Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

Q: Can I buy from Great Lakes Flooring?

A: Great Lakes Flooring does not sell directly to consumers. We only sell our hardwood flooring through Menards. Please use our Find a Dealer tool to locate your closest Menards store.

If a Menards store isn’t listed in your area, the product will not be available for purchase at any other retail location.

Hardwood FAQs

Q: What are the benefits of hardwood flooring?

A: There are several benefits of hardwood flooring:

  • Value: Hardwood floors add value to your home because of their beauty and durability.
  • Natural Beauty: Hardwood offers a variety of grain patterns, natural color variations and the beauty of a natural material. Every plank is unique.
  • Refinishing: Hardwood floors can be refinished and re-sanded, depending on the thickness of the wear layer.
  • Durability: Hardwood flooring will last for the life of your home with proper care and maintenance.
  • Sustainability: Hardwood flooring is a natural, sustainable material that will biodegrade at the end of its long lifespan.

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

A: Yes. Hardwood flooring is a natural product made from wood timber, so you should expect to find natural color variations in the wood. Depending on the style and species of the flooring, there may be more knots, color variations, and mineral streaks.

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. Because of its greater moisture sensitivity, solid wood flooring needs to be installed with a nail-down method on or above grade.

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.

Q: Why do I need to acclimate the flooring to my space?

A: Wood is a natural material that expands and contracts with varying moisture conditions, and the moisture conditions in your home may differ from where the flooring has been stored. Before installing, it is important to place the boxes on a raised surface in the room the product will be installed, 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, causing unsightly gaps, cracks, cupping, or panelizing.

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 void your warranty.

Q: I have used an oil-based 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. If a match isn’t listed, you can take an unfinished plank of the correct wood species along with an original stained piece to a local PPG retailer. The store can color match the stain during your visit.

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: All wood species are light sensitive, some more so than others. This means that the wood darkens or lightens over time with UV exposure. 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 Flooring follows the guidelines established by the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA), which allows the installation of engineered White Oak or Red Oak hardwood flooring.

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: The proper moisture level of wood flooring is maintained between 35-55 percent humidity and 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Q: Do I need a moisture inhibitor or underlayment under my flooring?

A: When nailing or stapling down a SOLID or ENGINEERED floor, Great Lakes requires that an acceptable moisture inhibiter such as 15 lb. asphalt saturated felt, Silicone Vapor Shield paper, or Aquabar ®B be placed between the hardwood flooring and the wood subfloor to help slow down moisture flow from subfloors.

If an ENGINEERED floor (click or tongue and groove) is floated, a foam underlayment designed for hardwood flooring should cover the subfloor. If installing over concrete, also install a 6-mil poly film first (unless the underlayment you are using includes a 6-mil poly layer).

No underlayment is required if an ENGINEERED floor is glued down.

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

A: Please click here to be redirected to Moldings.


Q: What is SPC made of?

A: SPC flooring is made of several different layers:

  • Vinyl Top Coat – This is the top coating of the flooring. This waterproof layer is very thin and helps to protect the wear layer from scuffs and scratches.
  • Wear Layer – This transparent layer is stain-resistant and protects the film layer from scratches and wear from high traffic. It is underneath the top coat layer.
  • Vinyl/Film Layer – This layer shows the color style and design of the floor and comes in various patterns. Films often duplicate the natural look of hardwood as well as stone and tile.
  • SPC Core – The core is made of limestone powder and stabilizers to create a waterproof core that is dimensionally stable.
  • Attached Underlayment – Most SPC vinyl floors come with an attached underlayment pad that helps ease the installation process and improves sound reduction.

Q: What are the benefits of SPC flooring?

