This is an inferior floor that will get damage with regular cleaning and then Empire will blame the consumer. Not to mention the damage done when liquid is spilled, even when cleaned up right away. If the liquid gets between the joints the floor will get damaged. Don't believe the claim that the floor is scratch resistant either. If you are looking at this type of flooring, please read my story below:
We had Empire install American Dream, Cherry Double Plank by QuickStep on 7/31/08. Our salesman, Jim, said he also had the same floor (but different color) and even though he had dogs and kids that the floor looked the same as it did the day it was installed. I had ruined the existing laminate flooring in the house by using the steam cleaner on it. It never warped but dulled the finish. The previous owners had 3 dogs and the floors didn't show any scratching. We replaced the flooring in the sunroom, kitchen, dining room, laundry room and half bath. Jim said the American Dream is scratch resistant but this floor is not scratch resistant and not water resistant as he also claimed. Each location shows scratching and warping. We originally called this company out because I wanted wood flooring to replace the already existing laminate flooring. Jim said the American Dream brand was soaked in water for at least 5 days and showed no signs of warping or any other damage. Liquid gets in between crevices and product warps right after any liquid is cleaned up right away! He also stated he has this brand in his own home and has big dogs, claiming the floor stands up to dog nails. Not only does it not stand up to dog nails, but it can't even stand up to dust under such things as laundry baskets and garbage cans.
In February the local Empire branch had their inspector come out and the result was a report of "normal wear and tear." A man named Virgil called and we were told that we could have a discount to replace the laundry room floor, which at the time had the worst scratching from laundry baskets. We did not take the offer. Since then the floor in the laundry room has also warped due to moisture from the dryer. The flooring doesn't even stand up to moisture from household humidity. We decided to initially do nothing and accept that we had bought a substandard product.
However, by August 2009 we had changed our mind about doing nothing. More scratching and more swelling had occurred and we have never seen such "wear and tear" on a flooring product. Calling the company didn't produce anything. On two seperate occasions they said they would send an independent inspector out but no one ever came out.
We filed a BBB complaint and came to no resolution. Through this process we did get an independent inspector to come out on December 3rd and we had over 40 spots on the floor marked where the swelling has occurred. We question the independent title since Empire contacted them and they even submitted the report through Empire. The inspector came to the conclusion that the "joint swelling results from topical moisture penetration of the joint causing the core to swell." According to a letter we received two days ago from Empire the local cause is due to "over wetting during cleaning" and they consider our complaint closed.
According to another consumer complaint Empire came back out and installed a floor that would "resist topical moisture". According to that consumer it was not QuickStep. They also sealed the "underneath flooring so there would be no more damage to the joints from moisture."
Not only are they not acknowledging a similar complaint, they are blaming us for the damage to their inferior floor that cannot even withstand cleaning, much less normal household use by a family of four!!! We were told by the salesman how to clean the laminate and not to use the steamer. He told us he cleans his American Dream floor with a mixture of water and vinegar and a flat cloth mop. Now I am being told that the swelling is caused by how I clean this floor. Again, the salesman also told us that the American Dream was soaked in water for 5 days and there was no damage to the flooring. I find damage occurs to this floor when my child spills milk at dinner and it is cleaned up immediately. This company has lied to us and now is blaming us for damage to this floor. Their independent inspector has shown that this floor cannot even withstand cleaning. This is unacceptable. I will be filing a dispute report with GE Money on the balance of this laminate floor.
The next step with BBB is arbitration. My husband and I are afraid that the arbitrator will also be in Empire's back pocket. But this will have to be a risk we need to take.
Product or Service Mentioned: Empire Today Flooring.
Monetary Loss: $8100.