Here is a list of questions you should ask your vendor before buying your flooring:
1. What If there’s A Problem?
Normally reputable retailers will deal with any problems that arise; however, they may not want to replace defective flooring because they have to pay for it–manufacturers are more than happy to deny liability.
2. Is The Finish Durable?
Wood flooring has to be durable, especially if it is in a high-traffic area. Some imported floors have little or no durability. Test it by rubbing a little 150-grit sandpaper on a sample. If the finish comes off, discard it. Press a coin in–if it dents but doesn’t flake, the finish is durable. If it is a high-quality finish, it will contain aluminum or titanium oxide to harden it. To test, put a sample in the microwave. If sparks come off, you know you have the real thing.
3. Finish and Structure Warranty?
A warranty can be whatever a manufacturer wants it to be. Some manufacturers have warranties that are like books, but with so many exclusions they are not really worth the paper they are written on. There is a warranty standard that says, on a complete floor, a manufacturer is covered for up to 5% defects; this means that in a floor of 1000 sq ft., up to 100 of your boards can be defective and you have no recourse.
4. Waste Factor?
If a manufacturer specifies a waste factor of around 10-15%, you have to make sure you purchase at least that much extra to get enough for an entire floor. If the waste factor is higher, the floor quality will be lower.
5. Average Floor Board Lengths?
This is not a question that many even consider, but you should. If the average length is longer, your floor will look better. Make sure, if the order is for boards 8 feet long, that’s the size of the boards delivered.
6. Moisture Content?
Hardwood floor boards should have a moisture content of 6-9%. If it is too high, the boards will dry out leaving gaps; if it is too low, they may not fit properly. Ask your retailer for a moisture meter, and if he can’t produce one or doesn’t know what you are talking about, move on to the next shop.
7. Recommendations for Acclimation?
If you are leaving your wooden flooring to sit before you lay it, make sure the conditions are right. The wood will suck up any moisture that is in the air and could be rendered useless.
8. What Will It Like When Stained Or Finished?
All woods are different when it comes to finishing; some require more stain and finish while others require very little. The finish must be smooth and not blotchy; you should not be able to see brush strokes in it.
9. Warranty on Installation?
Hiring a professional fitter to install your flooring is essential. If you have a problem, the chances of getting any recompense are slim, so try to hire the supplier’s own installers and make sure the work is covered under warranty.
10. What Grade Is The Flooring?
Not all manufacturers grade their wood the same way, so you should ask this question and compare the different stores to see which the best is for you.
About the Author
NJ Flooring Outlet is a Discount Hardwood Flooring Store in NJ, providing quality flooring products to homeowners and contractors alike. Come visit our showroom in North Jersey or browse our products online at NJFlooringOutlet.com.