A: There are several benefits of SPC flooring:

  • Waterproof: SPC flooring is 100% waterproof and can be installed in a variety of spaces. For best performance, we recommend a temperature and humidity-controlled environment.
  • Stable: SPC flooring is more stable and can be installed in areas with changing environments and temperatures.
  • Stylish: SPC flooring offers a wide variety of up-to-date looks, textures, and styles.
  • DIY-Friendly: SPC flooring has a click-lock installation system that makes your installation quick and easy. There is no need for glue, staples, or nails when installing this flooring.
  • Comfortable: Due to the thickness of the plank and the attached underlayment, SPC flooring feels more comfortable than a traditional vinyl floor.
  • Quiet: SPC has a dense core and padded underlayment, which create a quieter sound when walking on the floor.
  • Affordable: SPC flooring is budget friendly. You will find a variety of pricing options depending on the brand and any additional features of the flooring.
  • Low Maintenance: Maintenance is easy with SPC. The planks can be cleaned by regularly sweeping and mopping with a vinyl-approved floor cleaner.

Q: How should I clean and care for my vinyl floor?

A: Please click here to be directed to vinyl floor care.

Q: What kind of carpet pad can I use for my new floor?

A: We do not recommend any specific carpet pads. However, make sure your padding is 100% virgin material, non-petroleum mix. Some recycled material contains 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: Vinyl flooring is not recommended for outdoor use. UV rays from the sun and constant changes in weather will damage the floor over time. Using vinyl flooring outdoors voids the manufacturer’s warranty.

Q: Will pets’ nails scratch vinyl flooring?
A: Vinyl flooring has a protective wear layer that will help prevent scratches; however, no floor is 100% scratch proof. We recommend purchasing the thickest wear layer available and keeping pets’ nails trimmed on a regular basis to help lessen the number of scratches.

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, we recommend using a vapor barrier underneath your vinyl floor. This will prevent moisture from coming up through the concrete floor into your space.

Q: Can cabinets be placed directly on vinyl flooring?

A: Vinyl flooring rests on subfloors which often expand and contract with temperature variations. Great Lakes Vinyl Flooring is a floating floor and needs to be able to move freely with the subfloor as the temperature changes seasonally. For this reason, Great Lakes Vinyl cannot be installed under cabinets or kitchen islands.

Q: Will vinyl flooring expand or contract?

A: Unless it is under extreme temperature conditions, vinyl flooring will not significantly expand or contract. At the same time, vinyl needs to be able to move with the subfloor and surrounding environment, which will shift and change with the seasons. Leave an expansion gap equal to the thickness of the flooring around all vertical obstructions and walls to allow for proper movement.

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

A: Yes, the wheels on rolling desk chairs can cause scratching over time. We recommend that you purchase a flooring protector to place underneath any rolling desk chairs.

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

A: Coordinating trim pieces for each Great Lakes Vinyl Flooring product can be found on the product page on our site or on

Q: What is an IXPE pad?

A: IXPE (Irradiated Cross-Linked PolyEthelene) is the latest advancement in foam technology that is 100% waterproof and resistant to mildew, mold, rot, and bacteria. This closed-cell foam offers protection against moisture and absorbs shock, which is beneficial for 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 known in the industry as the top luxury vinyl flooring. It is sometimes called engineered vinyl flooring.

SPC (Stone-Plastic Composite / Stone-Polymer Composite) is also known as Rigid Core Luxury Vinyl flooring. It is a waterproof material that contains an ultra-dense stone plastic core for stability.

LVF (Luxury Vinyl Flooring) is the overall term for vinyl flooring. Both WPC & SPC fall under this category; however, in industry terminology, LVF is luxury vinyl flooring that is not waterproof and does not have a rigid core. LVF is usually installed with a glue down or interlocking method.

Q: What is LVP and LVT?

A: LVP (Luxury Vinyl Planks) indicates the shape of the vinyl floor. LVP is made in the shape of wood planks and often features a wood look.

LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile) likewise indicates the shape. LVT is shaped in smaller, identically shaped tiles and often features a stone look.

Q: Are vinyl flooring and linoleum the same?

A: Vinyl flooring and linoleum are not the same. Linoleum is made of natural materials with anti-static and anti-microbial properties. It requires professional installation and needs to be sealed every year.

Vinyl flooring has three forms: sheet, plank, and tile. Each has multiple layers of construction for maximum stability and durability, and each form is DIY friendly.