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Armstrong Alterna Review (Read This Before You Buy...)

Updated: Oct 1, 2022

Armstrong Alterna Review

Alterna engineered tile flooring is made by Armstrong Flooring. It is a groutable vinyl floor, available in wood, stone, ceramic, and porcelain looks. Alterna is available in multiple sizes, which include: 12"x24", 16"x16", and 8"x16".. Alterna requires a glue-down installation method. Alterna products are sold by a retail floor covering stores across the United States.

Armstrong Alterna Review

About Alterna Flooring

Alterna has been around for several years and has updated its product line on several different occasions. Alterna is considered to be a hybrid product, somewhere between traditional ceramic tile and luxury vinyl tile.

The concept of Alterna is to offer a product that has the look and feels of ceramic and stone, yet is much easier to install, and very easy to maintain and clean. Alterna comes with a lifetime warranty, which protects the floor from water, scratching, denting, and stain resistance.

Alterna is made by Armstrong Flooring, which sells Alterna to regional floor covering distributors across the United States. These distributors, sell Alterna to various local retail floor covering stores.

Armstrong Flooring has been around for more than 150 years and continues to be a leader in both the residential and commercial floor covering markets. Armstrong Flooring has a very user-friendly website, that talks not only about their company history but also about all of their products, warranties, and installation methods. Armstrong Flooring considers itself to be a very responsible corporate entity, as claimed on its website:

Throughout our history, one of our core values has been to act responsibly by recycling waste and conserving resources wherever possible. We started this effort more than 100 years ago by taking the waste from cork production and using it as a component in linoleum flooring. Today, sustainability continues as a core focus of our business. Our global Sustainability Steering Committee provides governance and sets business direction regarding material sustainability issues. This committee which meets at least quarterly is composed of senior leadership and championed by our CEO. - Armstrong Flooring

Alterna currently has many different product sku's (which could change at any moment) in various sizes and colors. Products are low gloss, and have the option of being installed with or without grout. Alterna requires a full spread adhesive installation method.

Alterna is proudly made in the United States, it is comprised mainly of limestone materials, it is environmentally friendly, and Armstrong promotes Alterna to be a waterproof product, perfect for installation in high moisture areas.

  • Armstrong promotes the following as benefits of Alterna Tile:

  • Stays warmer than ceramic or porcelain tile

  • Quicker installation time

  • Can be easily cut in different patterns during installation

  • Comes with a pre-mixed grout

  • Can be installed over minor sub-floor imperfections

  • No need for a backer board or thin set

  • DIY installation-friendly

Alterna Products

The Alterna is a groutable vinyl tile product line, that resembles wood planks, ceramic, stone, or porcelain tile. Products are sold in a variety of sizes, which include: "12"x24", 16"x16" and 8"x16" tiles.

Unlike stone or ceramic tiles, Alterna has a vinyl composition construction and is less likely to chip or scratch than real tiles. Likewise, Alterna, while having a look of tile and stone, is much warmer on your foot than ceramic tile.

Finding ceramic and porcelain tile installers can be a challenging task for most retail floor covering stores. One of the benefits of Alterna is the ease of installation. Alterna, considered to be an "engineered stone product," is not only incredibly durable and real looking, but it also offers a simple glue-down installation method.

“Rigid core products are different than engineered stone. An engineered tile product like Armstrong Flooring’s Alterna is built on a stone composite base to give it strength, with the rest of the materials providing a level of resilience that sets it apart from ceramic and porcelain,” shared Jeremy Kleinberg, senior product manager for Armstrong Flooring. Armstrong’s engineered stone also has the ability to be grouted, creating a visual that is more authentic to what consumers are looking for in a tile visual." - Floor Covering Weekly

With the different sizes of Alterna, customers can have products installed in a wide assortment of patterns and designs.

