Q: I had an expensive, name brand, top-of-the-line vinyl floor installed in my kitchen less than three years ago that has all sorts of dents and cuts in it from routine daily use. Now I hear advertisements which claim that some flooring can withstand golf shoe cleats and blow torches. Have things changed that much in three years?
A: This ad is an example of slick advertising at its best, and refers to a single name brand top-of-the-line flooring which comes with a one time no-questions-asked replacement guarantee. Years ago, many vinyl flooring products were quite tough because they contained asbestos. When federal regulations forced manufacturers to remove the asbestos, the whole industry had to virtually start over and vinyl flooring was soft, causing it to tear and dent easily. Though the quality of vinyl flooring in general is improving all the time, no floor can withstand the kind of treatment described in this particular ad. As with any floor, one should use caution always when moving, rolling and sliding appliances, chairs, etc. across flooring.
Q: I cannot afford to install all new flooring in my home. Can anything be done about the dents and cuts?
A: Yes, all vinyl flooring can be repaired by patching the damaged area, with excellent results. That is why it is so important to keep scrap material left over from the original installation, to use for future repairs.
Q: The seams in my vinyl flooring seem to be coming loose and collecting dirt. Is there anything I can do short of getting a whole new floor?
A: Possibly. First, a knowledgeable licensed installer should be contacted to determine why the seams are coming apart. Depending on the vinyl and condition of the underlayment or concrete, more adhesive may be applied and the seam re-sealed from the top, so as to prevent moisture or dirt from getting in.
Q: You can see the seams in my large kitchen floor and when I complained to the company that sold me the floor, they said I should have picked a different pattern. Is that just an excuse, or is that true?
A: Most sheet vinyl flooring has a pattern resembling tile which looks like it has a grout line along which the seams can be successfully done almost invisibly. Some flooring which does not have these grout lines often comes in 12 foot widths in order to be installed seamlessly, depending on the size of the room. One should avoid choosing one of these patterns for a large room where it cannot be installed without a seam, because it will show. Whatever the case, the company that sold you the flooring should make arrangements to come and inspect it and resolve the problem.
Q: You can see cracks from the concrete slab under our vinyl flooring. Is there anything I can do to correct the problem?
A: Whatever type of vinyl flooring was installed, if the cracks existed while the flooring was being installed, they should have been filled and patched at that time. If they have occurred since, you will probably have to have the flooring removed, the cracks repaired and new flooring installed.
Q: I am considering replacing my vinyl floor with ceramic or wood tiles, but was told it would be a problem if I ever wanted to remove my dishwasher. Why would that matter?
A: Putting ceramic or wood flooring down will raise the level of the floor. So there generally will not be enough clearance between the height of the dishwasher and the counter once the floor tiles are installed. You might be able to leave the dishwasher, trash compactor, etc. in place over the original floor and install the new flooring in front of it, but if you ever needed to remove these appliances to make repairs, you might not lift them up and over the new floor. Measurements must be carefully taken before new flooring is installed.