When you are purchasing hardwood flooring, you’re spending the money for quality and beauty. There’s not much that comes close to the look and feel of a hardwood floor. Having a warranty on your floors could be added peace of mind, but you have to carefully read the instructions. A hardwood flooring warranty can be tricky in terms of what is covered and what is not.
It is important to inspect boxes of hardwood before you being to install. If you find defective planks, do not install and contact your supplier immediately to begin a claim.
Depending on manufacturer and grade of hardwood flooring, the warranty will vary. Warranties will also vary between finished and unfinished products. Unfinished products have more liability, as they are finished and stained on sight. Most hardwoods have a warranty range from 10 -30 years. Hardwoods may also have a structural and finish based warranty.
- 20-30 year
The warranty lasts for the nominal period of time and is valid for the original end-consumer and is not transferable. Time is not the only consideration to make when it comes to warranties. Your flooring must also have been installed correctly. Following all of the manufacturer’s instructions during installation will keep your warranty in tact.
This is the most common type of warranty. A structural warranty guarantees that the milling, grade and moisture content of the wood is manufactured within the industry standards. These planks should be stable, sound and will not warp or crack when properly installed. These warranties have detailed instructions when it comes to preparation, tools and installation of your floors. Failure to follow all of the instructions could void the warranty.
A finish warranty is for pre-finished, factory hardwoods. This warranty specifies that the finish will not wear off under standard use. There will be a residential and commercial grade warranty for the specific usage. Finishing warranties do not cover man-made issues, such as scratches or dents from heels, furniture or pets. Beware when reading this warranty, as it may imply more coverage than it act
It’s important to keep documentation from your installation to help support your case if you file a damage claim. If you used a professional contractor, be sure to save your contract, receipts and a list of all materials used. Photographs before, during and after construction can also help support a claim.
Once flooring is installed, it is deemed acceptable. If you have issues with more than 5% of the planks, do not install the flooring and contact your distributor. This is where photos will be important.
If you have issues with your flooring after installation, a manufacturer may ask for items related to installation, such as subfloor moisture ratings.
Sometimes it’s easier to look at what is not included rather than what is. Hardwood flooring warranties come with several exclusions, or areas that the warranty does not cover. These include:
- Natural Wood Characteristics: With any natural product, variations within color and graining will be apparent in hardwoods. Natural visual characteristics are not considered defective if within the scope of hardwood grade.
- Natural Expansion – Natural hardwood planks will contract and expand with temperature changes and humidity. Separation and spacing may occur between planks and will not be considered damage. Flooring that is damaged due to excess humidity or temperature change will not warrant a claim.
- Moisture Related Damage – Changes due to water damage are not covered.
- Sunlight Exposure – Hardwood species will change color when exposed to UV Light. This is not considered damage.
- Structural Support – Creaking or squeaking noises are not considered manufacturing defects, but more of an installation error.
- Improper Installation – Any floors installed improperly, such as below grade or exposed to outside elements will not be covered.
- In-Home Repair – At temping to fix your hardwood at home and damage ensues will not be covered and will void the warranty.
- Failure to follow installation instructions
- Failure to maintain and properly care for the hardwood flooring.
If you feel that you have a valid reason to use your warranty, you must file a claim with your supplier. When filing, have all of your paperwork ready, including paperwork for any tools, adhesives, installation or accessories used to install your flooring. Take pictures and notes about the damage, and then file your claim as soon as possible.