Understanding Your Flooring Warranties Part 2

More lawyer talk time.

Installer Warranty

As the installer, whether you manufacture your own goods or not, you are liable for and may give a warranty for the installation of the product. Such an installation warranty provides that you have installed the product correctly and that the product will be free from defects from incorrect installation. What happens frequently is that the owner will complain that there is a problem, and both the installer and the manufacturer will claim that the fault lies with the other. Typically, the installer claims that the product failed and advises the owner to contact the manufacturer; the manufacturer sends out a representative who will inspect the product, finding that it was not installed per the manufacturer’s instructions. As the flooring contractor, you want to protect yourself to the extent possible from such claims by knowing your product and only installing it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Aside from express and implied warranties, the owner usually retains a statutory right to sue for product liability.

With all of these various warranties and potential liabilities, what should you do? Know what warranties you are willing to provide and what you are not willing to provide. Provide your express warranty in the contract, and to the extent permitted by law exclude any implied warranties you do not want to be responsible to provide. If you provide only a limited installation warranty, make sure the customer knows that. If the materials installed come with their own warranty, provide that warranty to the customer and ensure that the customer has good contact information in case of a claim.

Beyond all of that, the final warranty that you give as a contractor is your business’s goodwill. Within reason, you want to give good service and keep the customer happy so that customer will become a testimonial source or reference. That may mean occasionally going beyond a stated warranty. It may also mean using only reliable products you know how to use.

For wood floors there are very strict parameters for installation and maintenance. Your home or office must have a relative humidity of 30% to 40% so the wood does not shrink. Cleaning and maintaining the finish is crucial to long term beauty. Your salesman should provide you with the appropriate directions. No wood floor is maintenance free.