- What are Warranties
- How Flooring Warranties Work
- What Other Warranties Are There?
- Types of Warranties
- Common Adjustments
- Things Typically Not Covered
- What Makes a Good Warranty
Warranties are these invisible forces that can either save you and your wallet from serious heartache or they can be the number one source of stress in your life.
The trick is to read the fine print and get familiar with your product’s warranties beforehand so that you know exactly how you’re being covered.
When you are buying floors, there is one type of warranty that is the most common: manufacturer warranties.
These cover any sort of defects that happened while the product was being made or even transported from the factory to your door.
The other type of warranty that you’ll run into is the installation warranty.
Not every retailer insures their installation team with installation warranties, but if they do, it covers any adjustments that might be needed to the product after it was installed.
If you need to take advantage of the manufacturer’s warranty, you would contact the company who makes the product. They would verify that the defect is their fault and send you a replacement.
“Well, why are they sending me the replacement? I can’t install the 150 square feet of hardwood their gonna have to send me!”
They often communicate with those who did the installation job. For example, Stainmaster carpets have a lifetime warranty. If there is a problem where the customer must use the warranty, they will send out the replacement and pay for the labor to reinstall the material. However, not every manufacturer pays for the labor of install and many warranties pro-rate the material or the labor depending on how long they have been installed.
Installation warranties cover what was included in the install job. If the product needs an adjustment after being broken in, settling, the passing of time, or in an unusual circumstance if it was installed improperly, say, if the install crew may have missed something or damaged something in the process, you would typically be covered under the installation warranty. However, as I stated previously, installation warranties differ from retailer to retailer. Always make sure you ask!
This is where I want to stress that everyone’s installation is going to be different. There are different installers, different materials and totally different circumstances for each one. There could be something that happens that isn’t covered under warranty, but because of the situation either the retailer or manufacturer (whichever it falls under) will understand and make sure you’re covered.
On the flip side, the same sort of unique situation could arise and both parties are unable to cover you because what happened falls outside the jurisdiction of both warranties.
To avoid this, you could ask if there are any separately extended warranties you could purchase for the extra insurance on your materials.
Not many manufacturers have extended warranties, but it is certainly worth asking if you feel as though you want that extra support and it fits your budget.
Full Coverage Warranties - It is just like it sounds, if there is an issue, it covers repairing or replacing the damaged portion of the product, and the labor.
Partial Coverage - may cover the damaged material in the immediate area only, may not cover the labor.
Pro-Rate Coverage - means if it happens in the first year to X years it is covered in full, after 2 years its coverage at 80%, after 5 years 50%, etc...
Lifetime, 25 year, 50 year or longer Warranties - Be very careful with these, they often combine Pro-Rated coverage with lots of language disguising the fact6 they really don’t cover much. Always read the actual warranty!
Transferable - If the original purchaser is no longer alive or living in the home, does the warranty automatically transfer or can it be transferred on request (if you are selling your home, etc)?
Extended Warranties - Some dealers and suppliers may offer an extended warranty for a premium (for example, Scotchguard). Often these are actually insurance policies, that will pay some or all of the costs if damage occurs, but you pay a premium and must register the purchase to qualify.
Re-stretching Carpets - Carpet often loosens and expands over time which may require a re-stretch. This can be from normal wear, high humidity and can also come from high use, moving furniture, wheelchairs, handicap access, and occasionally from something called delimination (which is a manufacturing defect, and very unusual today).
Normal wear is covered for a limited window of time, usually 1 year. Bald spots or missing tufts are normally from pets, bad vacuums or kids and usually are not covered.
LVP, Laminate, or Ceramic Tile, or Stone - Caulk needing to be replaced where the tile meets wood or metal (caulk shrinks over time), grout needs to be replaced, trims reinstalled or resecured and or broken tiles.
Hardwood - Trims resecured and/or the replacement of split or broken boards.
Cabinets - Hinges adjusted (not usually covered under warranty), caulk replaced on granite countertops, toe kicks reinstalled or resecured.
