Consumer – Advice

A successful seminar was held with the subject of “Educating the Customer”. From our previous seminar on “Quality of Installation” it became apparent that all too often the client is not sufficiently informed as to what to expect from their flooring and how to maintain it.

In SAWLFA’s endeavours to raise the level of customer satisfaction it was considered that this subject was very important.

All participants in the wood and laminate flooring industry are invited to these seminars whether they are members of SAWLFA or not. We believe that this will encourage the legitimate operators to join the association and to recognize the need to keep the quality of the finished product at a high level. Attendees were told to ensure that the potential customer understood what they were getting and that they had to understand that the floor would never resemble a desk top and that there would be some slight separation between the boards or planks.

Matters covered at the seminar included:

  • The necessity of refusing to lay a floor if the moisture levels in the substrate were too high.
  • Refusing to lay the product if there has been insufficient acclimatisation period for the material.
  • Informing the client about expansion joints around door frames.
  • Maximum lengths of flooring before expansion joints have to be included.

Also covered was the fact that wood and laminate floors do expand and contract and the extreme importance of having a level surface without bumps and undulations on which to lay the floor.

All of these things are of utmost importance in order to avoid unhappiness from the clients point of view and unnecessary expense in trying to make good from the contractors side.

The subject of underfloor heating also came under discussion. A representative of a SAWLFA affiliate member who supplies underfloor heating explained that potential clients had to be informed that:

  • Heating through wood and laminate flooring could never be as effective as that through carpets or tiles because the sensation when walking on these surfaces were different.
  • A wood or laminate floor should never be laid on an existing underfloor heating installation for carpet or tile as this would damage the floor due to excessive heat.
  • Extreme care had to be taken in laying rugs on top of a heated floor as the heat build-up under the rug would be excessive.

Incorrect maintenance was often the cause of failure of the floor to comply with acceptable tolerances. Water has to be avoided at all costs. The best advice is that the cleaning material be purchased from the supplier of the floor. Common household cleaners such as Jik, dishwashing liquid, etc. should be discouraged as they will either damage the finish or leave a residue. The customer should be given a booklet of instruction on how to clean the floor.

The association does not sanction the use of any steam machine to clean any wood product.