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Shaw lightens up laminate

Posted on December 31, 2013 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (12)

Laminate has been under tremendous pressure in recent years. So when Shaw had the opportunity to introduce two of its laminate collections to key customers, the company was extremely pleased with the enthusiastic response.


“The reaction was overwhelmingly positive. They said these new collections made them think totally different about laminate than they have in years,” said Drew Hash, Shaw’s hard surface category manager.


The Ancestry and Reclaimed Collections, both launched this summer, mirror the trends that Shaw has seen in hardwood. This, the company believes, is the key to being successful in laminate. “Laminate tends to follow the trends that you see in wood, it’s a matter of how quickly we adapt to and mirror those trends,” said Eric Ericson, product development in hard surface, Shaw. “I think the trend in wood right now is a plainer look. We’ve seen a lot of the white and softer scrape looks, and not as much of the rustic. Things are definitely lightening up in laminate and moving away from darker stains.”


The Reclaimed Collection reflects the trend toward a vintage look and features wider 8-inch, 2-strip visual planks. The line comes in a barnwood look, white-filled and wire-brushed look, and an antique skip-sawn look, each offered in three different variations of color. The products also feature an ultra-matte finish texture that mirrors a European oil-rubbed look and diffuses light for color enhancement, according to the company.


The Ancestry Collection is a more sophisticated and high-end look featuring a 5-inch wide mini-plank with micro-beveled edges. This line comes in Zinfandel, Moscato and Chardonnay. It features the appearance of a white-filled white oak, wire-brushed finish with sawn-face styling and a low gloss that gives a hand-done, oil-rubbed visual.


According to Car Newton, Shaw’s category manager for laminate, these collections replicate the wire brushed look seen in hardwood as well as a low gloss look. “Low glossing is huge for us in laminate right now,” Newton said. “It is very tricky for laminate to be low gloss because it can get a bit of a milky visual. We developed ways to avoid that, which is what makes these lines incredibly unique.”


Ultimately, Shaw is most pleased that it has developed quality laminate collections that pleases the consumer and grabs her attention. “We believe we have hit something that not a lot of our competition has in laminate at this point, so it’s an exciting position to have in the market,” said Hash.



Quit Blaming the Installers

Posted on December 31, 2013 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

When I first started covering the flooring industry nearly 20 years ago I learned there were a few issues that had “always” been around.


Some, such as the employee vs. independent contractor debate, the industry can only lobby politicians to ensure any law does not harm normal industry practices.


Others, though, are totally within the industry’s power to change, such as installation. I remember shortly after starting there was a glaring headline across the front page of another publication stating an industry study that said installation was the No. 1 problem. Even today, if you poll manufacturers and retailers inevitably 95% or more will list installation among the industry’s top three problems.


My question then and still is: If installation is such a problem why is so little done to solve it? It almost seems as if manufacturers and retailers/contractors want this so-called problem never to be solved. Nearly every company in any industry will budget a contingency fund, yet how many besides flooring actually have a built-in line item for claims? Shouldn’t priority No. 1 be to eliminate that line? Yet, instead, people continue to bemoan the problem.


The excuse, “If I train them they will go someplace else” is just that—an excuse. Why is it other industries can train people without these worries? GM never worries its certified mechanics (formerly called Mr. Goodwrench) will run to Ford once they get trained.


Yes, there are some who wholeheartedly support quality installation and will do whatever it takes to ensure their people are properly trained to get the job done right the first time. But they are obviously in the minority.


Here’s the thing, there are groups trying their level best to train installers on the latest tools, products and procedures but get little support in terms of retailers sending (or suggesting) installers to these events and the vast majority of manufacturers—whose products are the ones being installed—are nowhere to be seen.


Two recent examples: NTCA’s executive director recently pointed out even though the association provides freeeducational programs, “It is disappointing…we don’t get as many people to attend as we would like.”


Or, at the recent CFI convention, which has helped train and ID the qualifications of nearly 50,000 installers during its 20-year existence, why were there so few retailers and contractors? And forget about seeing a mill executive. The training and education that takes place at a CFI convention would blow the minds of most people and much of it would be of great assistance to salespeople (such as learning about the properties of wood and moisture).


If you want this “problem” solved do something about it. Send your head mechanic, or a crew to a training event so they can come back and teach others. Hold a clinic of your own.


And while it would behoove mills to show their latest products to installers and get feedback before finding out about inherent problems afterwards, why is it the suits can crisscross the country to attend retail events to thank the dealer for his business, yet they can’t attend an installer meeting to thank a person who has saved them countless dollars by getting it right as well as representing their companies in a professional manner?


