Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQ’s

Q: Can I buy directly from Great Lakes Wood Floors?

A: Great Lakes Wood Floors does not sell directly to consumers. We only sell our hardwood flooring through distributor companies that make our products available to dealers or retailers. Please use our Find a Dealer tool to locate a dealer near you.
If a dealer isn’t listed in your area, please contact us and we will put you in touch with your local distributor.

Q: What are the benefits of hardwood flooring?

A: There are four benefits of hardwood flooring:
1. Hardwood floors can add value to your home because of their beauty and durability.
2. Hardwood offers a variety of grain patterns, natural color variations and the beauty of a natural material.
3. Hardwood floors are easy to clean.
4. Hardwood floors are ideal for allergy sufferers because they do not promote dust or harbor dust mites.

Q: Can I expect my floor to have color variations?

A: Yes. Hardwood flooring is made from wood timber and is a natural product, so you should expect to find natural color variations in the wood. Although lower grades of flooring tend to have more character blemishes, color variations are visible in all grades of wood. Exotic floors will have much more color variation than what is found in domestic species.

Q: What is the difference between solid and engineered flooring?

A: Solid wood is milled from a single 3/4-inch thick piece of hardwood. Due to its thickness, a solid hardwood floor can be sanded and refinished over several generations of use. Solid wood flooring expands and contracts with relative humidity changes in your home. Installers compensate for this movement by leaving an expansion gap between the floor and the wall. Baseboard molding or quarter round is generally installed around the edges to hide the extra space.
Engineered flooring is produced using five to nine layers of hardwood, with each layer stacked in a cross-grain configuration and bonded together using heat and pressure. As a result of this process, engineered floors are less likely to be affected by changes in humidity and can be installed in all levels of the home.

Q: Why is it important to avoid installing all the planks from one box and then moving to the next one?

A: Different boxes of the same hardwood can vary noticeably in color and grain, so mixing the pieces from different boxes will ensure that shade variations look random after installation. Also, before starting, take time to place the planks from varying boxes around your room, giving them a minimum of 48 hours to acclimate to the interior temperature and atmosphere. Otherwise, the boards may expand or shrink considerably after installation.

Q: What should I use to clean my floor?

A: Please click here to be redirected to Floor Care.

Q: Can I use a steam cleaner on my Great Lakes flooring?

A: Never use a steam cleaner on the flooring, because it will damage the product and could void your warranty.

Q: I have used an oil base cleaner. How do I get back my floors’ original shine?

A: Please contact the manufacturer of the cleaner to find out how it can be safely removed.

Q: Where can I find a stain match to my hardwood flooring?

A: Please click here to be redirected to Stain Matching.

Q: I have glue left on my floor from installation. How do I remove it?

A: Because there are a wide variety of installation glues available, we recommend that you contact the specific glue manufacturer involved to find out the safest way for removing the product from your floor.

Q: Can I apply polyurethane to my prefinished floor?

A: Never add a polyurethane coat to your prefinished floor. Doing so will result in an uneven finish and void the product’s warranty. Some of our customers have tried to apply an extra coat of polyurethane and were so displeased with the results that their floors had to be sanded and refinished by a professional.

Q: The floor beneath my rug is lighter than the exposed floor. What can I do?

A: Some floors are light sensitive, meaning that the wood darkens over time. It may take six months to a year (depending on the species) for floors to reach their full rich color. To eliminate obvious tone differences, it’s best to rotate rugs and furniture periodically so that floors get equal amounts of sun exposure. Eventually, any variations in color tones will fade away.

Q: When ordering hardwood flooring, how much extra is needed to allow for waste?

A: Add 5 percent to 11 percent for waste and cuts, depending on your skill level and the layout of the area.

Q: Can I install hardwood over a radiant heat system?

A: Great Lakes Wood Floors follows National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) guidelines when installing over radiant heat, which allows installation of 3/8″ or more of engineered OAK hardwood flooring. NWFA also recommends solid riffed and quartered oak to be installed over radiant heat.

Q: How does moisture affect my hardwood flooring?

A: Excessive moisture can lead to numerous changes to your floor, such as cupping, buckling or cracking.

Q: What is the Proper Moisture level of wood flooring?

A: Please click here to be redirected to Answer.

Q: Do I need a moisture barrier for an above grade flooring installation?

A: Yes. We recommend that a vapor barrier of 15-pound felt paper be placed between the hardwood flooring and the wood subfloor to prevent any moisture from getting to the floor.

Q: What are the different moldings and how are they applied?

A: Please click here to be redirected to Moldings.

Q: Are trim pieces available to match Great Lakes Vinyl Flooring?

A: Coordinating trim pieces for each Great Lakes Vinyl Flooring product can be purchased from the store where you purchased the product at.

Vinyl Products FAQ’s

Q: What kind of carpet pad can I use that will not harm my new floor?

A: There is not a specific recommendation that we have. However, if you are using any pad make sure it is 100% virgin material, non-petroleum mix. Some recycled material has content that is old dyed foam that can discolor wood or vinyl if it sits on top for extended periods of time.

