Manufacturer warranties for flooring are often incredibly complicated: a tangle of exacting requirements to follow to the letter, or else your warranty is void.
To help minimize the risk of invalidating your warranty, and incurring the substantial costs of flooring failure, we've identified four of the most common stipulations that can catch out customers during the lifetime of their flooring.
1) Site Conditions
Some of the most stringent manufacturer warranties set out installation guidelines that are, at best, unrealistic, and at worst, impossible to adhere to.
For example, some of the strictest manufacturer warranty requirements specify that flooring is installed in a dust-free environment. While this may sound simple enough, maintaining a dust-free environment long enough to install new flooring will be impossible on an active construction site. Others still require that the entire construction site is completely closed-in, with all windows and doors fully in place before installing the flooring. Though it's at least possible to follow this requirement, it's guaranteed to introduce major delays to any project timeline.
Instead, you should look for warranties that take a more realistic approach: It's impossible to run a dust-free construction site, but it's entirely manageable to sweep the floor so that it's clear of dust and debris before installation.
2) Incompatible Materials
With so many materials involved at every stage of the flooring manufacture and installation processes, it's not uncommon to find products that are incompatible with one another. Add moisture mitigation issues into the mix and the problem is amplified.
For example, we recently spoke with an architect for a new construction project who chose a specific concrete admixture designed to eliminate moisture problems. Unfortunately, buried deep in the terms and conditions was a stipulation that this particular admixture was incompatible with most types of flooring adhesive. To counteract this, she then needed to specify a two-part epoxy to address the moisture risk in another way - at an additional cost of $10 per square yard.
3) Installation Errors
One of the most common installation mistakes concerns moisture testing: the two most common moisture tests have very specific requirements, and can be difficult to interpret correctly. Unfortunately, the slightest mistake during testing can massively skew your moisture readings, leading to the installation of flooring that's unsuited to the actual moisture levels on site. Needless to say, this will result in a voided warranty.
Complex warranty programs are often meticulously detailed, with exacting requirements that need to be followed to the letter. This means it's essential that your installation team read the warranty requirements very carefully, and follow them step-by-step.
It will also be beneficial for you to familiarize yourself with the installation requirements, to ensure that you tick all the boxes needed to comply with the manufacturer's warranty.
4) Time-Limited Warranty
The best warranties are ones that cover you for the lifetime of your flooring. Unfortunately, it's not an industry standard. Many people end up with flooring that is covered by manufacturer's warranty - but only for a limited time. Two, five or ten years down the line, you're no longer covered - through no fault of your own.
When selecting new flooring, consider how long you'll want it to last: does your organization have a budget for a flooring refit every five years, or will it need to last upwards of ten years? With that in mind, you can compare different manufacturer's warranty schemes and select one that best fits your organization's flooring needs. Alternatively, to keep things simple, you can opt for flooring that comes with a comprehensive warranty program that covers your flooring for its whole lifetime - regardless of how long it's installed.
Are You Covered by Your Flooring Warranty?
When selecting new flooring, it's essential to ask your dealer or sales representative about the manufacturer's warranty program. Purchasing flooring that comes with a comprehensive program of lifetime warranties is one of the simplest, most effective things you can do to minimize risk associated with your flooring project.