After all, this is still a people industry.




Dispelling Misperceptions About Carpet and Health

Posted on December 31, 2013 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

When it comes to the green movement, there are basically two sides to the coin: Environmental and health.

The environmental component is pretty obvious, including such things as recycling and sustainable practices and, as such, gets the majority of the press. And, in this area, carpet scores high marks across the board as the industry is widely recognized as one of the most progressive among all building products—be it residential or commercial.

But the health issue is another story altogether. In this area, there is a great deal of publicity out there but, unfortunately, when it comes to such products as carpet, much of what is said in the mainstream media is not only untrue, it is unsubstantiated—especially when it comes to its effects on people with allergies and asthma.

In fact, as Werner Braun, president of the Carpet & Rug Institute (CRI), noted, “there is not one piece of scientific data that supports the case for carpet not being a good product for people with allergies, asthma or other indoor air quality (IAQ) sensitivities. Meanwhile, there are an abundant amount of studies from around the world showing the opposite” of what most people think, proving carpet is actually a good product for promoting healthy IAQ.

And, many of these studies are done independently of the carpet industry—from both being directly involved to simply funding the research—meaning they are truly conducted by third parties. In some cases they are actually conducted by government agencies.

Yet the problem still persists. Paul Murray, vice president of sustainability for Shaw, points out, “It’s a common misconception carpet adversely impacts allergy and asthma sufferers. Research shows well-maintained carpet can reduce airborne allergens, contributing to healthier indoor air quality. This is important for everyone, but it’s particularly critical for people impacted by asthma and allergies.”

He added, “Carpet traps allergens and other particles at its base, which keeps them away from the carpet’s surface and out of the air. Research shows that allergens trapped by carpet do not return to the air, even when the carpet is disturbed by walking or other activity.”

Unfortunately, though, the misperceptions, or urban legends about carpet not being a good product when it comes to IAQ persist. And many times it starts at the doctor’s office, when the diagnosis is an allergy or asthma condition. The prescription, among other things, is to remove all the carpet from the home.

While the doctor may think he is giving the parents correct advice he is really dispensing a dose of urban legend. This faux pa inevitably puts a strain on the entire industry as retailers on the residential side are now faced with consumers who refuse to give the beautiful carpet selections a second glance because of a belief it is not a healthy product and, on the commercial side, the contractor cannot convince the parent who is the designer for a major commercial project to incorporate carpet in the specs.

The medical community is certainly a point of frustration for the industry when it comes to keeping myths alive, though a project conducted by CRI 10 years ago did help drop the misperceptions some. Prior to this campaign, which was directed at allergy and asthma doctors, almost 60% of the 300 specialists and general practitioners surveyed were recommending to patients they remove their carpet. After CRI presented them with all the relative information and data it had at the time—and much more has been done since—the number of doctors prescribing carpet removal had dropped to 42%.

Because there is still a major misperception—not just in the medical field but the public in general—Braun said the issue of allergies and asthma has been identified as the second most important issue within the carpet industry. As such, he told Floor TrendsCRI is developing a strategy to deal with the issue more effectively. “It’s a very novel approach and will be done in a cost effective manner.”

Braun explained, it will begin to be rolled out during the first quarter of 2014 so it can then be evaluated later in the year and by mid 2015 the plan is to “really start communicating” what is being done.

So what is a retailer or contractor to do when a client asks questions about the health aspects of carpet? Before the question is even asked, the salesperson should have handy the one-page talking points developed by CRI just for this occasion. In fact, within its website (, there are a host of these one-page forms in downloadable formats for various sectors—from residential to A&D to schools to healthcare and facility managers.

These are written in a clear, concise manner that allows the salesperson or rep to easily communicate in layman’s terms some of the facts. The CRI website, along with a number of others, such as and, also have numerous scientific papers and studies that have been conducted around the world showing carpet actually provides a positive experience when it comes to IAQ.


Common Sense Approach

Before you start bombarding your client with scientific studies and other documented evidence, you may first want to try using the common sense approach.

Sometimes a bit of good old-fashioned reasoning is enough to make people see the fallacy in their thinking. For example, remind them the clothes they are wearing are made with the same materials as carpet. The fact is much of today’s carpet is made from harmless materials—polyester, nylon and olefin fibers. Then there are the natural fibers such as wool. Again, the wool used to make that luxurious, comfortable piece of carpet is the same type that is used to make that warm and comfy sweater.

