What to Ask a Flooring Salesperson

by Sam Ferris
A trip to a flooring store can be like a doctor?s office visit. You?re presented with a lot of visuals, numbers, and terms that you?re not familiar with, and while you?re urged to ask questions, you probably don?t know what to ask. The good news is, it?s all too normal. You?re not a flooring expert (or a doctor, for that matter). Do a little research, though, and you?ll come prepared with the crucial questions you need answered. Here?s a by no means exclusive list of questions you should ask a flooring salesperson as you?re shopping for your remodel.?

Flooring Corpus Christi
Photo courtesy of Mohawk Flooring.
What's the best flooring for my home?
Move this question to the top of your list. Flooring isn?t a one-size-fits-all solution. Your best option depends on several factors, like who lives in the home, where the home is located, whether it?s a rental property, and so on.

Hardwood floors, for instance, aren?t the best choice for homeowners with pets and children because of how easily they scratch. A porcelain wood look tile, on the other hand, is perfect for families because of how durable it is. You also won?t want tile if you have foundation problems. This can cause the tile to crack.

Where you?re installing flooring also matters. A flooring salesperson won?t recommend a laminate or hardwood for kitchens and bathrooms (they don?t handle moisture well). She will, however, assess your flooring needs and give you the best possible solution.?
What's the cost?
If you?re on a tight budget, asking about cost is a must. You don?t want to fall in love with flooring that you can?t afford, especially after you?ve spent time incorporating it into your home?s design.

It?s important to communicate with your flooring salesperson. If the flooring they?re showing you is too expensive, tell them. The best part about flooring is that there?s a style available for every budget. Your flooring salesperson can help you find it.?
What's the maintenance??
Low maintenance floors are a godsend for active homeowners. Before you hand over your credit card, ask how to clean the flooring you want. You may find that the maintenance is too much.

Easy to clean, low maintenance floors include:
  • Porcelain tile
  • Vinyl
  • Smartstrand Forever Clean carpet

Floors that require more maintenance, from special cleaners to moisture protection, include:
  • Hardwood
  • Laminate
  • Natural Stone
Tile Flooring Corpus Christi
Outdoor flooring needs to have a high slip resistance so that you don't slip and fall when it's raining. Photo courtesy of Mohawk Flooring.
Is it slip resistant??
If you?re installing flooring in a bathroom or outdoors, find out how slip resistant the flooring is. It?s a safety issue especially for older homeowners.

Tile normally has a slip resistance rating on the back of the sample board. If not, your flooring salesperson should be able to find out for you.

You can usually identify flooring with good slip resistance based on the flooring?s texture. The more textured a tile is, the more grip it provides.?
Travertine Floors Corpus Christi
Plan to seal your travertine floors every two to four years. Photo courtesy of MSI Stone.
Do I need to seal it?
The answer is no, unless you?re buying natural stone. It may seem counterintuitive, but you don?t have to seal porcelain and ceramic tile, even if you?re installing it outdoors. Outdoor tile already has protection built in to its glaze. It?s possible to damage the glaze if you seal it.

You have to seal natural stone flooring because of how porous it is. Ask your flooring salesperson how often you should seal it. We generally recommend every two to four years, though this can vary depending on the type of natural stone and where it?s installed.?
What's in stock??
In an ideal world you?ve carefully mapped out your remodel several months in advance.

OK, so you just laughed after reading that. Life gets in the way, and most of the time homeowners are buying flooring on the week of the deadline their contractor gave them. ?

This is why it?s important to ask your flooring salesperson what?s available in stock. If you find something you like, you don?t have to wait for it to be shipped. In-stock flooring is also generally less expensive, and it doesn?t have a freight fee.??
How long will it last?
Durability matters, period. Remodeling is a big investment, and it?s one that you want to last for as long as possible.? It?s especially important for rental properties ? the flooring has to withstand your tenants.

Color body porcelain tile ranks number one in durability among flooring types. Vinyl and natural stone are also fine options for high traffic areas. Both can handle scratches and scuffs, too. Hardwood floors can last as long as the home does, but they scratch easily. Carpet has a shelf life of about 10 years.?

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