Flooring FAQs

Answers to the most commonly asked questions about flooring. 

FAQs – General

  • While none of the potentially noncompliant laminate products identified were Armstrong Flooring or Bruce, we want to assure you that Armstrong Flooring has been taking, and will continue to take, steps to ensure our flooring is safe for you and your family.  

  • Armstrong Flooring does not sell any products directly to the consumer, so we can’t offer any sort of pricing. We have distributors throughout the U.S. and Canada who distribute our products to individual flooring retailers. For pricing information and to purchase materials, please contact a local retailer in your area.

  • Go back to the flooring retailer where the floor was purchased. If you purchased your home through a builder, the builder should be able to provide you with the name of the flooring retailer. We do not have individual representatives to inspect your floor — instead, we rely on our flooring retailers who are trained and authorized to start the claims investigation process.

    Bring your sales receipt to show your proof of purchase. From your receipt, the retailer should be able to identify the name and model number of your floor. If you do not have a receipt, we will not be able to help your retailer with an inspection or claim.

    If your problem is a warranty issue, the retailer will submit a claim form to Armstrong Flooring. However, if the problem is the result of an installation or on-site related issue, it would not be covered under our warranty.

    Even if your floor was not installed by the retailer you purchased it from, the retailer is still responsible for starting the inspection process. If the retailer does not know what to do, please have them contact Armstrong Flooring. If the flooring retailer where your floor was purchased is no longer in business, please contact our customer service department, and we will assist you.

  • We do not test other manufacturers' products and cannot warrant their use or performance. Any endorsement or warranty for that product would be the sole responsibility of the manufacturer of that particular product.

  • Yes. Armstrong floors, installation products and accessories are specifically formulated and engineered to work together. As a result, when they are used as a system we stand by our Armstrong Flooring Guaranteed Installation System warranty. We warrant the system (floor, installation products and accessories) and would repair or replace the system if a defect were to occur.

    When our floor is installed along with products that are not Armstrong installation products, we warrant only our flooring product. In turn, the other manufacturers are responsible for their products' performance and warranty.        

  • Armstrong Flooring does not participate in the flooring removal business. Contact the Resilient Floor Covering Institute for the recommended work practices of flooring and adhesive removal. They have a video and booklet available that contain recommendations and information on local ordinances.

    Resilient Floor Covering Institute
    115 Broad Street
    Suite 201
    LaGrange, Georgia 30240
    Office: 706-882-3833
    Fax: 706-882-3880
    http://rfci.com/

  • We do not generally recommend that our flooring products be installed in garages. Here’s why:

    In order for flooring materials to be installed in residential or commercial garages, the flooring material must meet the International Residential Code R 309 for garages and carports for one- and two-family residential buildings or the International Building Code 406.2 for all other buildings. The codes specify that garage floor surfaces should contain approved, non-combustible material. Armstrong products do not meet this standard, and therefore should not be installed in areas where vehicles will be parked on the surface of an Armstrong floor.

    Armstrong flooring should only be installed in temperature-controlled environments. Normally, garages are not temperature-controlled. After installation, the temperature should be maintained at a minimum of 55 degrees.

    Another issue with garage floors involves spilled or dripped liquids from automobiles, such as brake, transmission and oil. If these liquids are leaked onto the resilient flooring, they can get into the joints of the tile and break down the adhesive, creating a bonding issue, and possibly leading to an installation failure. Also, the oils and antioxidants used in the manufacturing process of rubber tires will cause a permanent yellow discoloration to any resilient (vinyl) flooring.

    Lastly, exposure to moisture from rain, snow or sleet and varying temperatures will have a damaging effect on both tile and sheet flooring.

FAQs - Hardwood

  • Solid and engineered hardwood are not recommended for rooms that are moisture prone such as bathrooms, laundry rooms and mudrooms. Solid hardwood should also not be installed in any room that is in a basement. In basements, engineered hardwood is a better option.

  • Solid flooring should only be installed on or above grade (the outdoor soil line). Engineered flooring can be installed on, above and below grade — including basements.