In fact, when it comes to wool, Bill Storey, senior vice president of Karastan, said, “Scientific studies prove wool absorbs contaminants, including formaldehyde, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, and locks them into its core without re-releasing them. As such, wool improves indoor air and creates healthier working and living environments for the life of the carpet—[actually] up to 30 years.”

Many wool carpets, such as those by Karastan, he added, carry the Wool: Clean Air Certified label, which is an Indoor Environmental Quality program managed by Wools of New Zealand.

Back to using common sense, you can point out that if carpet were such a detrimental product to one’s health then you and every one of your employees would not be around to even sell it because you are exposed to more of it than the average person yet are still standing. That even goes for all your installers, or the thousands upon thousands of people who actually work in the mills. If carpet was so bad for IAQ, shouldn’t there be tons of stories about mill employees dying from being so close to it every day? That is not happening and there is not some major conspiracy to hide it.

Another bit of common sense is to point out the reason why carpet can actually improve the quality of indoor air. Thanks to something everyone is familiar with, gravity, particles such as dust, pollen, and pet and insect dander—all common allergens—fall to the floor. In the case of carpet, the fibers trap these particles and reduce their ability to continue to circulate in the air.

“In essence,” noted Mike McAllister, Beaulieu’s director of marketing, “carpet functions as a passive filter and holds dust, mold spores, pollen, pet dander and the like until it is vacuumed and cleaned.”

Remind your clients the only way for a person to get an allergic reaction or asthma attack is to breath in the allergen. In other words, people have to literally stick their faces into the carpet and breathe everything in for a period a time to be affected by any type of allergen.

In fact, a person actually has a greater chance of being affected by an allergen from their sofa, bed or drapes since their faces are not only up close, these types of textiles do not have the ability to trap material like carpet. Think of when you fling the drapes open/shut. That quick, violent movement disturbs whatever particles settled, forcing them into the air right where you are standing. The same goes for the sofa. How many times have you seen a small poof of dust kick up when someone flops down?

Another misperception about carpet involves mold. Truth is, mold grows in any moist environment where dirt and dust provide nutrients. When carpet is kept clean and dry, mold, which is a living fungus, simply cannot grow on synthetic fibers. In most cases, the mold people associate with carpet is actually from the subfloor.

Again, common sense would dictate why. When mold is present, it is usually found underneath the carpet. So, if the carpet was the reason for the mold, shouldn’t the fungus be seen on the surface fibers and not just trapped underneath? The simple fact is, it is very hard to grow mold on carpet.

Plus, anyone who has ever seen mold knows its growth is not limited to one direction—just look up at the vents in an average office.


Just the facts

While the common sense approach is probably the best way to start in trying to convince a buyer carpet is not harmful to them or their indoor environment, sometimes you will still have to prove it.

In that case, there are numerous studies that actually disprove any correlation.

The most famous of these is a 15-year Swedish study, which found no link between carpet usage and the incidence of allergy or asthma. Begun in 1975, the research tracked the product’s use through 1990 and compared it with the country’s allergy and asthma rates during this same period. During the course of the study, carpet’s market dropped precipitously—at the start it was around 40% and by the end it had fallen to 2%. The reasons for this drop are many but the main culprit was a public outcry about carpet being the source of increasing allergy and asthma attacks in the country.

But while the overall use of broadloom throughout the country shrunk to almost nothing, allergy and asthma continued to climb and, by the mid-1980s, allergic reactions began to skyrocket. By this point, the amount of carpet used each year had already dropped in half. Put simply, over the 15-year period, carpet usage in Sweden decreased tremendously while allergy reactions in the general population increased by 30%.

Adding to the Swedish study’s findings, in 2002 an 18-nation study of nearly 20,000 people found a statistical relationship between carpeted bedrooms and reduced asthma and allergy symptoms and improved breathing. A year later, a study of more than 4,600 school children in New Jersey found that having carpet in a child’s bedroom was associated with fewer missed school days and less need for asthma medication.

There is a bunch more data supporting this from studies done within the U.S. and around the world. Tremendous advances have been made in the manufacturing of carpet over the last 20-plus years making it greener and healthier than ever before.

Carpet does needs to be properly maintained for it to be the most effective. CRI is an invaluable resource in this area with its Seal of Approval program which, after using an independent testing laboratory to measure soil removal, dust containment and carpet fiber protection states the best vacuum cleaners and carpet cleaning practices.

