Nearly every homeowner has come across a warranty at some point in their lives, but how many actually take the time to read it thoroughly? Warranties are often long, and because of their legal wording, many people find them tedious and difficult to read. However, it is incredibly important to read the warranties for any major home purchase to know exactly what is and is not covered by it. Many warranties are limited warranties, meaning they impose any number of exclusions to coverage—including things that are commonly expected to be covered. Here are some ways you might accidentally void your flooring warranty:

Failing to retain your original sales documentation. A lot of warranties begin by explicitly stating that you must have proof of purchase to be able to follow up and file a claim. Many limited warranties are not transferrable, meaning they only provide protection for the original purchasing client. It is incredibly important that you retain all documentation when making a flooring investment in your home.

Cleaning with unapproved products. Warranties will often state which products can and cannot be used to clean the flooring materials that they cover. If you clean your floors with products not specified in the documentation, you will likely void your warranty. When in doubt, have your floors professionally cleaned—and be sure to retain the receipts from any professional cleanings, as some warranties stipulate they must also be presented in the case of a claim.

Installing a material in an area of the house not recommended for that type of flooring. Flooring manufacturers will warn you if a certain type of flooring is not intended for use in specific areas of the house. For example, hardwood flooring is not recommended for bathrooms, and certain types of carpeting are not suited for high-traffic areas. If you choose to install flooring in an area of the house that goes against the recommendation of the manufacturer, its warranty will likely not cover any resulting damages.

Staining the flooring material with strong dyes or bodily fluids. Many warranties will cover stains resulting from pet urine but will specifically exclude any other bodily fluids. Substances that destroy or change the color of your flooring material, such as corrosive cleaners or strong natural dyes like mustard or red wine, are often explicitly not covered by manufacturer warranties.

Damaging the flooring once it’s been installed. This is likely the most unexpected exclusion in a flooring warranty. Once the flooring is installed as intended, any further damage is typically not covered. Warranties often have language in them excluding damage from moving furniture, normal wear and tear from human or animal use (such as scratches from a dog’s nails), and even flood or fire damage. Some will even exclude discoloration from exposure to the sun.

It is important to remember that a warranty is there to protect your investment in your home, but it is also meant to protect the manufacturer’s bottom line. Always read warranties before committing to an investment like new flooring. Manufacturers are required by law to provide copies of their warranties for perusal before consumers commit to a product, and they can often be found on the company’s website. If you are looking to replace the flooring in your home, take the time to learn about what your preferred product’s warranty will cover. It can save you time and money on a sizeable investment.

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Sources: Armstrong Flooring; Bureau of Consumer Protection; Bruce Flooring; Federal Trade Commission; Mohawk Flooring.

For more information on our sources, please contact us directly.