An Experience with Central Hardwood Flooring and Virgil Bulai out of Skokie, IL

Working with Central Hardwood Flooring out of Skokie, IL and owner Virgil Bulai was a nightmare.  When we decided to get new flooring, we called around to get estimates from various companies. Virgil Bulai at Central Hardwood Flooring was the most responsive and offered competitive pricing so we set a date and the project began in August 2015.

The work, which included tearing out the existing flooring, was to take 5-6 days and began on Monday, August 3.  The crew ended up working through Saturday so we returned to our house on Saturday night to pay Virgil the remainder of our balance.  We were unable to walk on the floor at this time because it was still drying and were only able to see part of the job from the garage entry door.  When we returned home on Sunday we found the following defects

-The flooring edges along most walls had large circular discolorations.  We later found out that the crew had scratched the floor during the sanding process, but they didn’t notice that until it had been stained.  When they noticed the scratches, they tried to re-sand just those areas in order to restain them. This led to big discoloration.

-Instead of removing the refrigerator when applying the stain, they left it mostly in place.  When we pushed it back into place we could see bare wood underneath.

Bare Wood Visible Under Refrigerator by Central Hardwood Flooring
Bare Wood Visible Under Refrigerator

-They left the vents, including the louvers, in the flooring during the staining and clear coat processes. Because of this, the vents and louvers were essentially glued in place. The vents had to be cut out of the floor, which took the finish off of both the vents and the floor..

-In general, the finish was poorly applied. There were uneven,blotchy stains throughout the house.

Uneven Stain by Central Hardwood Flooring
Uneven Stain Along the Wall

-Somehow, our bedroom ceiling fan was broken. We actually never even brought this to their attention, wanting to concentrate on the flooring issues.  However, it was strange that no one ever mentioned it.

Ceiling fan broken by Central Hardwood Flooring
Broken Ceiling Fan

We called Virgil and asked him to come back to take a look at all of the problems. He agreed to come back on the following Thursday but did not show up.  He finally came back on Friday and apologized for all of the flaws.  He said was embarrassed and blamed one of the crew members, saying he would fire that person, bring in new crew to completely refinish the floor, and would “do it right” this time. We wanted to give him the benefit of a doubt so we agreed.

Virgil brought out another crew to work that weekend. Unfortunately, many of the mistakes made the first time were made again, in addition to a bevy of new mistakes.

-Though we offered to move the refrigerator this time, Virgil said his Central Hardwood Flooring crew would take care of it. They didn’t and the floor ended up looking much like it did the first time.

Blotchy Stain by Central Hardwood Flooring
Blotchy Stain

-The vents, once again, ended up glued to the floor. The louvers, once again, were glued to the vent.  And the vents, once again, had to be cut from the floor, removing the finish. We will have to refinish them ourselves.

Vents finished in place with globs of stain and clear coat. Clear coat has been pulled up on the floor in the lower left corner. By Central Hardwood Flooring
Vents finished in place with globs of stain and clear coat. Clear coat has been pulled up on the floor in the lower left corner

-There are large scratches in the wood throughout every single room due to a bad re-sanding job.  

Random Scratch Patterns in Wood. Created by Central Hardwood Flooring
Random Scratch Patterns in Wood
Shoe Print in the Middle of the Hallway. Left by Central Hardwood Flooring
Shoe Print in the Middle of the Hallway

-There are shiny streaks of stain in at least three of the rooms.  These are difficult to capture in photos, but they are about 4 inches wide and run the length of the living room into the kitchen (about 25 feet).

-The floor is cupping, despite vigilant air conditioning use and a dry basement.  We run a 70 pint dehumidifier that keeps the basement at 40% humidity at all times.  We asked another flooring installer about the cupping and he said that the moisture content of the floor wasn’t correct upon installation.

We tried calling Virgil Bulai every day for weeks after the flooring was completed.  He has never answered his phone or returned our voicemails.  We were more than patient and accommodating throughout the ordeal, despite the burden of living elsewhere for an additional 2 weeks.  While Virgil Bulai seems like a very nice man, he doesn’t stand behind his work and refuses to acknowledge that he and his team at Central Hardwood Flooring did a terrible job not once, but twice.  He was, however, willing to take our money.