In the end, keep in mind that many people and businesses would actually love to use carpet in their decorating but may need fact-based reassurance in light of so much misinformation out there. Don’t be reluctant to share the facts.

Carpet is truly an amazing product—and it doesn’t matter if you are talking about a base grade material or a luxurious, highly expensive piece of wool. It’s a key decorating item in just about any type of indoor setting, be it a home or commercial establishment; it’s soft, warm and cozy, and, most of all, it is one of the healthiest indoor furnishings available.


Contractor’s Corner: The Role of the Flooring Contractor

Posted on December 31, 2013 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

The role of the flooring contractor is one of the least understood pieces of a flooring sales transaction. Without a flooring contractor, there is no install, no logistics and no one to warrantee the labor aspect of the job.


One of the most important things people need to remember is flooring contractors are notinstallers; their role is much more complex than that.


The contractor needs to measure the area for flooring either through a site visit or by estimating from a set of plans. This requires a particular skill set and a level of experience that includes understanding material sizes (i.e. 12-foot carpet, 18 x 36-inch tile, 4 x 36-inch LVT, etc.).


Without detailed product knowledge an estimator cannot properly put a job together. Today’s contractors utilize sophisticated software programs that produce color-coded take-offs so the customer can see exactly where the flooring will be installed and what the tile layout will look like, for example, or where the carpet seams will fall.


After this the flooring contractor has to account for subfloor issues and carefully analyze how the floor has to be prepped prior to the installation. Since moisture issues are the No. 1 bane of our business, most likely the contractor will have to test for it prior to installation. This is no easy task; the protocol for relative humidity testing—today’s preferred method—must be followed to the letter for the test results to be accurate.


It is also important to note, floor preparation varies from product to product. As such, today’s contractor has to be an expert in all types of flooring surfaces.


After the take-offs are done and the estimator has determined the material quantities, the contractor builds a proposal that carefully considers all aspects of the job including additional floor prep, demolition of the old flooring—if it is a renovation project—material costs, labor costs and shipping costs. State and local taxes must also be calculated and can be based solely on material or on material and labor based on the jurisdiction.


There is also the probability the contractor must consider overage when calculating the numbers. A vitally important component of the proposal is the labor amount, which is often built on the number of hours estimated to do the job but proposed by the square foot or square yard. Rates can vary depending on whether the job is union or non-union.


The spreadsheet on these jobs can be huge. Putting proposals together can be very difficult especially if you have to factor in many different flooring types and complex patterns and designs, which can often be the case with commercial jobs. The general contractor (GC) can also request a “schedule of values” as part of the billing, which is a complicated form that allows you to bill on the work as it is completed.



Project Management


Once the contractor receives a contract for the job now the project management aspect of the project begins. The key with this phase is to make sure the job comes in at the profit targets on which the proposal was built.


This is no easy task. Job delays, defective materials, additional floor prep, moisture issues, extra labor to meet the schedule etc., can all affect the profitability of the job.


The material has to be ordered for on-time delivery and with that comes the logistics aspect of the project. Where is the material being shipped? Will it be cut prior to installation or cut somewhere on site? Where will the extra materials and tools be stored on site? If it is a high rise, how will the material get to the higher floors? Crane? Elevator? If new construction, has the building been sealed and the HVAC turned on? What about recycling? Where should the old material be returned; how does it need to be packaged, and where does it need to be stored until there is a sufficient quantity to ship?


During the job there can be additional work authorizations that must be signed by the site superintendent or project manager (for the GC) for additional work. This then has to be written up as a Change Order Request (COR) and submitted to the GC. Oftentimes the contractor has to haggle with the GC to get them to approve the COR so it can be billed.


I’m exhausted as I am writing this thinking about all the minutiae we flooring contractors face every day.


Once we’ve weathered the storm fighting other trades for floor space, racing against the clock to get the work done because the job is behind schedule and we are the last contractors on site, then the end is in sight.


This final stage can also be challenging just like every other part of the process. We have to deal with punch list items that may or may not be our fault and, we may have to clean, wax and seal the floors. It may even be necessary to protect the floors prior to furniture installation.


There can be hiccups in all of these steps.


Now the project is complete so it’s time to bill the job. We may be dealing with a schedule of values, change orders that we are trying to get approved and so on. Not until we are paid in full, including retention, can we breathe a sigh of relief.


I worked on the carpet manufacturing side for 19 years and I’ve also run a commercial flooring dealership for 10 years, and in my mind, nothing is tougher than the contracting side of the business. There is so much to know and so many pitfalls to overcome, being a contractor is not for the faint of heart.


