When you consider hardwood floor installation, you’re not just making a quick decision. This is a long-term investment you’re making into your home, and you need to know your options and the ramifications behind each element. That’s why it’s important to ask the following 10 questions.
What type of hardwood is best for my home?
There are many different types of hardwood that can be considered when preparing for installation. You need to know what is most important to you. According to DIY Network, the best hardwood floors are made with wood species that are readily available and — you guessed it — very hard. Oak flooring, maple flooring, and cherry flooring are all good choices. Other species include bamboo (which is actually a grass), walnut, ash, and mahogany.
What is the cost?
Laminate is your cheapest option at $3-$7 per square foot. Right behind it is ceramic or porcelain tile at $4-$12 per square foot and engineered wood for $4-18 per square foot. Regular wood starts out as priciest floors at $6-$15 per square foot.
Do you charge for an estimate?
Some contractors will reach into your pocket as soon as they enter your front door. Make sure you know all the facts, including whether or not they charge for an estimate. While that may not be the ultimate deciding factor on who does your floors, you want to know where every penny is going, especially if you’re on a tight budget.
Are you insured and certified to install my flooring?
Do not overlook this step. You need to protect yourself in case something goes wrong, and that’s what insurance is for. If you trust someone else’s word (who could be a friend of the contractor), it could come back to bite you. Make sure they provide the appropriate documentation. Proceeding with an uncertified or uninsured contractor is not advisable in any business venture.
Can you provide me references and testimonials?
This is another key component to the process when deciding who will do your hardwood floor installation. Even if referred to the contractor by a friend, you want to see iron clad testimonials. It’s okay if there are a couple that aren’t perfect because that proves the contractor is being honest with you. If they have a legitimate explanation about the negative comments, then it’s up to you to be the judge and see if you want to do business with them. Call the references too, because then you can hear some thoughts from people who were once in the same position as you.
What can you tell me about moisture in my area and how that may affect my hardwood floor installation in the long term?
It’s no secret that moisture and hardwood flooring don’t mix, and sometimes, geography plays into it. Local contractors should know the area, especially if they’re experienced, and they can give you the low-down on what to expect with your flooring. The good ones should also give you some tips on how to combat moisture or even take some preventative measures to fight moisture before it even becomes an issue in your home. Depending on your area, it’s just one of those things you have to stay on top of. If you’re lazy and don’t do your due diligence, it could come back to bite you in the long run.
How is the old flooring disposed? Is there an additional charge?
Much like the question asked earlier about there being a cost for an estimate, this is one of those things that you have to ask beforehand. Some contractors take the old flooring and dispose of it themselves for no charge, but that’s not the case with everyone. This way, if your contractor is one of the ones who charge, you won’t be surprised. Also, you can play hardball sometimes and negotiate, and some may be willing to waive such a fee to ensure they get your business.
Who moves all the furniture, electronics, etc. before installation?
This is one people don’t usually forget because everyone worries about their valuables during construction. Sometimes, it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to move everything prior to the construction team’s arrival, but other times, it’s a package deal and the contractors do everything themselves. Whether there is a fee or not, this is a necessary evil, because your valuables need to be protected during the overhaul with your home’s hardwood floor installation.
What does the warranty cover?
A lot of times, you’ll get in writing the complete breakdown of what the warranty covers. READ IT! If anything is unclear, ask the contractor before construction begins. You don’t want to get into a situation where your wood flooring has a problem and it’s not covered. You need to know exactly what you’re getting yourself into, both financially and logistically. If you fail to read the paperwork, and you have issues not covered, you will bear the financial burden associated with repairs.
How do I keep my flooring looking new?
There are a number of steps, according to One Good Thing, you can take, some of which are preventative, to ensure your hardwood floor is looking shiny and glorious. First, make your guests take their shoes off! When you walk on a wooden floor with dirty shoes, you are leaving lots of sand and dirt behind. Next, make sure to get rid of dirt and grime with a vacuum or dust mop before you attempt to wash a wood floor. Rubbing dirt into your floors is never a good idea. Dust the floor with a mop that has been treated with a dusting agent (or use a microfiber duster) to pick up dust, dirt and pet hair. For occasional deep cleaning (dirt, oil and grime will build up over time), the best solution for cleaning wood floors is one cup of vinegar mixed with one gallon of water.