Updated: Jun 12
Floor shopping is hard! And stressful!
Flooring is expensive, and you really don't want to have to replace your flooring again in a few years. You want it to last. You want to make sure you are spending your money in the right place and getting as much life as you can out of your floors.
This is why it's really important to understand a few things about flooring and what you should be asking.
Yes, there are ratings, and a lot of articles that talk about them, but this is what you should be asking someone in every flooring store you go to. If they don't know the answers, or don't even know what you are talking about... DON'T BUY YOUR FLOOR THERE.
Just some friendly advice. ;)
6 Questions to Ask When Floor Shopping
1. Is it waterproof?
This is such an important question! Don't skip it! Even if you don't think you need waterproof flooring, or it's not a deal-breaker, you need to know what you are up against.
There are laminates classified as waterproof but are really only water-resistant.
Sometimes products claim to be waterproof, but really are only rated for a certain period of time, or a short period of time.
Laminate has been popular for the last couple of decades and it can be really great, would not withstand a flood.
2. What material is it made of?
This kind of goes back to the waterproof question, but isn't always connected.
Is it laminate? Vinyl? Luxury vinyl? Tile?
Those are pretty broad categories, and within them there are a lot of options and variations.
For example, tile can be ceramic and porcelain, and usually a combination of both. Knowing what that percentage is will help you know the quality of that tile.
Luxury Vinyl comes in a lot of different materials and styles, including WPC flooring, SPC flooring, and MSPC flooring (We will go into these in another post).
3. What is the Wear Layer?
This is something that only applies to vinyl flooring, but it is crucial to understand.
You need to know what the wear layer is! This is the top, scratch-resistant layer in vinyl flooring.
It can be anywhere from 5mil to 30+ mil.
Generally, anything 20 mil and above is considered light commercial, to heavy commercial, and can withstand a lot.
4. Is it kid and pet friendly?
It doesn't matter if you are looking at tile, laminate, lvp, carpet, or anything else. If you have kids and/or pets, you want to make sure your floors can handle them! Or, maybe you don't have kids or pets but like to move your couch around every month. ;)
Either way, make sure you understand how durable the material is that you are looking at. Is it scratch-resistant? Durable? Won't wear easily? These are all things you should be thinking about.
5. Is it easy to install?
Maybe you have no intention of installing something yourself and you are fine with letting the experts handle everything. That's great! Understanding how something is supposed to look is still important.
However, if you are even THINKING about doing some DIY, make sure you understand the product you are picking out and how to install it.
As mentioned earlier, Laminate has been popular for a long time. A lot of DIYers have already installed it somewhere, and are pretty confident in their abilities. That's awesome.
However, what has not been around for a long time is Luxury Vinyl Plank. It's not nearly as easy to install as laminate. It doesn't mean it's hard, or impossible, it just means you want to make sure you do your research before you start a project that will make you want to scream at all of your loved ones.
6. Does it come with a warranty and what is it?
This is probably one of the most important things! ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS ask about the warranty and make sure to get the paperwork and information. Make sure you understand what is covered, what isn't and how to make a claim if you need to.
Let's be real, stuff happens. Just make sure you can fix it if it does.