Hardwood flooring is an investment in the elegance, appearance and longevity of a home. The right contractor can install a floor that lasts a long time, while unskilled contractors may miscalculate the requirements for a job and end up wasting materials and worst of all - your money. Homeowners should compare the credentials of flooring contractors and should choose the most skilled and reputable installers for the job. Here are six signs that you have found the right contractor to perform a hardwood flooring installation.
1. Checks Flooring Conditions
Contractors should help homeowners select the best hardwood flooring for a residence. There are many factors that must be kept in mind when determining the best options for each home. For instance, humidity levels and patterns of use are important to take into consideration and questions that a contractor should be asking. If you have wooden vents or hardwood stairs that need to be worked on, they should also check for any pertinent issues that may need to be taken care of. Flooring services may range from advice about preparatory subfloor work to guidance on wood hardness and flooring designs or techniques.
2. Makes a Detailed and Reasonable Estimate
The estimate a contractor provides should account for the size of the rooms in which hardwood flooring will be installed and the cost of materials and labor. Most flooring contractors use a measuring wheel and tape measure to determine the size of a room before factoring in a 10 percent overage to account for waste caused by cutting wood.
A homeowner should determine whether a contractor offers an in-home estimate or will call back later to discuss flooring installation options. If a service charges for an in-home estimate, homeowners should inquire whether this fee will be applied to the purchase price. It is also advisable to settle matters such as responsibility for moving furniture, where saws will be set up and whether old flooring will be removed for free or at a charge.
3. Provides Recent and Older Recommendations
Look for a contractor who can provide testimonials for flooring services. In addition to viewing recent jobs in a portfolio or photos in reviews, a homeowner should seek permission to contact clients who have had hardwood flooring for years.
Seeking feedback about older jobs gives future clients a clearer sense of the longevity of a flooring installation and the willingness of contractors to stand by the quality of their work. It is ideal to contact other clients directly in addition to reading reviews. If a contractor isn’t willing to share their previous work, then they may have something to hide.
4. Presents Proof of Insurance, Licensing and Certification Upon Request
New flooring is a considerable investment. Contractors should be bonded and maintain insurance coverage so that homeowners can trust that they are prepared for risks and are in good financial and legal standing. Review a policy declaration page for information about the amount of coverage and how to make a claim. Be sure to inquire whether workers are employees or subcontractors and request individual declaration pages from the latter.
In case you’re reading this from outside of Asheville, North Carolina, you should be aware that some states require contractors to be licensed. Check to make sure the service you are considering meets all of the requirements to operate in your state. Other factors to consider include membership in respected industry organizations such as the National Wood Flooring Association and a good standing with the Better Business Bureau.
5. Prepares Layouts and Checks Subfloors
A qualified hardwood flooring installer should prepare detailed layouts prior to starting a job. These plans will account for the shape of each room in addition to challenges such as doorways, staircases, fireplaces and other features.
Installers should also inspect the condition of the subfloor prior to flooring installation, as problems may emerge over time if subflooring is not clean, dry and level. Installation may proceed when there is no more than a 4 percent variation in moisture readings between the floor and subfloor, or no more than 2 percent for boards wider than 3 inches.
Homeowners should consider all of these factors when choosing a contractor. Skilled contractors will plan ahead and conduct due diligence on the project. Once the wood and floors are ready, flooring installation shouldn’t take longer than a few days. Compare advice, estimates and reviews to select the best flooring services.