To sum up, installation work is generally performed in a hostile, unpredictable environment and therefore each dollar may generate an expected $1.25 or only $.75.


My hat goes off to all the great flooring contractors and the good people who work hard to make this challenging business successful.




Ottawa flooring guide to Buying Hardwood Flooring

Posted on February 20, 2013 at 5:50 PM Comments comments (1)

Buy Hardwood Flooring

What makes a quality hardwood floor right for ME?


Hardwood Flooring is all about quality, after all you walk on it every day. But what is quality? How do I know if I'm buying a quality hardwood floor?


This Wood Flooring Buyers' Guide is designed to answer all your questions about what you would like to know and look for, when buying a hardwood floor. We have been in the business for over 20 years and know that every customer, ourselves included, want the best price. I've learnt that the "best price" is not always the "cheapest price", thus we provide this information to help you sort out the real value in what you are buying.


A wood floor's quality, it this the same as its grade?


No! not at all.... The National Hardwood Flooring Association, defines what a "Select & Better" or "#1" grade floor, must be to be labeled as such.


Their rules only dictate


1.what length the strips of flooring must be consistent the colour should be many and what size knots are allowed

The "grade" does NOT tell you... carefully and accurately the product has been made, thus well it will fit together,

3.or how well the finish will last.

It is for this reason that we offer you this information, to help you understand what you should pay for and how one would evaluate one "brand" vs. another. Enjoy.....

What should you pay for in a hardwood floor?


"FIT: The accuracy of the fit, between boards.

Why: The biggest threat to the long lasting beauty of your wood floor is water. Water will filter through any cracks and cause swelling, lifting of the finish and/or discolouration, particularly in the case of open pored woods like ash and oak. Take a close look at the ends of these woods and the cross section will show tiny open holes. Water can suck up through these pores from the bottom face of the flooring and cause the good face to discolour, and the finish to bubble. Seams must be tight!


How will I know? Assemble a few planks of floor right in the store and you will see instantly how well they fit. Are they warped in either direction? Are all the tongues and grooves in good shape? Do all the planks measure the same width? Is the good face free of defects (ie.dings or dents). Any boards you don't like will become expensive firewood, and ultimately increase your cost per square foot.


Simply asking the sales rep what to expect in wastage, if answered honestly will give you an indication of quality. Under 5% is great, over indicates poorer quality products.


Ease of Installation: A good fitting product will be faster and easier to install. You won't need a crow bar to straighen boards before nailing. For the novice DIY this is a great asset.

Pay for a Great Finish:


It will cost you less in the long run because you delay the cost of refinishing and your floor will look new for years to come! I've had a Mirage floor for 15 years and it looks like new.


Don't be fooled by the number of coats of finish. I've had to paint a room 3x's to get a paint to cover and it certainly wasn't because it was great paint or I was having a fun time.


The only test is to ask around or see a floor that's seen a little life... warranties are kind of useless as they all opt out with phrases like "under normal wear conditions". It is best to get a first hand referral. Check out a floor that has been used for 5-10 years and make your own evaluation.


Refinishing is very expensive, typically running $3.00 to $5.00 per square foot. It is usually cheaper to pay a little more for your floor today, than spend good dollars to refinish your floor a short time into the future.


Pay For a Product that is easy to maintain:

Type of Finish: Most floors are finish either with a polyurethane or wax based finish. The later has been mostly phased out over the last few years, because wax based finishes require ongoing polishing to maintain a good shine. Be sure to ask. Pay for a polyurethane. It is basically maintenance free.


V-Grooves between the boards: All prefinished flooring is made with a small beveled edge, always on the long sides of the boards and preferable on the ends as well. If your subfloor is not perfectly level, or each individual board is not exactly the same thickness, this bevel eases the transition from one height to the next. Look for a floor that has the smallest bevel. It will be less likely to collect dust and dirt, then those products made with very large v-grooves. Usually in the best floors, it is referred to as a micro-bevel. The more accurate the milling is on the floor, the smaller the bevel can be.


Unfinished floor is usually totally square edged, because it is sanded after installation. This removes any board to board height inaccuracies and leaves you with no grooves. In that respect it is a bonus, but it does not have all the advantages of a factory finish. Site finished flooring, relies more heavily on the quality of the installer. Do you have a talented individual to do the job?


Pay for a product that looks beautiful today and tomorrow!

