Installing hardwood floor is more than a quick or simple cosmetic upgrade to your home. It’s a major investment and significant renovation.You need to carefully consider both your choice of flooring and choice of installer.When selecting an installer, it’s important to ask questions up front to ensure you pick the right flooring for your home and avoid issues down the road.Here is our list of key questions you should ask your installer before your next flooring project.

What type of hardwood is best for my home?

Several factors such as what sort of subfloor you have and how much foot traffic your new flooring will experience will play a key role in your flooring choice. Different species of wood, for example: oak, hickory, maple, etc.,have different design and performance characteristics and choosing the right flooring for your home can mean all the difference in the lifespan of your hardwood. An experienced dealer or installer will be able to assist you in choosing the correct flooring type for your home.

Do you charge for an in-home estimate, and if so, will this fee apply to the cost of purchase?

An in-home estimate is an important part of determining what type of flooring you can install as well as the total amount you will need to purchase.These days with the rising costs of fuel and the time involved in doing a proper in home estimate some installers may charge a small fee and then apply it to the total cost of the job, others continue to offer this service for free. Be wary of companies that simply provide a per square foot price. While this may seem to be simple and safe, every job is different, and you might be in for big surprises both in cost and in the scope of work when they arrive onsite.

Are you insured and certified to install my flooring?

It’s important to ensure your installer is qualified to install the floor you have chosen. “Ya, I have done lots of floors!” is not a good enough answer for someone who is about to start operating power tools and swinging hammers around your ‘fortress of solitude’. Work performed by uncertified installers or not following the manufactures installation instructions could void your warranty and lead to issues down the road. It is also important to make sure your installer carries insurance and will assume liability in the case of any unrelated damage they might cause while the work is performed.This includes personal injury to themselves. Paying cash to some random guy on Kijiji can expose you to some serious liability that your home insurance policy will not cover.

Can you provide references and/or testimonials from past customers, both SATISFIED and UNSATISFIED?

In the days of online reviews, it can be hard to sort the genuine from the fake. Sometimes the best measurement of how well a company performs is not whether they have a perfect rating but can be found in how well they dealt with unhappy customers in the past. The reality is that not every job goes perfectly. Knowing that there is going to be someone there to take your call if you have an issue is often peace of mind that is hard to find. A company with a brick-and-mortar presence cannot hide behind voicemail and email.

Can you provide specific details about my installation?

How long it will take to complete, the total costs involved and how they will leave your home when they leave is important.Having a clear understanding of your installer’s process and expectations up front can reduce any confusion and unexpected charges when the jobs complete. Some key points to cover during this discussion are:

  • Will your installer dispose of the old flooring and if so, is this free or will there be a charge?
  • Who will handle subfloor preparation, and is this included in the estimate? Sometimes the condition of the subfloor cannot be assessed ahead of time. Is your installer able to handle this work?
  • Who will be responsible for moving the furniture, electronics, bookshelves, lamps, etc?
  • Will your installer undercut any doors and door jambs that may be impacted by the heightdifferences between your old floor and your new floor?
  • Can you install around electrical appliances, or will you need to contact an electrician for this?
  • Can you provide and install matching molding, trim and floor vents?

What are the specifics and conditions of your installation warranty?

It’s important to understand the differences between your installer’s warranty and the warranty provided by the manufacture of the flooring.If you have problems with your flooring down the road, having an installer that is not directly affiliated with the manufacture can cause a he said/she said scenario that can be hard to navigate.

Replacing your homes flooring is major renovation. Taking the time to do your research and asking the right questions can go a long way to ensuring your project goes smoothly and you are left with a floor that looks great and will last many years to come.