  • Unfinished hardwood is installed in your home before the finish is applied, which can be matched to existing or surrounding hardwood floors. Prefinished hardwood is stained and sealed by the manufacturer prior to installation.                 

  • A solid hardwood board is milled from one piece of wood and is typically 3/4" thick (although some come in 5/16" thickness). These products can only be installed in on-grade or above-grade applications. Solid hardwood should not be installed below ground level, such as in a basement or walk-out basement because it can react strongly to moisture or high humidity. A major benefit of solid hardwood is it can typically be sanded or refinished more than one time. The thickness of the hardwood will determine which type of installation method is recommended.

    An engineered hardwood board is made up of layers (plies) of real wood that are adhered together to make the board more structurally stable than solid hardwood. Whether (and how many times) engineered hardwood can be sanded and refinished depends on the thickness of the top layer of wood. Please refer to the warranty for your floor to determine the feasibility of being refinished. A benefit of engineered hardwood is that it can be installed on any grade level and typically has multiple choices for installation, such as floating, gluing or nailing/stapling down.

    A laminate floor is a realistic picture of a stone, ceramic tile or hardwood that is printed on top of a high-density fiberboard (HDF). A resin-saturated paper placed on the bottom serves as a balancing layer that offers a high amount of strength and resistance to moisture. The finish of our laminate floors is a melamine-soaked cellulose paper with an aluminum oxide coating. Since these products are a printed visual (similar to a residential sheet vinyl), they cannot be sanded or refinished.  

  • Edge style treatments are the finishing detail on the top edges and ends of hardwood planks. Different edge styles produce different visual effects. We offer:

    • Square edges – smooth, seamless appearance
    • Micro edges – subtle distinction between planks
    • Beveled edges – distinct grooves between planks for a casual, rustic appearance
    • Micro-beveled (eased) edges – features a mini-bevel about half the depth of a beveled edge
    • Scraped edges – beveled edge with a texture that matches scraped flooring
    • Pillowed edges – softly contoured, more rounded

    Learn more about edge styles

  • Our hardwood is available in these widths:

  • Armstrong Flooring offers a line of coordinated trim and molding pieces for most of our floors. Choose from:

    • Quarter round moldings – Finishes the space where the hardwood flooring meets the wall, cabinets or steps.
    • Multi-purpose reducer – Provides a smooth transition from hardwood flooring to another type of flooring of a lower height. Also finishes the space where hardwood flooring ends against a vertical surface and where quarter round cannot be used.
    • T-Molding – Used as a transition piece to join hardwood flooring between two rooms, often in doorways or passageways, or to join hardwood flooring to another type of flooring of the same height. It can also be used to conceal expansion joints.
    • Threshold (baby threshold) – Conceals flooring edges against sliding glass doors, carpet and tile, and along wall bases and in doorways. Also provides a smooth transition between floors of different heights.
    • Reducer strips – Slightly sloped molding transitions Armstrong hardwood flooring to another type of flooring of a lower height.
    • Flush stair nose – Finishes the flooring edge at staircases, step downs and landings. Connects at the same level as the flooring for a smooth, finished look.
    • Overlap step nose – Used where the flooring meets a step down or landing. Has a slightly raised profile that overlaps the flooring surface.

       Learn more about flooring trim and molding.                   

  • Consult a stain specialist that can custom blend a matching stain color to order. Most major paint stores and home centers offer custom mixing programs.

  • With sufficient impact or pressure, any hardwood can dent. We recommend using floor protectors on the feet of heavy furniture and area rugs in high traffic zones of the home to prevent dents and dings.

  • The most probable cause is sunlight exposure, which can darken or lighten the exposed area. Wood reacts to ambient light and ages over time. Some degree of color change will naturally occur. We recommend occasionally shifting furniture and area rugs to prevent noticeable shading in the floor.

  • Reasons include:

    • Uneven subfloors (refer to subfloor tolerances in our installation instructions)
    • Incorrect use of trowel and/or adhesive
    • Use of improper underlayment

    This problem can be corrected by your installer. Always follow Armstrong Flooring’s installation procedures and use Armstrong Flooring-specified adhesives.                           

