


Unfortunately I am not aware of any adopted codes that specifically limit a floor’s flatness, only the amount of allowable deflection under load. Even if there was such a code it may not have been adopted in your area.

The issue that you have could possibly fall under the linoleum manufacturers requirements for floor flatness. You would need to check the manufacturers WEB site for their required or recommended installation practicies. For example Armstrong does specify a recommendation for floor flatness when installaing their products. Armstrong subscribes to the National Association Of Home Builders ( www.nahb.or ) construction standards for floor flatness. You can see Armstrong’s statement at http://www.floorexpert.com/armstrong/fpoxpert.nsf . I do not have access to NAHB material and possibly another NACHI member can help us with that.

Your issue is definitely a case of poor workmanship on the part of the installers. Prior to their work they could have quickly and easily have used either a laser level or long manual level and checked for these type of conditions. From what you described they would have felt it just walking across the floor. With that in mind, yes they should have made you aware of the issue before they moved any further in the process so it could have been corrected.

Many times the company you purchase your flooring from will use sub-contractors and they might not keep track of the quality of their work. Their tracking methods only come as a result of customers expressing their concerns. Hopefully you paid by credit card or some other method of credit that would allow you to dispute the charges.

The National Association of Home Builders’ Residential Construction Performance Guidelines Third Edition says:

3-3-2 uneven subfloor…Subfloors shall not have more than a ¼ inch ridge or depression within any 32-inch measurement…

3-3-4 wood floor out of level…The floor should not slope more than ½-inch in 20 feet. (Crowns that meet standards of the grading organization for that grade and species are not defects.)

I am assuming that this is an older home you are talking about. The carpenter that you hired should have pointed out the problems in the floor. If the floor joists are truly the issue, how could someone replacing part of the subfloor not notice it? Since the flooring company recommended the carpenter, I would be tempted to hold them responsible for the problem. If the floor was out of level by 2" in 10’, I would think that this is something that you could “feel” even without a laser or level. Unfortunately, the flooring company will probably tell you that the floor being out of level prior to them arriving will absolve them of responsibility for it. If the real issue is the “bump” in the floor, the flooring installer should have the responsibility of assuring that the subfloor is in proper condition prior to installing the vinyl.
Bottom line is somehow the flooring company should work with you and the carpenter that *they *recommended to at the very least resolve the issue of the “bump” that you describe. Best of luck to you.

Brian Paull

Now this cracks me up. You know your a Redneck if;

If they don’t own a level how do they know how much to cut off each leg? I guess they will keep cutting until the marble doesn’t roll off any more…