A certain trend became very widespread among manufacturers of prefinished flooring in San Diego: the gradual increase in the warranty period. While by the end of the 70s the maximum warranty period for a certain finish did not exceed five years tops, nowadays you can probably attain a 50 year warranty. This business practice originated in the 80s, but the real boom in terms of duration did not occur until 10 years later, with the development of the aluminum oxide finish.
Without a doubt, the manufacturing technology has come a long way since then. But is it really that advanced as manufacturers who provide these immense warranty periods claim? If not, what’s the catch? It seems like you are getting something for nothing, right? Hold that thought for a moment, let’s go back to the aluminum oxide finish first.
Brown aluminum oxide, in its natural state.
The aluminum oxide finish: What it’s really about!
As mentioned earlier, this type of finish was first introduced on the market in the mid 90s and it quickly became the primary choice, no matter on which flooring material it was applied. You had aluminum oxide on hardwood, ceramics, PVC, laminate, so on and so forth. Not to mention that manufacturers pulled some pretty impressive stunts to show customers just how durable it was. For example, they rubbed the finishing with steel wool or attempted to scratch it with pennies. The success was incredible and the sales went up several percents each year.
However, it was not long before customers began to complain regarding the roughness of the finish resulted from the abrasive effect of the aluminum oxide’s crystals. Basically, from wearing out the socks quickly to brutally scraping your knees in case you tripped, the original aluminum oxide finish on flooring just didn’t cut it for everyday traffic. The problem was addressed by integrating the aluminum oxide between two additional layers of different finishes.
After several years, studies began to indicate additional problems with the finish. For instance, the microscopic shattering of the crystals when shocks are applied or their inability in contracting and expanding in sync with the hardwood planks. While currently the aluminum oxide finish is certainly the most resilient one on the market, it is far from the indestructibility claims of the manufacturers. Sooner or later, it will wear out!
Why do they provide these huge warranty periods then?
Simply put, the development of the aluminum oxide finish was just what the manufacturers needed to convince the public that the coated floors are virtually unbreakable. If you think about it, this publicity stunt – which on a side note was major success – really does make a lot of sense. However, the principles behind the warranty is that it is not transferable to the next owner when you sell the home and it’s rather unlikely for the company that issued it to remain in business under the same name or ownership for 50 years plus.
Manufacturers will undergo mergers or buyouts, which in turn void the warranty issued by the company under the original name. At the same time, the fine print always stipulates strict guidelines concerning the cleaning and maintenance of the prefinished flooring in San Diego, which can easily deem you ineligible for compensation.
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