  • Yes, repairs include:

    • Color-blend filler for minor chips
    • Touch-up kit for scratches
    • Board replacement
    • Sanding and refinishing for worn, deeply scratched floors

    Learn more about refinishing hardwood floors and how to get scratches out of hardwood flooring.

  • Solid hardwood floors can be refinished. Some engineered wood floors can be refinished one time. We suggest you contact customer service to see if your particular flooring product can be sanded and refinished per your warranty. 

  • We recommend cleaning your hardwood floor with Armstrong Flooring Hardwood & Laminate Floor Cleaner or Bruce Hardwood & Laminate Floor Cleaner.

    Learn more about how to clean hardwood floors.

  • No. Water can prematurely age your hardwood floors causing them to crack and split. We recommend using Armstrong Flooring Hardwood & Laminate Floor Cleaner or Bruce Hardwood & Laminate Floor Cleaner with a microfiber mop or a mop with a terry cloth mop head.

  • Armstrong Flooring discourages introducing heat and moisture as this may damage your floor. We have not tested steam mopping, so you may want to contact the manufacturer of the steam mop for their warranty information and recommendations.

    If you want to use this product, we suggest getting a written guarantee from the manufacturer that their product will not damage your floor. As with any other product not specifically recommended by Armstrong Flooring, if damage occurs as a result of using the product, it will not be covered under the warranty.                                

  • We suggest using floor protectors on the feet of furniture and chairs, area rugs in high traffic zones and door mats by any exterior doorways to help prevent scratches on your hardwood flooring.                     

  • To avoid denting your hardwood floor, we recommend using strips of 1/4" hardboard as a runner under the wheels (if rolling) or furniture legs (if sliding).

  • We recommend using a non-staining rug or mat that is made of a breathable material.  Do not use rugs with solid rubber,  latex or vinyl backings. A grid-patterned, non-staining polypropylene backing is acceptable as long as it is breathable. The rugs must be made of a breathable material to prevent moisture entrapment. All questions about the rug or mat should be referred to the rug or mat manufacturer. Jute-backed rugs are not recommended because jute is very abrasive and will scratch the surface of hardwood floors.

  • Waxing is not recommended as it can damage the finish and alter your finish warranty.

  • It is not necessary and we do not recommend sealing hardwood after install because this will alter your finish warranty. If you have reason to be particularly concerned about moisture on the floor, sealing joints can prevent moisture from getting down in the cracks through one seasonal cycle: one cooling (winter) and heating (summer) season. Wood will continue to expand (summer) and contract (winter) throughout its lifetime.

FAQs - Laminate

  • While none of the potentially noncompliant laminate products identified were Armstrong Flooring or Bruce, we want to assure you that Armstrong Flooring has been taking, and will continue to take, steps to ensure our flooring is safe for you and your family.             

  • Our laminate flooring products are not 100% waterproof but are designed to resist topical moisture and can even be installed in full bathrooms. When installing laminate flooring in your bathroom, we recommend putting a 1/8" bead of a PVA adhesive (such as Armstrong Flooring EverSeal) on top of the tongue when locking the boards together. This will help seal the joints to help minimize moisture damage. We also recommend using 100% silicone caulk around the perimeter of the room in the expansion space between the laminate and the wall or any other vertical obstruction. You should still clean spills as soon as possible to reduce the potential for a problem.  

  • Anywhere in the home, as long as you have a structurally sound, clean, dry and flat subfloor. Armstrong laminate flooring can be placed over existing floors made of:

    • wood
    • concrete
    • ceramic
    • tile
    • vinyl sheet
    • carpet (must be fully adhered and no more than 1/4" thick over suspended wood subfloors)

    Review the complete installation instructions prior to beginning your laminate installation.

  • Yes. Be sure to fully adhere the flooring to the stairs without using foam underlayment.

  • Yes, with the proper tools, skills and planning. For the fastest and easiest installation available in laminate, choose products with Lock&Fold technology.

  • Armstrong Flooring’s laminate with Lock&Fold technology is the industry’s fastest and easiest installation system. Products featuring Lock&Fold technology install faster, so you can enjoy your new floor sooner with less interruption to your home.

