Choosing a wood floor contractor

choosing a wood floor contractor

Written by Matt

How do you choose a wood floor contractor?

Choosing a wood floor contractor is an essential part of home renovation, and there are significant problems associated with selecting an inexperienced floor contractor to install or refinish your wood flooring. To avoid these problems, you can start with a skilled wood floor contractor. Word of mouth and references are excellent ways to narrow the search, but this can be an unreliable way to choose a contractor.

Who will be carrying out the work?

Is this the most critical question to ask a potential wood floor contractor? Some of the extensive flooring showrooms are interested in making a sale, and you may be dealing with a sales assistant rather than an experienced flooring installer. Installation is often offered as a package when purchasing wood floors; you may only meet the installer once they arrive to complete the job. Laminate and vinyl floors generally require fewer tools and equipment to install, while solid, nail-down engineered wood floors, repairs, and refinishing should always be completed by a trained professional who has the right equipment and knowledge. All my projects are either completed 100% by myself or with the assistance of a skilled tradesperson.

Floor refinishing

If your floor requires refinishing or resurfacing, a few questions should be asked to establish whether 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 with 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. An excellent 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 (domestic rental machines run on standard 110v wall outlets).
  • What finishes do you recommend, and how many coats will be applied? Many different types of floor finishes are available, and a professional refinisher will be experienced in all kinds of coatings, including stains, effects, and urethanes. Like most professional floor refinishers, I will always recommend environmentally friendly water-based coatings for various reasons explained in more detail here. A minimum of 3 coat systems is always recommended: a sealer, stain or effect coat, and 2 top coats of satin floor finish. We recommend an environmentally friendly hybrid oil/water-based finish or a natural, penetrating oil finish for an oil-based look.
  • How much dust will be created? Rental machines used by inexperienced contractors produce more dust than commercial dust control equipment used by other wood floor contractors and me. 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 involve many processes to achieve a professional, long-lasting finish. Depending on the size of the area, most jobs will take 2-6 days to complete. A 3-coat system will take two 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 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 promptly to the highest quality.

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 handymen 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 many factors which include:

  • What is the subfloor?
  • Is the subfloor flat within industry guidelines?
  • What is the relative humidity of the area?
  • What is the moisture content of the flooring and subfloor?
  • Is the space above or below grade?
  • What is the moisture content in underfloor crawl spaces?

More useful information…

Vancouver Island floor finishing

Wood floor refinishing, cleaning, and restoration. All finishes, cleaning, and refinishing supplies are supplied to Vancouver Island, BC cities.

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