What a wood-flooring warranty covers—and what it doesn’t

Consumer Reports News: June 27, 2011 12:06 PM

A hardwood-flooring warranty commonly lasts 20, 30 years or longer. Lumber Liquidators’s premium Bellawood line, in fact, now comes with a 100-year, transferable warranty. So if you were shopping for flooring and saw a product touting a 90-day warranty, you’d shake your head in annoyance and move on to the next, right? Not so fast.

A product’s warranty seems to exist as much for the protection of the manufacturer as for shoppers’ rights. In the case of wood flooring, the warranty protects you from a flawed product—with a finish, for example, that was improperly mixed at the factory before it was applied to the wood.

Flooring manufacturers often provide tips on extending the life of your flooring, including removing various marks and stains. The bottom line on the warranty, however, is that it won’t protect you from any wear or other damage that you and your family, pets, and visitors inflicted after the floor was laid.

If a wood floor’s finish is indeed defective, a 90-day warranty should provide more than enough time for problems to show up. Usually, said a spokesman for Lumber Liquidators, you know it in a month or so.

In Consumer Reports flooring tests, we look at how well the floor wears as well as resistance to scratches, dents, stains and sunlight.

Ed Perratore

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