Hardwood flooring is generally a lifetime decision. You put it in today, and live with it as long as you own your home. Paint and wallpaper change on a regular basis, and the colours that are in fashion today will be gone tomorrow, so it is best advised, to remain relatively conservative with the flooring. Be flamboyant with the paint. It is relatively inexpensive, and can be easily changed to suit the ever changing decorating trends.

What's the Best Hardwood Flooring?

Posted on February 20, 2013 at 5:40 PM Comments comments (1)

What's the Best Hardwood Flooring?

Engineered, Strip, Plank & Parquet


The best hardwood flooring is the one that fits your traffic needs, installation challenges and budget. The industry has created literally hundreds of options to meet any of these challenges from horrible to fantastic.


Here's an idea of all your solid wood hardwood flooring options... this does not discuss laminated flooring which is made from synthetic material and printed with a picture of real wood to imitate nature :)


Solid Hardwood Flooring:

This commonly refers to a solid wood flooring that is 2 1/4" or 3 1/4" wide, although quite a variation of widths are available as manufacturers try to get the best yield out of available material. Most commonly 3/4" thick and comes in various lengths.


Typical pricing: $3.50 to $8.00 per square foot


Parquet Hardwood Flooring:

This is a product from our mother's era, although it experiences short comebacks when manufacturer recreate cool mosiac patterns. It is made like a jigsaw puzzle and lays down in small tiles like ceramic. It is one of the best hardwood flooring products for the DIY installer


Typical Pricing: $1/ft for the most basic to $10. per square foot for some really amazing and intricate patterns.


Engineered Hardwood Flooring:

This is relatively new to the hardwood market and often gets confused with its laminate cousin. Both products can have a similar construction, but an engineered hardwood floor has a real wood layer NOT a photograpy reproduced in resin and printed on the surface.


This is the most complicated hardwood to buy, as it ranges from absolute junk to very specialized product designed for complex installations over radient heating systems and on concrete slabs


Typical Pricing: $4.50 to $10.00 per square foot


Floating Hardwood Floors:

This is an even newer style; an engineered floor with a real wood surface that is structurally designed to be installed as a floating floor. Mirage Lock Floating floor is one of the few I know of on the market.


Typical Pricing: $4.50 to $7.00 per square foot


Further Information:

Hardwood Flooring

Tips Before you Shop for flooring

Posted on February 16, 2013 at 1:35 PM Comments comments (1)

When you’re looking for carpet contractors in Ottawa, you probably realize right away that you have plenty of options. However, what isn’t exactly obvious is which contractor will be the best one for your installation. Here are several tips to help you sort through the many carpet contractors in the Ottawa Valley area:

First, make sure that the contractor you choose is insured. You just never know what might happen on the day they come to install your carpet. Of course you should certainly take steps to protect any valuables that are normally sitting out on a given day, but you should also not use a contractor who doesn’t carry valid insurance.

Look for a contractor who has a good reputation. These contractors are the ones who take steps to protect the property of their customers and who don’t have a record of scamming home or business owners. It’s a good idea to measure the space you will be carpeting ahead of time so that you know if they are measuring correctly when they tell you how much you need.

Ask plenty of questions about the carpeting you are thinking about buying, as well as the installation process. You should be able to get a good idea of just how much the carpet contractor knows about his job. Of course a knowledgeable and experienced contractor is always preferable to someone who has very little knowledge about his job.

Find out as much as you can about the warranties, both for the carpet itself and the installation. Most manufacturers do offer some kind of warranty on their product, although not all contractors will cover your installation. If a carpet contractor is willing to stand behind his installation and take care of any problems that occur as a result, you know that you can trust him.

Ask the contractor if the same crew installs every type of flooring or if they keep some staff members who specialize in just one or two types. It is not really realistic to expect the same people to know how to install every type of flooring. Of course many flooring contractors will have an idea of how to do it, but there should be a few people on the team whose specialty is carpet. If they don’t acknowledge specialties, then you’ve got to ask yourself why.

Meet with several Flooring contractors to see what kind of sales tactics they use. Some contractors are exceptionally pushy or practice unethical sales methods. By spending just a few minutes with a few different contractors, you will be able to get an idea about who is better to work with.

Also ask for recommendations from people you know who have purchased carpet and had it installed recently. They can tell you if they would recommend the same company to you and possibly even offer other trustworthy options that they didn’t end up going with in the end simply because they didn’t have the carpet they wanted.

