When it comes time to replace your flooring, hardwood is a preferred material to choose from. It will enhance the look of your home and add a sense of elegance and warmth that other types of flooring simply can’t provide.
It’s also versatile, low maintenance, durable, and cost-effective. It’s also really good with acoustics, so if you’re musically inclined, this is definitely the preferred choice for you. Hardwood is a favorite choice for homeowners as it can help to raise the value of your home. If you come to a point where you’re going to sell your home, studies have shown that prospective home buyers certainly value a natural hardwood look as opposed to carpet.
However, there are questions you should ask potential contractors before installing hardwood floors in your home. Here are a few to get you started on the search.
First, what’s the best type of hardwood flooring for your home? While contractors may have a range of opinions on this, various types of hardwood offer an array of attributes for you to enjoy. And, the type of subfloor you have can be a factor on which choice you want to make.
Different species of wood, such as hickory and maple, offer various designs and performance values. For example, Hickory floors don’t absorb water the way other types of wood do, so they can be easily mopped. As for maple, it’s known to be the most affordable and easiest to maintain. Like any substantial purchase, the potential contractor should be able to weigh the pros and cons of each option with you before you start installing hardwood floors. Make sure you do some research on your own too and be prepared with questions. That way, you can make the best decision for you and your family in the long run.
Next, ask about the validity of the company you are thinking about working with. By that I mean you should vet the contractor. Make sure they are licensed and insured. Heaven forbid an accident were to happen during work, they should be covered on their end. If you don’t ask these questions up front, you could be liable in the wake of an accident. The last thing you need is a personal injury lawsuit on your hands when all you were looking for was to install hardwood floors.
Also, ask for references and call them before committing to any work with the contractors you’re considering. Also, go online and do a search. If you find negative stories, ask the company about your concerns. Remember, there are two sides to every story. But, at the end of the day, if you don’t find yourself completely comfortable with the contractor, they probably aren’t the best fit to be installing hardwood floors in your home.
Ask about the cost. When we say that, we mean all of the costs. Sometimes, contractors charge for an estimate. You should know that ahead of time. Depending on the scope of the project, a lot of furniture may need to be moved to accommodate the work. Is there a cost associated with that? What about the old flooring? How does that get disposed and who pays for that? A true professional who’s been operating for a long time should know how to present the cost. Nobody likes being surprised with hidden fees. If a contractor comes across as secretive, move on and instead work with a company who is upfront about the cost of the project you request.
Ask what your warranty covers, and make sure to have those details before a company begins installing your hardwood floors. Different companies offer different protections, and you need to make sure you’re covered in the event something goes wrong. While some companies offer ten-year warranties, others offer a shorter timeframe with an option to buy additional time.
Also, remember that these contractors want your business, and it’s a competitive work environment. You may be able to negotiate some costs associated with the warranty.
Ask about the required timeframe. While each project differs, contractors should be able to provide you with a rough estimate, as there are factors, such as Mother Nature, which can delay work. Before installing hardwood floors, they should detail exactly what work will be performed and when each aspect of your project will be completed. And, once started, if any surprises should arise altering the timeline, they should keep you informed.
Make sure to ask about matching mold and trim. While this may or may not be an aspect of your project, homeowners often opt to replace their trim when their floors are replaced. For this reasons, it could also be a great opportunity to update your molding as well. While you may hear people use these terms interchangeably, trim is found near the bottom of the wall and often hides any sliver gaps between your flooring and your wall, while molding, often called crown molding, appears at the top of your wall, touching your ceiling.
While some companies are simply flooring experts, they will often replace your trim as well. However, if trim or molding is not their area of expertise, they should at least be able to direct you to another recommended company who will be able to complete this next step for you.
The bottom line is you need to ask questions when speaking with a potential contractor before they are selected to install your hardwood floors. This list should include how long the project is going to take, the costs associated with the work, and references surrounding previous work.
You’re about to make a rather large, important purchase and you want to make sure everything goes down without a hitch. If you put in the time and effort now, you will soon have a home with brand new hardwood flooring that you and your family will enjoy for years to come.