Ask your Hardwood Flooring Supplier Questions

Before purchasing learn more hardwood flooring from a supplier, be sure to ask questions.

1. Who do I call in case of problems?
Most flooring retailers will purchase their flooring from a distributor. This means that they can sell the flooring to you directly from the manufacturer. Sometimes, especially when the product is imported from overseas it may be that there are multiple distributors. If there is an issue with your flooring, the retailer will usually call the distributor to inform them of the problem. Most cases will be denied by the manufacturer. If they’re lucky, they’ll even send a representative out to address your concerns in person. Many retailers will fix a manufacturing defect to make their customers happy. But they don’t have the final say, unless the customer wants to replace their flooring. The manufacturer is so removed from the actual client they know it is better to deny the claims. This is because they assume that they will never be required to resolve the issue as they are protected by their warranties. Imagine a person sitting at the desk with a stack hardwood flooring claims. A big stamp with the words “denied” is placed on it.

2. How durable can the finish be?
Prefinished hardwood floors need to be durable. You are walking on the floor and the finish must be durable. Some imported prefinished floors are very fragile and can be removed easily with 150grit sandpaper. You have two options to test hardwood floors: one, use 150grit sandpaper to rub off the finish; and two, press down on the finish with a coin. A quality finish will not dent. Aluminum oxide or titanium oxide tougheners will be used by high-quality manufacturers. Many manufactured offshore products will claim that they contain aluminum dioxide, but in fact, they do not. To determine if a hardwood floor contains aluminum oxide, heat the sample in a microwave. The finish will then spark. This might seem strange, but hardwood flooring represents a significant investment.

3. What is the structural and/or surface warranty?
This is an important consideration when choosing a hardwood flooring. Anybody can provide a finish warranty for their product of 25, 30 or 40 years, but the real issue is whether they will honor that warranty. The warranties for hardwood flooring can be as long as ten pages. It gives the client the impression there is no warranty if they read the entire warranty, including all exclusions. Many consumers are not willing to take the time required to understand the warranty. When they do, they are often shocked to discover that the issue with their flooring is one of the “exclusions”. Most warranties will indicate that there is an industry standard that allows for 5% deviation from the norm. This means that once the floor is complete, the manufacturer has the right to allow for 5% defect. A finished floor that measures 1000 square feet will allow approximately 100 boards with any defect.

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