Shortly after you start researching wood flooring, you will discover a myriad of different wood flooring warranty lengths. It is common to find floors that boasts 25, 50, or even 100-year warranties. When reading the warranty information, it is important to understand what it means. The typical wood flooring warranty will 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 costs associated with troubled flooring, more than simply the material alone. The cost of the labour 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 manufacturer 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 manufacturer.
What does this mean?
Bottom line is that you don’t want to buy a product solely based on the length of the wood flooring warranty but following your manufacturer warranty closely will ensure your investments are protected. Most often, issues with wood flooring can be traced back to improper installation, incorrect acclimatization, or problems within the household environment, ie. relative humidity and/or temperature. Defects as a result of these issues are not covered by manufacturer’s warranty. However, the warranty does come into play if installation and maintenance is performed correctly and there are subsequent issues with the hardwood.
In order to purchase the right product with the right warranty, you should always spend some time learning about the different properties of wood floors. After all, you’re the one who is going to live with it. A well-informed wood floor sales professional should comfortably explain the “limitations” of a wood flooring warranty to set your mind on the right floors for your specific needs.