After saving for a few years to replace the carpet in my foyer and hallway with engineered wood, I decided to go with Empire and scheduled an appt. in late December 2011. I thought that I was hiring a company with an excellent reputation and that I would be purchasing a high quality floor which would look great and be a good investment. I was given a high-pressure sales pitch by their rep, who told me that to lock in a low rate, I would need to have the floor installed before the end of the year. I agreed to the install after choosing what looked like a good quality floor (and also looked similar to floors I had been pricing at Home Depot and Lowe's - although it was a small piece mounted to a board). The install was scheduled for late December, and when the installers came to my home (several men, not 2 or so like I had expected!) , they showed me 2 boards and asked if this was the product I had asked for. It didn't - it looked like unfinished plywood with a very busy, loud grain pattern. They then took out a few more boards which looked more like what I had requested, saying that the prior two boards were just 'bad' and weren't what my floor would actually look like when installed and that it would look 'great' when it was done. I trusted them, and let them go ahead with the install while I dealt with my dogs and grumpy 11 year old (who was less than thrilled with waiting around all day). There were so many installers, that it was very chaotic and I just tried to get out of the way and let them do their job. They left saw dust piles, cigarette butts on my balcony, and bits of baseboard for me to clean up. We left for vacation 2 days later.
When we returned, I had a chance to better inspect the floor, and was very disappointed in the 'cheap' (for lack of a better word) appearance of the floor. Additionally, the installers had cracked the molding around my closet doors. There appeared to be uneven spacing of the boards, with spaces so big between some that I could put my fingernail into them. Also, the baseboard they had installed (which was supposed to be white) was a strange bluish-white, which didn't match my molding at all (I have now found out that this is not paintable material!).
I found a product info sheet in the partial box of flooring the installers had left behind, and did some research . I found, to my disgust, that this particular floor is the cheapest, lowest-end product made by the manufacturer. I took a piece of the floor to Home Depot to compare with other engineered wood products, and it became glaringly apparent that the Empire floor was of MUCH poorer quality (and just uglier in general) than floors that would have cost me just as much to install if I had chosen Home Depot. The sales people laughed when they saw my sample, saying that they don't carry anything that cheap due to quality issues.
I am disgusted with the floor that I am now stuck with, and have even gotten estimates on what it would cost to tear the *** out (difficult and pricey, now, because they glued the stuff down).
I am sickened by this whole experience. I saved for years for this.
Product or Service Mentioned: Empire Today Flooring.