More tips 


Police investigating carpet-selling scam

Posted on February 16, 2013 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Police investigating carpet-selling scam

Ottawa police have become aware of an aggressive door-to-door carpet-selling scam, where low-grade carpets are being peddled as high-quality, handmade luxury items. The suspects have been reported to claim they are returning to their home country and are unable to bring the items with them, and have also targeted elderly people for large business loans. The suspects will pressure the people they solicit to pay in cash, and will keep no records of the transaction. Det. Jorge Mendonca of the Ottawa Police Service Fraud Section said the reports came from the Manotick and Kanata areas specifically, but he expects the suspects have moved on. He also said reports suggest the suspects are claiming the carpets are authentic Turkish or Persian rugs, but that they could be saying something different now. Police note that similar warnings have been issued in other cities. Anyone with any information is asked to call Det. Mendonca at 613-236-1222, ext. 5942, or call Crime Stoppers at 613-233-8477 (TIPS).


Ottawa police have become aware of an aggressive door-to-door carpet-selling scam, where low-grade carpets are being peddled as high-quality, handmade luxury items. The suspects have been reported to claim they are returning to their home country and are unable to bring the items with them, and have also targeted elderly people for large business loans. The suspects will pressure the people they solicit to pay in cash, and will keep no records of the transaction. Det. Jorge Mendonca of the Ottawa Police Service Fraud Section said the reports came from the Manotick and Kanata areas specifically, but he expects the suspects have moved on. He also said reports suggest the suspects are claiming the carpets are authentic Turkish or Persian rugs, but that they could be saying something different now. Police note that similar warnings have been issued in other cities. Anyone with any information is asked to call Det. Mendonca at 613-236-1222, ext. 5942, or call Crime Stoppers at 613-233-8477 (TIPS).

shady carpet salesman

Posted on February 16, 2013 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (0)

OTTAWA -- A Nepean man says he was bamboozled by a shady carpet salesman who swindled him out of $8,000 cash and left him holding the bag -- or at least five Persian rugs.


Arnim Gorgas, 71, thought he knew the man who called him Monday, inquiring about a carpet he and his wife Patricia bought from a Merivale Rd. rug company several years earlier.


But it was only after the man drove him to the bank and took off with a fistful of his money that Gorgas figured he had been hoodwinked by a scammer.


After a phone call Monday morning, the carpet salesman showed up a few hours later at Gorgas's door.




The German-speaking scammer told Gorgas he was trying to unload the expensive carpets from his warehouse and needed Gorgas to store the carpets for a few days.


"He told me he needed money to pay for the customs," said Gorgas.


The pair made a deal -- Gorgas would get a free carpet if he stored the rugs for a few days and gave the salesman $8,000 for the purported custom fees.


Gorgas said the scammer put on the pressure to get the funds quickly and got him to drive to a nearby bank.


While sitting in his car, the salesman told Gorgas he needed cash.


"I asked him if I could write him a cheque but he said he wanted cash," said Gorgas, who withdrew $8,000 and drove the salesman back to his house.


Within a few hours, Gorgas became suspicious and called police. A detective with the Ottawa police fraud unit says there have been at least two similar scams to fleece elderly residents during the past two weeks.


The con artists get a foot in the door by feigning some knowledge of the person they're targeting, said Det. Chris Rhone of the organized fraud section.


"They say that they know some relative in Germany," said Rhone of the scheme. "The heavy pressure tactics intimidates the victims.


"It's especially hard when you have a guy right in your face and unrolling rugs in your small apartment," said Rhone, who says some victims might be too embarrassed to report being swindled.


CALL 911


"If someone is showing up at your door and barging their way through, you should tell them to leave immediately or you will call 911," said Rhone.


Rhone says people shouldn't give cash in business arrangements unless they are dealing with a reputable company and elderly people should have a relative present.



Flooring Consumers Buyers Beware

Posted on February 16, 2013 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (1)

Ottawa Has a huge variety of Box stores, retail mom and pop shops and contractors to choose from with regards to flooring products and services and with that overabundance of stores and contractors some questionable practices come to light. We have seen the good the bad and the real ugly in this industry that even us as contractors aren’t immune to their deceptions. Scammers, liars and just plain ignorant sales people are taking advantage of many people, who get caught up in the sale of these professionals, and yes they are professionals, they are professionals at the art of telling you what you want to hear for the soul purpose to make a dollar. Even the good intentional sales person can be a part of taken your money from you for various reasons. An article below are reasons why you need to ask questions and make sure you have a good feeling about the need to trust in your instincts and beware and if you have the slightest bad feeling about the sale...then question


OTTAWA — Ottawa Community Housing was awarded more than $880,000 in damages Wednesday when a judge ruled that a carpet company falsely inflated invoices and provided sub-standard material and installation in its units.


