Recently two homeowners reached out to us for advice after reading our post Why Your Flooring Problem Might Not Be Plumbing Related.
Both homeowners, one in Mesquite and the other in California, had problems with their hardwood floors buckling. And the homeowner in Mesquite also found black spots on a small area near a bathroom.
In-House Plumbing Company Owner Shawn Bucklew spoke with both homeowners on the phone. After they explained what was going on with their floors Shawn’s best guess—not being a hardwood floor expert—was that the most likely cause was either condensation on the slab or the wood didn’t have enough (or any) time to acclimate to the rooms.
Convinced these issues were not plumbing related, they wanted to know what their next steps should be. The homeowner in Mesquite was in a particularly tough situation because the flooring company that installed her floors wouldn’t return her calls.
Is It Worth the Fight?
After trying to get ahold of the flooring company to no avail, the homeowner in Mesquite also had fresh water and sewer leak tests done by another plumbing company. Both tests came back with zero leaks found. With no leaks and no returned calls from the flooring company, she was at a loss as to what to do next.
Shawn spoke with the homeowner for about 30 minutes listening to her struggles and then explained what he thought she should do moving forward.
Knowing there were no leaks, her biggest issue at the time was that the flooring company wouldn’t call her back. Clearly the company was not standing by their work.
So the first question: Is it worth the fight?
What to Look For in a Home Service Provider
If it’s not worth the fight, or if you need a problem fixed ASAP, the first thing to do is find someone to fix your problem.
So how do you do that with so many companies to choose from?
Of course, you can always ask friends and family for referrals but make sure you check out the companies before calling and setting up an appointment.
You can tell a lot about a company and its people from the company website. Check out the homepage. Read the About Us page. Is the site one or two pages with little information? Is there a blog or a resource page for you to read to help you make a more informed decision? What about reviews or testimonials?
Shawn recommends finding someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a sales person. Take for example the blog here on the In-House site. Yes, In-House is a business but we also value arming our customers with valuable information, educating them so they know what is going on with their own plumbing systems and homes.
If a company’s site is only trying to sell you something, look elsewhere.
When you search a company’s name, you should be able to find a lot of information about them.
Check out their Better Business Bureau listing. Look for other online reviews that might not be on their site like Google or Angie’s List.
If they have social media business pages like on Facebook or Twitter, see if people are talking about them there or have left any reviews.
You might also find a YouTube channel for the company like the one we have here for In-House. Again, you’re looking for a company wanting more than just the sale. They also provide information or education.
Trust Your Gut
Don’t overlook your instincts. If something feels off about the company you’re investigating, trust that feeling.
We’re not saying everyone you feel uncomfortable with is going to rip you off or pull a fast one on you. It could be the employee you’re dealing with is inexperienced or isn’t the right fit for the problem you have. (Like a plumbing company for flooring issues.)
Finding a Flooring Company
Most flooring companies tell homeowners to call a plumber with issues like moisture on the floor or wood planks buckling. But as we explained in the flooring post linked above, it is highly unlikely if not impossible these types of issues are caused by plumbing problems.
For the case in Mesquite, Shawn recommended once she found a seemingly reputable flooring company to not tell them she had had the leak tests. Instead have them come out and check out the floors first.
If he then tells her to get a leak test to let him know she already did. If he says the tests were wrong and to get another one, that isn’t the right company and to keep looking. The goal is to find a company who have dealt with similar issues and can offer solutions.
So what if the fight is worth it?
When It IS Worth the Fight
If you find yourself in a situation like our homeowner in Mesquite, the original company isn’t responding to your repeated calls and/emails, you do have options.
It’s probably not worth it to take them to small claims court or to sue them. Attorney fees, court fees, these add up and could end up being more than the cost of the work. And even if you win, getting the company to pay is a whole other potentially costly battle.
But sometimes all it takes is the scare of a lawsuit. If you can, try to find a lawyer to send a letter pro bono. The goal is to get the original company to stand by their work. And if the fault is theirs, they need to cover the cost of the repairs. They can do this by either doing the work for free or paying another company to do it.
If they agree to do the work for free, do your research to find someone you trust and offer to pay them to come out and supervise the work. We’ve offered to do so for free in the past when a customer came to us frustrated with another plumbing company.
But if you have to pay them anything at all, don’t. They’ve already proved to be untrustworthy and unreliable. Put your money into someone else.
Another option is to contact your local news stations and newspapers. Which ones? All of them!
Know When to Say When
There does come a time, though, when it’s better to cut your losses and move on.
If you’ve done everything you can—or if it’s just not worth the effort—it might be time to chalk it up to a lesson learned. In the end what matters is getting the work done by a company you can trust and peace of mind.
And of course, if you ever have any questions about something you read here or something going on with your home, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.