If the lure of a lifetime warranty is pushing you in the direction of choosing a factory-finished hardwood floor for your home, here are some things to consider before making your purchase.  At first glance, a pre-finished hardwood floor, where each individual board is stained and sealed in a factory and shipped to your home to be installed without the need for additional onsite sanding and finishing, is beyond appealing.  As with any big home improvement decision, you need to do some due diligence and research the pros and cons of the debated product and its warranty—especially if you want that product to go the distance. Doing your research up front can help you purchase the right product with the right warranty and come away with wood flooring you love.

Difficult to Repair Wear

When choosing a flooring product for the long haul—years, if not decades, into the future, the offering of a lifetime warranty sounds like the icing on the cake.  Unfortunately, your lifetime warranty might not truly be good for a lifetime if the factory-finished flooring product you chose for your home is discontinued. After some wear and tear, experienced hardwood floor professionals will attest that factory-finished floors are very challenging to sand and remove their finish coating in order to fix dents and scratches that occur over the life of the manufactured floor.  

Furthermore, if an installed pre-finished board cracks or dents significantly, it may need to be pulled up and replaced rather than refinished.  Replacing factory-finished boards may not always perfectly match the existing ones on your floor if they are from a different lot or batch process that wasn’t manufactured when your originals were or are made from a different species of wood.  If you try to replace one board of your floor and have managed to find a replacement that is the same species of wood and same finish as the rest of your floor, chances are high you are still not going to be able to achieve a seamless look.  Brand new boards sandwiched in the middle of worn boards that have aged a little—and may have typical interior wear of minor scratches and dullness, will stick out and ruin the overall look of your floor.  

Or even worse (and very likely), the manufacturer may discontinue the model of flooring that you have in your home—making it difficult (if not impossible) to match the rest.  Then, you are stuck with the difficult decision to either live with the flaw, match the replacement board the best you can, or replace the entire floor. None of these options meet most customers’ expectations and are a huge negative for factory-finished flooring.

Discontinued Flooring Model & Style

Another potential negative along these same lines is, if you decide to remodel another area of your home and want to match the flooring to the kitchen flooring you replaced (and love) in the previous year, it is possible that the manufacturer has discontinued that style.  If you love the look of continuity and flow that comes from a single, unified hardwood flooring option, but can’t take on a whole-house flooring project at once—you have to assume that risk if you decide to go with pre-finished hardwood flooring. Unlike traditional hardwood flooring, pre-finished flooring styles come-and-go with the trends.  

Right Product, Right Warranty

Selecting a flooring product solely because of the length of its warranty sets you up to make a poor decision.  Educating yourself about the different properties of wood floors and spending time learning about different hardwood flooring products is the key to purchasing the right product with the right warranty.  Moreover, a hardwood flooring company with years of experience in the business, like Armstrong-Citywide is staffed with well-educated and trained wood floor professionals who can comfortably explain the limitations of a specific warranty to help you select a wood flooring product that you can enjoy for years down the road.