     

  • Though Armstrong laminate floors do not require acclimation, depending on storage conditions, it is advised that product being installed be within the same temperature range of room during service conditions.

  • No additional underlayment is necessary. Moisture barrier sheeting is only required for installing over concrete.

  • Install parallel to incoming light from any windows or if lighting is not a concern, parallel to the longest wall in the room.

  • Armstrong Flooring offers a line of coordinated trim and molding pieces for most of our floors. Choose from:

    • Quarter round moldings – Finishes the space where the laminate flooring meets the wall, cabinets or steps.
    • Multi-purpose reducer – Provides a smooth transition from laminate flooring to another type of flooring of a lower height. Also finishes the space where laminate flooring ends against a vertical surface and where quarter round cannot be used.
    • T-Molding – Used as a transition piece to join laminate flooring between two rooms, often in doorways or passageways, or to join laminate flooring to another type of flooring of the same height. It can also be used to conceal expansion joints.
    • Threshold (baby threshold) – Conceals flooring edges against sliding glass doors, carpet and tile, and along wall bases and in doorways. Also provides a smooth transition between floors of different heights.
    • Flush stair nose – Finishes the flooring edge at staircases, step downs and landings. Connects at the same level as the flooring for a smooth, finished look.
    • Overlap step nose – Used where the flooring meets a step down or landing. Has a slightly raised profile that overlaps the flooring surface.

    Learn more about flooring trim and molding.

  • We recommend cleaning and maintaining your laminate floor with Armstrong Flooring Hardwood & Laminate Floor Cleaner or Bruce Hardwood & Laminate Floor Cleaner.

    You can locate the Bruce brand at your local home center store (Lowe’s, Home Depot, Ace, True Value, Menards) in the flooring section — not in the cleaning supplies. You can also purchase through many independent flooring retailers.


    Learn more about how to clean laminate floors.                           

  • All rug types are suitable for laminate. Just be sure the mat is colorfast, non-abrasive and non-staining.

  • Yes, repairs include:

    • Color-blend filler for minor chips
    • Touch-up kit for scratches
    • Board replacement
  • Laminate floors have two characteristics which can cause dirt or dried residue on the surface to appear more visible. Many laminate floors have smooth surfaces of consistent gloss, and many laminate floors tend to have a monochromatic look, meaning one color or hue.  Medium or dark colored floors can also accentuate surface residues.

    Film, streaking, haziness, smudges or spotting on a laminate surface can be caused by:

    • Non-recommended maintenance products
    • Using cleaning products not intended for floors, such as fabric softener
    • Using a dirty mop
    • Not sweeping, dust mopping or vacuuming prior to cleaning
    • Allowing liquids to dry on the floor without wiping (drying the surface after it is sprayed is the best way to eliminate spotting or streaking)
    • Hard water
    • Oils from hands, feet or animal paws

    To remove these types of residues:

    • First, vacuum, sweep or dust mop the floor
    • Then, apply Bruce or Armstrong Flooring Hardwood & Laminate Floor Cleaner with a clean terry cloth or microfiber mop
  • No. Laminate flooring cannot be sanded or refinished.

FAQs — Luxury Vinyl & Engineered Stone

  • Luxury vinyl (also referred to as luxury vinyl tile (LVT) and luxury vinyl plank (LVP), is a type of premium flooring. We describe products as luxury vinyl because they showcase premium visuals, warranties and installation options that cannot be found in our standard peel-and-stick vinyl tiles.

  • Our Vivero, Luxe Plank, and PRYZM rigid core flooring collections are all 100% waterproof, so planks and tiles won’t swell, buckle or lose integrity when exposed to water. This makes them perfect for any room, including kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, mud rooms and basements.

    NOTE: Only the flooring material itself is 100% waterproof. Moisture and flooding can still affect the subfloor/substrate beneath, causing the installation to fail. However, flooring material can be removed, allowed to dry and reinstalled.

  • Alterna engineered stone, Luxe Plank, Vivero and PRYZM rigid core flooring can be installed on all levels of the home and over most subfloors. We recommend reviewing the complete installation instructions for more information.

