‘Buy Once, Cry Once - Buy Cheap, Buy Twice’
Recently the market has been flooded with a wave of cheap flooring products. I call it a wave because as most waves, they form, roll into the beach, and then disappear…
Presently you can find many cheap flooring products on Gumtree, Facebook Market Place & the likes, so I thought it is time to call these products & suppliers out for what they are, a waste of hard earned money.
But first, let me tell you a little about my background to enable you to make an informed conclusion. I own a flooring business and I have two showrooms, one on the Gold Coast & one on the Sunshine Coast. I'm not a fly buy nighter with a Gumtree account and Facebook page. I deal with all the best suppliers in the country, and world for that matter, and I have put in as much research in to products as probably anyone else in the industry. My stores have one of the biggest range of flooring brands you will find in any store. Before I sell a product, I research it and let the research decide whether I should sell it or not. At the end of the day, if the quality isn’t there and the warranty isn’t worth the paper it’s written on, then it’s a NO from me. My business model is not to sell you what I make the most profit on, but rather to sell you what you want and is best suited for your space. I’ve looked in to bringing my own products in and I decided not to, because it is too risky.
So now you know my business model and ethics, let’s look at the the cheap products flooding the market and why you shouldn’t go anywhere near them.
Firstly, let’s start with quality of these products. When I was looking in to importing products, I was negotiating the price, as you do, and I was continually told, “sure, I can do it for that price but the quality goes down. If you want the best quality you pay this much, but if you want to pay X amount, then this is the quality you get”. Now, if you are a novice importer of flooring, and you are a small business, well what do you really know about the manufacturing of a Vinyl Plank or Hybrid Flooring. Do these guys really understand which Polymers work best with virgin plastic and which work best with recycled plastic? When a manufacturer reduces the quality of a plank, what does it do to the stability of the plank? The stability of these types of flooring is crucial and should be researched, developed, and tested by scientist, not novice importers. Do you really think Johnny with a Facebook page selling you flooring at a great price has done the due diligence on the stability of the product?
Which bring me to stability, the most spoken of word in the flooring industry. Product Stability is what makes or breaks a product, consequently it makes or breaks a brand. When we talk about stability in the flooring industry, we are referring to the ability of a product to resist thermal expansion & contraction. Like most building materials, Vinyl & Hybrid will expand when heated & contract when cooled. Good dimensional stability of a flooring product is the hallmark of a quality product, and therefore the poorer the quality, the more expansion & contraction. So what does this mean?
If I install poor quality planks, they will expand and contract once installed. This equates to gaps in your floor. Your floor will look great when first installed, but as soon as there are fluctuations in temperatures, like summer to winter, gaps will appear. Gaps in your flooring occur because of a lack of stability, but this can be overcome sometimes by installation methods, such as acclimatisation of planks & using permanent bond glues instead of pressure sensitive glues. However, the beauty of a Looselay product is you can replace a plank from anywhere in the floor in less than a minute. Many suppliers are now insisting on permanent bonding glues for installation because they have had too many warranty issues with the stability of their plank. When I refer to suppliers, I am referring to big brands, real suppliers, not Johnny from Facebook. These big suppliers have developed their products extensively and still they have issues with stability, you can’t stop it, but you can minimise it to a tolerable level, which they have done. Stability isn’t the only trait of a poor quality product, there are many factors, cupping, convexing, delaminating, etc. Suppliers have developed their planks and now make them to their own specifications, which they guard with confidentiality agreements and certainly do not share them with Johnny from Facebook.
Warranties. It’s all about warranties. Now Johnny from Facebook is trying to supply a product that looks equal to the big players for $10 - 20/m2 cheaper, so he has to provide the same warranty or no one will buy it. I mean, it’s $20/m2 cheaper and doesn’t have a warranty? Who’s buying that, right? So let’s look at Johnny’s warranty on his inferior product. If Johnny has an issue with his product and he has to replace 20 floors, he is busted, bankrupted, gooonnnneeee. When he is gone, your floor is NOT being replaced and you are living with it or paying to have it replaced. Johnny’s warranty is not worth the paper it’s written on because Johnny can’t back his warranty in the event there is an issue because he simply doesn’t have the money to. Johnny will close his business and you are left with NO WARRANTY.
So buying from a trusted brand is bit like paying a little extra for a built-in insurance plan. You receive a far more superior product and the comfort of knowing the brand will still be around in the event of a warranty claim. When buying from Johnny on Facebook, you really need to ask yourself, will Johnny still be in business in ten years if I have a warranty claim?
When investing in a new floor, it’s really important to choose a product from a reputable brand to protect your investment. If you have any questions, give me a call on 0412 995 872.
Remember, ‘Buy Once, Cry Once - Buy Cheap, Buy Twice’