Carpeting - Stains that are not from food or beverages (such as oil, grease, tar, and the “3 P’s” - poop, pee, and puke), matting, crushing, and wear. Most carpeting requires professional cleaning. This doesn’t mean renting a steam machine or owning a personal steamer, but having a team with a truck-mounted steamer show up annually to steam clean. This is necessary for the warranty to remain valid.
Hardwood, LVP, and Cork - They are not covered for scratches, gouges, or movement in the floor over time (floors will shift based on the temperature, and humidity in the home).
For solid hardwood and to a lesser extent engineered hardwood, the relative humidity in the house has a huge impact on how the products last. Usually, it must be maintained between 35 and 50% where most people and plants like it. If the humidity gets too low boards will shrink, crack, and move dramatically over time.
If the humidity gets too high the board will crowd together, split up if there is no room to move sideways, or potentially crack or damage baseboards if they were not installed on top of wood (some people install new wood up to existing baseboards, this is not proper, wood needs ½ approximately of expansion room around the outside edge.
Ceramic Tile and Natural Stone - These materials are not normally covered for breakage especially if it is caused by deflection in the home (excessive movement of the base-floor), or something heavy hitting the floor breaking the tile/stone.
Natural Stone should be sealed regularly to prevent staining, and you should choose a grout that is pre-sealed for tile and/or stone installations, or the grout may become stained or require regularly sealing as well.
Roller chairs and unprotected legs on furniture and the damage they might cause is not normally covered under any warranty. Be sure to put a matt down for the rolling chair and put high-quality protectors on the feet of the furniture.
Some products are water resistant or waterproof. It is important to know that this is almost always a top-down warranty, not a bottom up.
So if you properly and professionally install ceramic in a shower, or laminate in a room and seal it correctly it will not get damaged by water that runs on top of it. However, if there is a leak from outside that comes into the home from your siding, or leaking pipe, that travels around the floor and into the subfloor underneath (plywood, concrete, etc), many times that would not be covered (unless you are dealing with a truly waterproof product like LVP).
Even if it is waterproof, that does not mean that mold or mildew will not occur, if the water remains stagnant, mold can happen.
- Responsiveness - How the manufacturer handles the order is of the utmost importance. Are they polite, prompt and thorough? Does it seem like they care? Being treated as a valued customer and a human being with a problem always makes the process easier and more bearable.
- Fair Coverage - “Oh, we don’t cover that…” is something no one wants to hear. Every situation is different and unique so when the manufacturer is prepared to help in a broader spectrum of scenarios, it only helps you in the long run.
- Flexibility - Weird stuff happens all the time. And many times it isn’t the fault of the customer! Having a manufacturer who is flexible with their coverage and understands that unique situations happen is always refreshing. It also allows for a stronger relationship with customers and will keep them coming back!
- Length of Warranty - What good is a warranty for a floor if it only lasts 5 years? Sometimes that is perfect for what you need. But warranties that match the quality of the product are always preferred and help us feel better about our decision. With longer, more detailed warranties, the security is there for us to feel good about our decision.
- Budget-Friendly - Warranties are usually factored into the cost of the material, they come with the product. However, if warranties charge you any extra money, make sure that it is well worth the charge.
What Makes a Good Warranty To You?
“I want warranties to be simple to understand. None of that fine print stuff! It would be best if it covered real-life situations. For example, pet accidents that are out of my control would be covered and they would follow up after the replacement to make sure the new material is working out for me. Finally, if the warranty can’t help me, I’d really appreciate it if they could at least point me in the right direction to get the help I need.”
- Jess M.
“Cost, coverage, and length are the three big ones for me. Maybe even representation too! Will it take 5 months for them to get back in touch to fulfill the warranty or are they going to respond quickly? You’d want to make sure that the coverage is fair and that they listen to your situation.”
- Kevin L.
Leave us a comment below and let us know what a good warranty means to you! We'd love to hear from you!