  • We recommend using one of Armstrong Flooring’s pre-mixed and color-coordinated grout options when installing Alterna tile with grout. Our pre-mixed grout is ready to use, requires no sealing, is stain resistant, resists cracking and can handle light foot traffic within 24 hours of installation.

  • If wet: Use a clean, white cloth to lightly rub the area with neutral detergent and water. Dry the area thoroughly.

    If dry: Lightly dampen a clean, white cloth with mineral spirits. Blot the affected area (do not rub), changing the area of the cloth frequently so you don’t accidentally reapply any residue to the floor. Once the residue is removed, rinse the area with clean, warm water and do not walk on the floor for 30 minutes.

  • Yes, as long as they are labeled “colorfast” by the manufacturer. We recommend non-staining, vinyl-backed mats or woven rugs. We do not recommend the use of rubber- or latex-backed mats because the chemical (antioxidant) used to keep the backing from becoming brittle can permanently stain your floor.

  • We recommend using Armstrong Flooring Once 'n Done no-rinse floor cleaner. We do not recommend detergents, abrasive cleaners or “mop and shine” products. Never use paste wax or solvent-based polishes on your luxury vinyl floor.

  • We recommend using Armstrong Flooring New Beginnings Resilient Deep Cleaning Stripper.

    NOTE: New Beginnings floor stripper should not be used with Alterna installed with premixed sanded acrylic grout. New Beginnings can actually damage the grout.

  • A liquid disinfectant that you properly dilute would be acceptable, and will not harm the floor.

    Follow the manufacturer’s directions for dilution and application — some disinfectants should be allowed to remain on the floor to kill germs. Because disinfectants are wet-mopped onto the floor, and are kept wet for up to 20 minutes and not always rinsed, proper precautions should be made before allowing normal traffic.

    NOTE:  If this procedure is done frequently, you may want to use Armstrong Flooring New Beginnings Resilient Deep Cleaning Stripper to remove any possible buildup.

    Also, frequently applying disinfectants that are not properly diluted can result in discoloration and a more slippery surface. This topical buildup can also be removed with New Beginnings.

  • Maintaining 3-5 coats of a recommend floor polish (Armstrong Flooring Satinkeeper or Armstrong Flooring Shinekeeper) on the surface of your vinyl tile floor will help minimize moisture from penetrating the joints.

    NOTE: Polish should not be used on Alterna luxury vinyl floors that are installed with grout. The polish will not affect the grout or the flooring — however, if the floor needs to be stripped with a recommended floor stripper, the stripping solution can damage the premixed acrylic grout.

FAQs- Vinyl Sheet

  • Vinyl sheet flooring can be installed on all levels of the home, and in any room you like.                                                            

  • Armstrong Flooring does not sell any of our products direct, so we are unable to offer any sort of pricing or estimates for the material or installation. For pricing information and to purchase material, please contact a local retailer in your area.

  • The condition of your subfloor and the vinyl sheet product you purchase will help to determine what installation options are available to you, as well as the cost of that installation. We recommend speaking to a local retailer for more details regarding your particular project.

  • Treat your seams with seam coater. This creates a virtually seamless floor and prevents the seams from opening.

  • If wet: Use a clean, white cloth to lightly rub the area with neutral detergent and water. Dry the area thoroughly.

    If dry: Lightly dampen a clean, white cloth with mineral spirits. Blot the affected area (do not rub), changing the area of the cloth frequently so you don’t accidentally reapply any residue to the floor. Once the residue is removed, rinse the area with clean, warm water and do not walk on the floor for 30 minutes.

  • Yes, as long as they are labeled “colorfast” by the manufacturer. We recommend non-staining, polypropylene-backed mats or woven rugs. We do not recommend the use of rubber- or latex-backed mats because the chemical (antioxidant) used to keep the backing from becoming brittle can permanently stain your floor.                  

  • No waxing is necessary. That’s the beauty and ease offered by Armstrong Flooring’s vinyl floors. Our vinyl floors resist staining and scuffing and are easy to clean.

