Shortly after you start researching on your wood floor projects, you should realize how many years of finish and structural warranty is attached to each product. It is common to find a floor that boasts 25, 50, or even 100 year warranties. The goal of today’s article is to help you understand what you really get from your wood floor warranty.
When you reading the warranty information, it is important to understand what it means. Most warranties have two main parts: the structural warranty and the finish warranty. The structural warranty protects the end user from their floors warping, cupping, or buckling. In the case of an engineered hardwood, delamination is also covered. This typically comes with the clause “if properly installed and maintained”.
If the mill is deemed responsible for structural issues such as delamination, they will be responsible for the supply of a new flooring of equal value. However, always remember there are many associated costs which goes into a troubled flooring than simply the material alone. The cost of the labor to remove the troubled floor and reinstall the new floor may not be covered depending on the content of warranty and may vary by brand and circumstances.
The finish warranty usually guarantees the finish won’t wear through to bare wood or separate from the wood over the designated warranty period.
A longer term finish warranty might confer that a product has a better quality finish but the length of wood flooring finish warranties is often misleading. Many warranties are so restrictive to the point where they protect the manufacture more than the end user. Accelerated wear and tear is often caused by poor maintenance and warranties stipulate that there is no coverage if the floor isn't maintained properly. Indentations from high heels, pet claws, fridge casters, furniture legs, damage during installation, hazy buildup from improper cleaning products, and mold caused by steam mops are all great examples of maintenance issues not covered by your flooring manufacture.
What does this mean?
Bottom line is that you don't want to buy a product solely based on the length of the warranty but following your manufacture warranty closely will ensure your investments are protected. It is a rare situation with most experienced hardwood flooring manufactures; however, the warranty does come into play if installation and maintenance is performed correctly and the finish on the wood starts to separate from the hardwood.
From a marketing standpoint, prefinished (factory finish) wood flooring warranties are often over-sold and hurt the perception of the hardwood flooring industry. After hearing outrageous claims about what product warranties will do for them, consumers have come to expect the same kind of service in hardwood flooring that they get on small retail purchases: immediate credit back, no questions asked. In fact, the average manufacture claim takes 1 year, allowing the flooring to experience seasonal changes, before the cause can be determined. In some cases there may be misleading or exaggerated statements that create the impression that the hardwood flooring is bullet proof. This only guarantees a perception of product failure and disappointment in the flooring industry.
In order to purchase the right product with the right warranty, you should always spend some time to learn about the different properties of wood floors. After all, you're the one who is going to live with it. The best way to learn about hardwood flooring is through your specialty dealers who understands and interprets the true meaning of these limited warranties. A well-educated and trained wood floor sales professional should comfortably explain the “limitations” of a limited warranty to set your mind on the right floors for your specific needs.