Buying a new floor is a major investment, much like buying a car or a new home, so you want to do all you can to maintain and protect that investment. When you find yourself heading out the door to visit a local flooring retailer, be prepared with some questions that you may not have considered when looking to get a new floor. Instead of just having an aesthetic in mind, how you want the floor to look, go into the flooring department of your favorite store thinking also about the steps and costs involved in ongoing care and maintenance for a new floor. Regardless of what a flooring salesperson tells you, no floor is maintenance-free. This concept can lead to unrealistic expectations.
Questions to Ask while Floor Shopping
- How long is the floor expected to last based on the warranty? What are your responsibilities as it pertains to upholding the warranty? (Spoiler alert: You may be required to use specific cleaning products.)
- Does the manufacturer of the floor have specific maintenance instructions for the floor you want to buy? (If so, read them!)
- What steps and products are required to clean and maintain the new floor?
How Maintenance Differs Between Floor Types
Caring for Luxury Vinyl flooring is much different than caring for an Oil Finished Hardwood floor. LVT & LVP (luxury vinyl tile or plank) requires little care aside from routine cleaning with a neutral pH cleaner. On the other end of the floor care spectrum is Oiled Hardwood floors that require several maintenance steps typically with specific care products. The routine takes a little getting used to, and the products to care for your floor are typically more expensive than other types of floor cleaning products, but the results are worth it for a rich luster floor.
Why Ask About Maintenance?
When you are getting a new floor, learn what to expect, from a maintenance perspective, before you buy the floor. Read maintenance information. Some floors, like oiled hardwood, require multiple maintenance steps. It’s good to know this, up front, so you can decide if you will take the time to learn the steps and do them. Care information is typically available on each flooring brand website though sometimes it takes some clicking around to find it.
Why Use Specific Floor Maintenance Products
If you adhere to best practices for cleaning and maintaining your floor, it can last and look good for 20+ years. Regardless of the type of floor, you will find that some flooring manufacturers specify the exact cleaner, polish or other product to use on their floors. Armstrong, Mercier and Karndean Designflooring are examples of luxury vinyl floor brands that have their own branded clean and polish products. Hallmark Floors and DuChateau are good examples of high-end factory finished oil-treated hardwood floors that also have their own branded lines of maintenance products. Other flooring manufacturers, such as Adore and Cali, recommend specific brands of care products Woca, Bona, and Hilway that have been tested for compatibility with their floors to give the best possible cleaning results.
Reasons Why Floor Care Items are Specified
It makes it easy to identify and use tried & true products to keep floors looking good when you use items as directed by the flooring manufacturer. These branded maintenance products provide assurance that you are using products compatible with your floor so you can expect excellent results when you follow the maintenance directions. (Rule of thumb: When you buy a high-end floor, the care products are also going to be high-end.)
Learn all you can before you buy the new floor you’ve been considering so you have the right expectations once it’s installed. Read maintenance instructions and do a Google search to see where you will find the recommended floor care products? Can you buy locally, at your flooring retailer or in a big box store? Or will you find the best option is buying from an online store, such as 1877floorguy and have items shipped to you?
Does it fit your budget?
When you find where to buy care products, check pricing. You can do price comparisons later, for now just get a ballpark idea. Floor care products are an ongoing expense and cutting corners can result in your floor looking dull or hazy. When that happens, you will likely need to buy additional products to fix the problem so stick with flooring brand specifications to keep new floors looking their best.
Be Happy With Your New Floor
Doing your research on the front end of a large purchase, like a new floor, will help you avoid unwelcome surprises like maintenance products that are more expensive than expected, or multiple floor care steps that you might not want to spend time doing. Knowing what to expect from a new floor will make you happier with your purchase.
These are just a few things to consider when buying a new floor. We hope this information helps you make the best decision and sets your expectations for the new floor you are going to live or work on for a good long while.