  • We recommend using Armstrong Flooring Once 'n Done no-rinse floor cleaner. Armstrong Flooring Shinekeeper Floor Polish can be used to renew your floor's shine. We do not recommend detergents, abrasive cleaners or “mop and shine” products. Never use paste wax or solvent-based polishes on your vinyl floor.

  • Armstrong Flooring discourages introducing heat and moisture as this may damage your floor. We have not tested steam mopping, so you may want to contact the manufacturer of the steam mop for their warranty information and recommendations.

    If you want to use this product, we suggest getting a written guarantee from the manufacturer that their product will not damage your floor. As with any other product not specifically recommended by Armstrong Flooring, if damage occurs as a result of using the product, it will not be covered under the warranty.

  • We recommend using Armstrong Flooring New Beginnings Resilient Deep Cleaning Stripper.

  • A liquid disinfectant that you properly dilute would be acceptable, and will not harm the floor.

    Follow the manufacturer’s directions for dilution and application — some disinfectants should be allowed to remain on the floor to kill germs. Because disinfectants are wet-mopped onto the floor, and are kept wet for up to 20 minutes and not always rinsed, proper precautions should be made before allowing normal traffic.

    NOTE:  If this procedure is done frequently, you may want to use Armstrong Flooring New Beginnings Resilient Deep Cleaning Stripper to remove any possible buildup.

    Also, frequently applying disinfectants that are not properly diluted can result in discoloration and a more slippery surface. This topical buildup can also be removed with New Beginnings.

FAQs- Vinyl Tile

  • You'll need:

    • tape measure
    • pencil
    • chalk line and chalk
    • carpenter's square or metal ruler
    • sharp utility knife

    Learn more about vinyl tile installation.                                             

  • No. Self-stick vinyl tiles are backed with specially formulated pressure-sensitive adhesive.                        

  • It is possible in some instances, but please refer to your specific vinyl tile installation instructions for complete information.

  • Rolling vinyl flooring after installation is always recommended. Be sure to roll the flooring from the center to the outside edges. With 12" x 12" vinyl tiles, rolling activates the pressure-sensitive adhesive on the back of each tile, ensuring the bond to the subfloor.                              

  • If wet: Use a clean, white cloth to lightly rub the area with neutral detergent and water. Dry the area thoroughly.

    If dry: Lightly dampen a clean, white cloth with mineral spirits. Blot the affected area (do not rub), changing the area of the cloth frequently so you don’t accidentally reapply any residue to the floor. Once the residue is removed, rinse the area with clean, warm water and do not walk on the floor for 30 minutes.

  • Armstrong Flooring manufactures its vinyl tile to the tightest and squarest tolerances in the industry, creating the snuggest fit. We recommend acclimating the tile in the room where they are to be installed 48 hours prior to installation. A tight initial installation of acclimated tiles should maintain tight seams over time.                          

  • Armstrong Flooring’s vinyl tile can be installed on all levels of the home and in any room you like.

  • No-wax means your floor has a factory applied coating which does not require buffing or waxing. We recommend vacuuming or sweeping regularly, and washing as needed with Armstrong Flooring Once 'n Done floor cleaner.              

  • Vinyl flooring is susceptible to damage from UV rays, which can cause it to discolor. We suggest closing blinds or curtains on windows on extremely sunny days to minimize the effects of UV rays.

  • Maintaining 3 to 5 coats of a recommend floor polish (Armstrong Flooring Satinkeeper or Armstrong Flooring Shinekeeper) on the surface of your vinyl tile floor will help prevent moisture from penetrating the joints.

  • We recommend ensuring that your initial flooring purchase includes several extra vinyl tiles in case you ever need to replace one. Follow these steps to remove and replace a damaged tile:

    1. Heat the damaged tile with a hair dryer until pliable
    2. Score the tile with a sharp utility knife on a diagonal
    3. At the diagonal cut, pry the tile out of position with a putty knife
    4. Scrape the adhesive residue from the subfloor
    5. Place a new tile into position

  • Use a hair dryer or a heat gun (on the low setting) to heat the tile surface. This will re-emulsify the adhesive on the back of the tile. Follow with additional weight on the surface of the tile for 24 hours to help the tile adhere to the subfloor. Additional adhesive is not recommended.

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