“The multiple sizes and shapes available in many Alterna collections allow you to express your personal style with a unique pattern installation. Even a subtle adjustment – like installing on an angle to create a diamond pattern or staggering the tiles like bricks or even including a different design as a border – can dramatically change the look of your room.” - Floor Covering Weekly

Alterna Warranty

As with all floor covering products, you can't read the material on the back of a sample or on a display to understand the product warranty. In order to fully understand what is covered, and what is not covered, you need to download the product warranty. Most companies will have this information on their company website. In the case of Armstrong,

If we take a closer look at the Alterna warranty, it talks at length about the waterproof warranty. Many companies claim their product is "waterproof," but when you look at the warranty, it is clearly not covered. In the Alterna warranty, it states:

When exposed to water, Alterna flooring is waterproof and will not swell, buckle or lose integrity. In the case of standing water or flooding, Alterna flooring will not act as a waterproofing barrier for the subfloor and/or any surrounding structure. Any damage to the subfloor and/or surrounding structure that is caused by standing water or flooding is not covered by this warranty. Armstrong Alterna Warranty

However, this warranty is somewhat confusing, as in the very next paragraph, the warranty states the following, about what is not covered:

"Damage caused by fire, flooding or intentional abuse. Damage caused by vacuum cleaner beater bar, caster wheels, and cutting from sharp objects. – When vacuuming, we recommend using the wand attachment on your vacuum. – Because rolling casters can damage the floor, we do not recommend them." - Armstrong Alterna Warranty

So in one sentence, the warranty says that "flooding" is covered, and in the next sentence, it says that "flooding" is not covered. Which one is correct? We don't know. Our main point here is: when purchasing any floor covering, it is always a good idea to read the full product warranty, and if you are confused about some of the items, ask questions.

Alterna - Frequently Asked Questions

Is Alterna a waterproof floor? It really depends on what you consider "waterproof" to mean. As stated above, the warranty is somewhat confusing. Our thought we are that Alterna is waterproof when it comes to normal household spills. But, if your floor gets flooded, we think it is a 50/50 deal. We would suggest calling your sales representative to find out more information.

What is Armstrong Alterna made of? Alterna is considered to be an "engineered tile." This represents a product line that is a hybrid between ceramic tile and luxury vinyl tile. Alterna is made of about 70% of a limestone mix.

  • What are some of the care and maintenance tips for Armstrong Alterna?

  • When moving appliances or heavy furniture, lay a plywood panel on your floor and “walk” the item across it. This protects your floor from scuffing and tears.

  • Use floor protectors on furniture to reduce indentation. As a general rule of thumb, the heavier the item, the wider the floor protector is needed.

  • Be careful with rolling casters. They can damage the floor. Therefore, we do not recommend them. If you choose to use them, the double-wheel type is the best option.

  • Place a walk-off mat at outside entrances to reduce the amount of dirt brought into your home. We do not recommend the use of rubber- or latex-backed mats (except where noted) because the chemical (antioxidant) used to keep the backing from becoming brittle can permanently stain your floor. We suggest a nonstaining vinyl-backed mat or a woven rug that is colorfast. Most of these products are identified as “colorfast” by the manufacturer.

  • All Armstrong floor care products have been specifically developed to care for Armstrong floors. You may purchase Armstrong floor care products at your local flooring retailer.

Conclusion - Armstrong Alterna Review

We have given Armstrong Alterna a rating of 3 1/2 stars. Alterna is a very good product line, that has an awesome array of colors and styles. Having the option to grout the product, is certainly an added bonus.

Armstrong Flooring, the manufacturer of Alterna, is also a very good and reputable company. Armstrong is a leader in the floor covering world, and they do a great job of standing behind their products. They have a fabulous website, along with a customer service phone number that people can call for assistance.

The one negative about the product line is the installation method. In today's world, many customers want products that click together. With Alterna, it is a full-spread glue-down product. This has become a negative for many retail customers.

At the end of the day, we think Alterna is a great product, and it has received many positive reviews. If you're looking for a hard surface floor, Alterna would be a good option to start your shopping process.

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