Q: Can I put vinyl flooring outdoors?

A: It is not recommended to use vinyl flooring for outdoor use. The UV rays from the sun and the constant changes with the weather will damage the floor over time. Using vinyl flooring for outdoor use also voids the manufacturer’s warranty.

Q: Will pet’s nails scratch vinyl flooring?

A: Vinyl flooring does have a protective wear layer that will help prevent the flooring from scratches, however no floor is 100% scratch proof. We recommend keeping pet’s nails trimmed on a regular basis to help lessen the number of scratches that will occur and to purchase the thickest wear layer available.

Q: Can I put vinyl flooring in my basement?

A: Waterproof vinyl flooring can be installed on any level of the home, including basements. If your subfloor is concrete, it is recommended to use a vapor barrier underneath your vinyl floor.

Q: Can heavy appliances be placed directly on vinyl flooring?

A: Heavy appliances and heavy furniture can be placed on vinyl flooring; however, it is recommended that you place pads or protectors underneath them to prevent scratching on the flooring.
For heavy appliances, use a non-staining large surface floor protector. It is also recommended that you glue down the vinyl flooring in areas of larger appliances and heavy cabinets.
For heavy furniture, felt furniture pads are the best products to be placed under the legs as rubber can stain the vinyl flooring.

Q: Do I need a protector on vinyl flooring for a rolling desk chair?

A: Yes, the wheels are on rolling desk chair can cause scratching over time. It is recommended that you purchase a flooring protector to place on your vinyl floor if you are using a rolling desk chair.

Q: Will vinyl flooring expand?

A: Unless it is under extreme conditions, vinyl flooring will not expand or contract. If you are worried about extreme conditions where you live, you can leave a small expansion gap around the perimeter of your room.

Q: What is IXPE pad?

A: IXPE (Irradiated Cross-Linked PolyEthelene) is the latest advancement in foam technology that is 100% waterproof and is resistant to mildew, mold, rot and bacteria. This closed-cell foam offers protection against moisture and is shock absorption which is beneficial to sound control.

Q: What is the difference between WPC, LVF, and SPC?

A: WPC (Wood-Plastic Composite Vinyl Flooring / Waterproof Core Vinyl Flooring) is 100% waterproof and is known in the industry as the top in luxury vinyl flooring. It can also be called engineered vinyl flooring.
SPC (Stone-Plastic Composite / Stone-Polymer Composite) is also known as Rigid Core Luxury Vinyl flooring and is also waterproof. The stone plastic core is ultra-dense.
LVF (Luxury Vinyl Flooring) this is the overall term for vinyl flooring. WPC & SPC fall under this category however, in the industry LVF is luxury vinyl flooring that is not waterproof and does not have a rigid core that is usually installed with a glue down or interlocking installation mechanism.

Q: What is LVP and LVT?

A: LVP (Luxury Vinyl Planks) this is the shape of the vinyl floor; it often features a wood look image.
LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile) this is the shape of the vinyl floor. Usually LVT will feature a stone look and will have the look of stone flooring.

Q: Are vinyl flooring and linoleum the same?

A: Vinyl flooring and linoleum are not the same. Linoleum is made of natural materials, anti-static properties, and anti-microbial. It requires professional installation and needs to be sealed every year.
LVF has three forms: sheet, plank and tile. Each has multiple layers of construction and can is DIY friendly.

Q: What is SPC made of?

A: SPC flooring is made of several different layers:
Wear Layer – this is the top coating of the flooring. It is transparent and helps the top layer of the floor be scratch and stain resistant.
Vinyl Top Coat – This layer is very thin and is on every SPC floor. It’s waterproof and is the pattern, texture and look of the floor.
SPC Core – The core is made of limestone powder and stabilizers to create a waterproof core and a core that is dimensionally stable.
Attached Underlayment – Most SPC vinyl floors come with an attached underlayment pad that helps ease the installation process and helps with sound reduction.
Benefits of SPC Vinyl Flooring
Waterproof: SPC flooring is 100% waterproof and can be installed in any room of your home or office space.
Stability in Temperature Fluctuations: SPC flooring is more stable in environments with fluctuations in temperature changes. This means that the flooring will work well in cabins, homes with AC units and in homes with fluctuation in humidity.
Appearance: SPC flooring offers a large variety of looks, textures and styles.
DIY Installation: SPC flooring is easy to install yourself with a click-lock installation system. There is no need for glue, staple or nails when installing this flooring.
Comfort: Due to the thickness of the plank and the attached underlayment, SPC flooring is going to feel more comfortable than a traditional vinyl floor.
Sound: SPC has a dense core, because of that you will have a quieter sound when walking on the floor.
Affordability: SPC flooring is budget friendly. You will find a variety of pricing depending on the brand your purchase and the additional features that the flooring comes with.
Easy Maintenance and Cleaning: Maintenance is easy with SPC, the planks can be cleaned with regular sweeping and mopping with a vinyl approved floor cleaner.