Argos Carpets, its owner and a sales employee conducted “an intentional scheme, covered up under false invoices, and carried out over a significant period,” after receiving a contract in 2004 to install carpeting and underpad for the city-owned social housing provider, Ontario Superior Court Justice Douglas Rutherford ruled.


The ruling ends a lengthy civil case in which OCH sought damages from Argos and its personnel, and the company argued a counterclaim for money that OCH withheld after management found problems with invoices.


Rutherford found “a high degree of blameworthiness” in the actions of the defendants, but also stated that Argos is entitled to about $141,000 that OCH held back.


“There is no doubt in my mind that the false invoice scheme of Argos Carpets amounted to fraud,” the judge wrote.


“The false invoicing was intended to induce, and succeeded in inducing OCHC to pay more for the carpet installations than the contract called for.”


The 29-page decision also suggests that Argos had won its contract with an unreasonably low bid, and that OCH managers didn’t do a thorough job of checking invoices during a period before the problems were uncovered.


In 2004, Argos won a one-year contract to supply and install carpeting and underpad in four districts overseen by OCH, after submitting the lowest of five bids. The contract was renewed in 2005, but a new manager began to go through the books late that year, the decision says.


The manager, David Loveridge, knew that OCH didn’t have floor plans for many of its units (despite that requirement being written into the contract), and that could make it difficult for managers to review and approve invoices. Invoices Loveridge inspected also didn’t contain information about the cost per square yard and how much carpet was installed, the decision states.


Loveridge sent the documents back to be filled out, and the details were included from then on, but he “suspected that invoices were showing more carpet installed than was possible, given the unit dimensions,” according to the decision.


After investigating further, OCH stopped issuing work orders to the company in May 2006 and withheld payment of invoices for carpet and other flooring work within and outside the scope of that contract.


Robert Grimes, the main sales contact for Argos, provided evidence that company owner Peter Foustanellas wouldn’t allow a job to go out unless it resulted in at least a 25-per-cent gross profit, the decision states, and “the invoices actually sent to OCHC charged for inflated carpet volumes, achieving profit margins between 25 per cent and 40 per cent as opposed to the modest 10 per cent to 15 per cent the contract pricing would achieve if followed.”


Foustanellas was named as a defendant in the case, along with Grimes, who died during the trial.


Grimes “was fully aware of the fraudulent manner in which OCHC was being induced to pay,” Rutherford stated, while Foustanellas “was aware of and acquiescent in the falsely inflated invoicing scheme resulting in the overcharging of OCHC.”


“While I am sure Mr. Foustanellas would argue that it was the only way to make any profitable sense of a contract price that was simply too low, he has to know that it was his unreasonably low bid that allowed Argos Carpets to secure the contract over the more realistic bids of his competitors,” the decision states.


A carpeting consultant retained by OCH also found various problems with how carpets were installed and their quality in relation to contract specifications, the decision states.


Foustanellas, a philanthropist who has donated millions of dollars to area hospitals, hadn’t spoken to his lawyer or seen the ruling when reached by the Citizen on Wednesday but said he planned to appeal.


Until Loveridge started to inspect the invoices, it seems managers at all levels approved ones that lacked important details, the ruling suggests, while there was no evidence that staff “verified substantial performance under the contract.


“As long as there appeared to be new carpeting in a unit, neither the quantity nor the quality of the materials or of the installation was ever questioned,” it states.


And before management looked into the matter “and shook the dust out of it, the manner in which the carpeting contracting was entered into and then managed gives the strong impression of poor and careless administration, rather than of intrinsic vulnerability,” Rutherford stated.


Councillor Steve Desroches, who chairs the OCH board of directors, said “each and every year since that we are strengthening our procurement practices.”


The overall decision is “a victory for the taxpayer,” said Desroches, who wasn’t on the board during the time in question.


“I think it sends a very strong signal that we’re going to take action if the taxpayer’s being ripped off.”


OCH overpaid Argos $633,844 that it should receive in compensatory damages for a breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation, Rutherford decided. He also awarded $250,000 in punitive damages.


“It should be borne in mind that not only did Argos Carpets specifically harm OCHC, its unreasonably low bids kept its competitors from trading with OCHC and injured competition in the marketplace as well,” the judge wrote.">


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