Floor covering buyer beware. Next to a house or automobile, flooring is one of the largest purchases that many homeowners will ever make. Like that car or house a floor covering can bring with it, joy or pain.
A properly selected floor covering will also add function, value, comfort and pleasure.. Floor covering selected with little or no thought to the environment, may result in a major disappointment.
Floor Covering Planning
In a home or a business, floor covering is both an important and a valuable element of design. Take care in selection of desired aesthetics and performance qualities. With the huge variety of materials, fibers, styles and colors available an individual can find a product in the correct price range that will provide years of enjoyment and function. An improperly selected floor covering may not perform to your satisfaction.
Prepare For Your Purchase
As a consumer you should expect the sales representative to educate you and steer you in the right direction. As a floor covering purchaser, beware that their are sharks that only want to make the easy sale. Unfortunately many companies fail to educate their sales representatives so that they understand how products differ. More discussed in part-2 Floor Covering Styles.
It is the responsibility of those marketing a floor covering product to understand color, construction, performance and installation. The sales person should pass knowledge to the consumer. A knowledgeable sales person will share that knowledge. The slick sales person may only care about the sale and not be concerned with after sale service. As a result, it is important that the consumer prepares in advance for their purchase.
The consumer needs to understand that just because a floor looks like a good deal, it may not be. By spending a little more money, (a few extra dollars more a month), it will may save them money and a lot of grief. At other times, if you have done a bit of study, you may be able to save those extra dollars. Remember, quality is not based on price alone.
The Blame Game
Luxury vinyl, sheet vinyl, laminated wood, carpet, hardwood, or any other product can fail. The unhappy consumer often places blame on the dealer they purchased their flooring from. In turn, the dealer will likely blame the problem on the floor covering manufacturer. If the floor covering is carpet, the carpet manufacturer might blame the problem on the fiber manufacturer who in turn places the blame back on the retailer, consumer or installer. The blame game a viscous circle. Everyone is being blamed and no-one is taking responsibility.
Caveat Emptor “Floor Covering Buyer Beware”
Purchasing a car, carpet or other floor covering. The word is caveat emptor – let the buyer beware. The phrase caveat emptor arises from the fact that buyers often have less information about the good or service they are purchasing, while the seller has more information.
The seller may hide defects in goods or service from the buyer, thus, the buyer should beware. This is called information asymmetry, a term that refers to when one party in a transaction is in possession of more information than the other.
A Bit of Shared Knowledge
I have spent over fifty years in the floor covering industry as a dealer, contractor, consultant and inspector. I have analyzed thousands of installations to determine what has caused the products premature failure or loss in appearance. The performance exhibited by a product is regularly consistent with the characteristics of its construction. This usually means the failed product was not properly specified or selected for the installation environment.
Flooring failure often results from the lack of proper care. The reason may be lack of knowledge or neglect. Improper selection and care are avoidable situations that may require a little study on the part of the end-user.
As a youth my father James H. Weinheimer, had been in the floor covering business since 1934. He often quoted the saying, “Price is soon forgotten but quality still remains. A saying as true today as it was 50 years ago.
Terry Weinheimer can be reached at The Weinheimer Group