How to choose a wood floor contractor?
Choosing a wood floor contractor is an important part of home renovation and there are significant problems associated with choosing an inexperienced floor contractor to install or refinish your wood flooring. If you wish to avoid these problems, start with engaging a skilled wood floor contractor. Word of mouth and references are a good way to narrow down the search, but even this can be an unreliable way to choose a contractor.
Who will be carrying out the work?
In my opinion this is the most important question to ask a potential wood floor contractor? Some of the big flooring showrooms are interested in making a sale and you may be dealing with a salesman rather than an experienced professional? Installation is often offered as a package when purchasing wood floors, this means you will not meet the installer until they arrive to complete the job. While laminate and vinyl floors are relatively easy to install, solid wood floors, nail down engineered wood floors, repairs and refinishing should always be completed by a trained professional. All my projects are either completed 100% by myself or with the assistance of a skilled tradesperson.
If your floor requires refinishing or resurfacing, there a a few questions that should be ask to establish if they have the experience and equipment to complete the contract professionally to industry standard levels.
- What machinery will you use? Ask potential floor contractors what type of floor sanders they will use. If the answer is rental sanders and polishers, I suggest you politely move on to a professional floor refinishing contractor that has their own commercial dustless sanders and polishers. Any contractor that needs to rent machines to complete a refinishing or resurfacing project is a part-timer at best. Many irreversible issues can occur when using high powered floor sanding machinery without the necessary experience. It takes many years to skillfully sand and polish an old or new wood floor to achieve a quality lasting finish. A good way to tell if your contractor is using modern professional machinery is the need for the primary belt sanding machine to be plugged directly into a 220v circuit such as your range, dryer outlet or directly into your fuse box(domestic rental machines run on standard 110v wall outlets).
- What finishes do you recommend and how many coats will be applied? There are many different types of floor finishes available and a professional refinisher will be experienced in all types of coatings including stains, effects, and urethanes. Like most professional floor refinishers, I will always recommend environmentally friendly water based coatings for a variety of reasons that are explained in more detail here. A minimum of 3 coat system is always recommended which consists of a sealer, stain or effect coat and 2 top coats of satin floor finish. For an oil based look we recommend an environmentally friendly hybrid oil/water based finish or a natural, penetrating oil finish.
- How much dust will be created? Rental machines used by inexperienced contractors produce a great deal of dust in comparison to commercial dust control equipment used by myself and other wood floor contractors. More information on our dust minimization sanding can be found here.
- how long will the job take and what are my guarantees? floor sanding and refinishing involves many processes to achieve a professional long lasting finish. Depending on the size of the area, most jobs will take between 2-6days to complete. A 3 coat system will take 2 days to apply when following manufacturer guidelines so a promise to complete a job in one day should cause concern. Sandless refinishing is a budget refinishing solution that will not have the same results as traditional wood floor refinishing and resurfacing. We do not offer or recommend Sandless refinishing. All our refinishing and resurfacing projects are guaranteed to perform as intended and produced to industry standards.
- Do you offer written quotes and contracts? All our projects begin with an estimate/quote that includes a detailed list of our terms of service. This ensures our clients have all the relevant information to prepare themselves and their homes so that the contract is completed to the highest quality in a timely manner.
Solid wood floor installation
Hardwood floor installation is not floor covering, it is floor carpentry. Solid wood floors are a natural product and there is a misconception, among general contractors and home handy persons, that wood floor installations don’t require a dedicated wood floor contractor. As a professional wood flooring expert in Nanaimo and internationally, I have seen hundreds of failed floor installations.
Before Purchasing or installing solid, or engineered wood flooring an installer should consider these factors:
- What is the sub floor?
- is the sub floor level?
- What is the relative humidity of the area?
- What is the moisture content of the floor and sub floors?
- Is the floor above or below grade?
- What is the moisture content in underfloor crawl spaces?