Couple says botched floor installation forced child to spend final days in hospice instead of at home

Posted at 4:51 PM, Jul 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-14 16:52:41-04

BRIGHTON, Colo. — A Brighton couple says a botched floor installation forced their 14-year-old daughter to spend her final days in hospice instead of at home.

A year after the 14-year-old’s death, they still haven’t reached any resolution with the companies responsible for the floor.

Kelly Kniss said it’s a struggle every time she discovers another blemish in her floor.

“It’s just a reminder of how awful it was a year ago.  It’s just a trigger,” she said.

She and her husband, Kevin, had invested in new floors at their new Brighton home, just over a year ago, to better accommodate their daughter’s needs last summer.

Their daughter, 14-year-old Sierra, was born with VACTERL, a disorder that affects different organ systems.

They moved to Brighton to be closer to Children’s Hospital Colorado, and a new floor was their top priority.

“That meant needing to have a solid floor that went throughout all the rooms of the house, so that the wheelchair could easily get around the house,” Kniss said.

They purchased the material through Floor and Decor, which referred them to “Installation Made Easy,” who told the family they could finish the job in three days.

“Installation Made Easy subcontracted to a subcontractor, that subcontracted to another subcontractor, and they all started to fight amongst each other," Kniss said.

Those two subcontractors were RMM Subcontracting and 2nd Chance Flooring.

Kniss recalled at one point during the installation, one of the crew members was searching on YouTube “how to install flooring.”

“Maybe it’s naive, but when people tell us this is what they’re going to do and they make a promise, we assume they’re going to follow through on it," she said. "And they promised us they’d get it done in three days. It would have been understandable if it were five days. I think we could have lived with that.”

Sierra was terminally ill, and things had taken a turn for the worst.

She wanted to spend her final days at home, but the floor wasn’t finished after three days.

They still tried to get her home, anyway.

“They had covered all of the heater/air conditioner vents, and it was July, and she couldn’t be here in the heat," she said. "So she spent one night here.”

Sierra died at Denver Hospice a couple days later.

“She had two regrets,” Kniss said. “One was that she didn’t go to Japan, and the other was that she didn’t get to leave any memories in this house.”

The family halted the remainder of the installation after Sierra’s death, telling KDVR it was so poorly installed it would need to be entirely replaced.

They say one of the subcontractors was fired, and the other continued to harass them about finishing the job — including the day of their daughter’s funeral.

“We had asked to be left alone on the day of the funeral," Kniss said. "We got phone calls 60 seconds before the funeral started.  We got phone calls between the funeral and the burial, we got phone calls at the burial, we got phone calls after we got home.”

They chose not to pay the final estimated $1,800 to finish the flooring—after discovering the installation was done so poorly, they’d need to entirely replace the floor.

Kniss said the product they purchased was damaged, and in some areas, destroyed, during installation.

“Over the last year, the pieces have pulled apart or broken. There’s no way to make it right, or even salvage enough material to add more material into it to redo the floor,” she said.

But the family said they can’t afford to replace the floor.

“We didn’t have extra money after going through burial costs, and bills, and moving," Kniss said.

They reached out to both Installation Made Easy and Floor and Decor to help recoup the costs.

“I tried to negotiate some way we could come to an agreement getting the floor fixed," she said.

But Kniss said both companies refused.

“Each time it came down to, ‘We’re not going to do anything.  We don’t have to,'" she said. "And I get that maybe, legally, they don’t have to, but I don’t see how you can destroy $5,000 worth of something and not be responsible for it.”

KDVR also reached out to both companies, seeking comment, but our emails went unanswered.

Kniss admitted she and her husband were in a hurry to get the floor installed and didn’t do their homework first.

“Time was of the essence,” she said.

The couple chose to reach out to KDVR in hopes of preventing others from going through what they did.

“I wish there were people that had let us know—that if we had done any research, we would have known," Kniss said. "I was just incredibly naive.”

Kniss said Installation Made Easy didn’t give them the option to choose the subcontractor.  She said in hindsight, they should have asked who it would be and researched them, before allowing them to step foot into her home.

“It wasn’t a fly by night company.  They have multiple stores.  We should be able to trust them,” she said.