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Understanding Flooring Manufacturer Documents

Understanding and being aware of simple statements in product warranties, installation documents, and care instructions can be just what you need to ensure your expectations are met for product performance.  These documents go hand-in-hand and each is just as important as the other.  Take a look at these common, but important statements found in most manufacturer documents.

Use of Adhesive

Installation instructions are very specific about the use of adhesive.  When adhesive is used, the recommended type of adhesive and amount of adhesive is required in order for the warranty to be valid.  Some products only require adhesive when a certain square footage amount is exceeded, or when multiple seams are needed.  For example, Beauflor BlackTex luxury vinyl can be “loose laid” up to 500 square feet, but beyond that amount adhesive is needed to ensure dimensional stability.  Many vinyl plank and tile products, or waterproof products can be installed without the use of adhesive, due to locking system technology.

Subfloor Conditions

The condition of your subfloor can be critical to the performance of your floor and upholding the warranty.  Conditions that must be addressed are moisture (or humidity), debris, stability, and levelling.  There are recommended products that can be used to improve the surface of your subfloor, but many solvents and adhesive removers can react with chemicals on the backing of your flooring and void your warranty.  Some issues with existing flooring or imperfections in subfloors can be alleviated with proper preparation, the use of underlayments, or by selecting a floor product that is constructed specifically to eliminate the telegraphing of imperfections.

Acclimation

Most warranties and installation documents address the need for acclimation.  It is important that your flooring product is brought to the same temperature of the environment where it is installed, before it is installed.  There are products that require minimal acclimation time, due to their construction, enabling a quick installation, and others, such as hardwood, will require at least 48 hours.

Waterproof Capability

Expect your flooring product to be 100% waterproof, only if it is stated as such in the warranty.  Many products are water resistant to topical spills, and can be easily dried without any damage.  However, waterproof products are constructed with a core and surfaces specifically designed to maintain their integrity when exposed to water.  Also, remember that flooring alone is not a moisture barrier.  Underlayment products are available to prohibit mold growth or moisture from underneath the flooring.

Care and Maintenance

Instructions from manufacturers on cleaning and maintaining your floors make more statements about what not to do than what you should be doing.  That’s because there are products on the market, heavily advertised, that can absolutely ruin the finish of your beautiful new flooring.  Cleaning products recommended include Bona products for hardwood and any PH neutral products for all other types of flooring.  Some flooring manufacturers offer their own branded cleaning products, so you can’t go wrong using those.  Using non-recommended cleaners, or using water on hardwood will void your warranty, react negatively with factory-applied finishes and dull your floors.  Proper walk-off mats, pads for area rugs, and furniture leg protectors are also a must, even with today’s incredibly durable finishes.  If you are making a claim for scratches or wear, be prepared to prove that you have been following care instructions properly, and faithfully.

Installation Constitutes Acceptance

This common phrase can be found throughout warranty documents.  Simply put, it is the responsibility of both the homeowner and the dealer to inspect product out of the packaging before installation.  Design, color, and even structure imperfections should be noticed and reported immediately so that proper inspections and correction processes can be expedited for replacement material before installation.

You will find important document copies at the collection level for every product represented at Twenty & Oak.  Looking over these documents and reviewing them with your flooring dealer will result in a better understanding of product performance expectations.

Photo Credits: (top left) iStock; (middle) Bona®; (bottom left) iStock
Twenty & Oak Experts

Twenty & Oak Experts are a team of flooring professionals with over 150 years of combined experience in the industry. They have hands-on experience with all flooring types and bring inside industry know-how to homeowners in the Southeast.

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