While we may all like to think that we can save on costs by indulging in a bit of DIY installation, unless you are an experienced home handyman with extensive knowledge of flooring, this is probably not a good idea.
In fact, it is usually recommended that unless you are dealing with a snap-and-lock floating floor system, it is almost always better to call in the professionals.
Not only will the whole process run smoother and be a lot less stressful, but good installation will also prolong the life of your investment. It is no use spending money on the best materials in the world if they are then wasted through poor installation.
One option is to buy the materials yourself, either online or from wholesale outlets and have it shipped directly to your premises. You then need to find a good installer in your area.
If you can find such a person, you may find this provides some savings overall in that the money you saved from the direct wholesale purchase will pay for the installation labour and in fact, may even cost less than if you’d bought the products retail and attempted to Install Them Yourself.
…Or Call in the Professionals
However, by far the best plan, in general, is to hire professional help. Indeed, professional contractors usually have established relationships with wholesalers and can get you good deals on reliable products, while also having good access to installation labour.
They will usually also have access to the most current information in the industry and the most technologically advanced equipment and products.
So here is a checklist to help you choose the right professional flooring supplier and installer:
- Make sure that you get several quotes (at least three) from reputable contractors in your area.
- Always ask for references and check these carefully before signing any contract or paying a deposit.
- Contact the better business bureau, local business association or something similar and see if the contractor is a member and also whether any complaints have been filed against him.
- Do a background check on the contractor’s payment history, credit risk, bankruptcies, court orders, liens, principal owners, and other matters of public record.
- When contacting the company, note if employees are friendly and polite on the phone and are quick to offer information literature on different products. See if they emphasise quality over price. If they have a showroom, is it clean and well-organised? Are they members of a professional trade association?
- Once you have met with the individual installer, keep a note of certain things, such as whether he is punctual for appointments, returns calls and provides quotes promptly, answers your questions in a straightforward, honest manner and whether he has a list of past customers that he is happy for you to call. In addition, does he have a professional portfolio with photographs of his recent work?
- Another thing to clarify is what is included in the installation price – for example, will there be complimentary removal of the furniture? What about the re-hanging of any doors? You may need to arrange private help or professional removers to help you “clear the decks” otherwise. Will they be responsible for disconnecting or reconnecting the gas, water and any other power supplies? If not, you will need to make arrangements with another professional to take care of this before the installer’s arrival.
- Check who is responsible in the event that damage is done to the house or its contents during installation.
- What about the disposal of old flooring materials? Will the company remove them for you? Sometimes, if they will not actually haul it away, they can at least cut it into smaller manageable pieces so that you can include it with your normal rubbish.
- While the company should provide all necessary equipment, it is a good idea to find out in advance if you will need to supply anything – for example, it is often the case that the installers will provide the expertise, equipment and labour (and sometimes the product too) while you need to provide the power. So make sure that you have checked and prepared adequate power points and extension cables for their electrical tools.
To help smooth things, try to vacuum any old carpet to be removed either the night before or the morning of the installation, as this will minimise any dust and other particles that may be stirred up during removal. It is also a good idea to vacuum the subfloor after the old flooring has been removed and before the new material is installed.
Lastly, ventilate the room well by leaving windows and doors open, as well as using exhaust fans where available.