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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Robert Peploski and his wife built their retirement home in 2006. They wanted one big upgrade from their builder, hardwood floors throughout most of the house. He loved what he saw when they moved in.
"I said wow," said Peploski. "Hardwood floors have really come a long way."
A few months later though problems began popping up. The glue used to secure the floor to the concrete slab didn't adhere properly in some places.
"This area was replaced," said Peploski pointing near the kitchen. "They took this area out," he said pointing in another direction.
During those repairs he noticed something else.
"I found out it wasn't hardwood floors." said Peploski.
It turns out it wasn't solid hardwood flooring. He instead got engineered hardwood.
"It's based on the fact that you've got several different layers of wood here that are glued together," said Paul King a certified home inspector.
King said to buy and install the product Pepolski received should have cost around $4 per square foot. Peploski paid three times that price, $8596 for 700 square feet.
"He paid way too much," said King. "Paid way too much."
Peploski said when signed the contract for his house with homebuilder DR Horton no one said anything about engineered hardwood.
"No, had they said engineered flooring is all they would put in I would have never agreed to it," said Peploski.
A WBTV producer visited a DR Horton model home and asked questions typical of a potential home buyer. He asked repeatedly about the hardwood flooring. Not once did the salesperson say anything about engineered versus hardwood flooring. The salesperson only said it was pre-finished. Pre-finished can come in both solid and hardwood floors.
"Anybody should be straightforward and up front and tell you what you are getting," said King.
WBTV left several messages, on the phone and in person trying to get official comment from DR Horton about its pricing and how it represents its wood flooring. No one has gotten back to us.
"Trying to get this resolved with the company is like banging your head against the wall," said Peploski.
DR Horton has told Peploski in writing that is willing to make repairs to the problem spots. Peploski would just like it removed and he wants his money back.
It's unlikely to happen because technically engineered hardwood is considered a hardwood. The kind Peploski received however is very thin and unlike a solid hardwood will be very difficult to sand and repair later.
King says it's important to see samples before installation to know exactly what you are getting. He also suggests you get outside quotes on pricing. He says upgrades are where builders make some of their biggest profit margins.
Click the red camera on the right to watch a WBTV web extra. Paul King explains some of the differences in wood flooring.