Apart from improving your interior's appeal, hardwood flooring is a beautiful investment for your home. According to a National Wood Flooring Association study, over 90 percent of realtors agree that homes with hardwood floors are easier to sell even with a 10 percent premium on the sales value. Nonetheless, these attractive pieces are delicate and physically demanding to install and maintain. DIY installations often fail due to racked floor, unprepared sub-floor, unchecked humidity, and improper layout. Professional hardwood flooring contractors nearby are skilled to attest these situations calculatively for an accident-free or zero-defect installation.
To hire the most qualified contractor near you for your hardwood flooring project, ensure to obtain relevant answers to the following questions.
Are You a Licensed Hardwood Flooring Contractor?
Depending on your state of residence, a hardwood flooring contractor is expected to hold a flooring contractor, finish carpentry,home improvement contractor or general contractor license at the state level. California and Virginia are two states providing a specialized licensure to hardwood flooring contractors. In Alaska, hardwood flooring contractors are expected to hold the finish carpentry contractor license. Some other states like Illinois, Idaho, Ohio, and New York do not require licensure at the state-level. Hence, check with county or city authorities for licensing requirements for flooring contractors operating near you.
Note, a trade license is a guarantee that your contractor possesses the prerequisite skills and experience to complete your project satisfactorily. Therefore, request to see a copy of the state or local license held by your hardwood flooring contractor. You may contact the licensing department to verify the license is up to date.
Are You Bonded and Insured?
Work accidents are fairly common among flooring professionals. Typically, these accidents include lacerations and amputations from cutting tools, strains and pains from bending for long periods, and respiratory issues from exposure to adhesives, cleaning, and preservative chemicals like formaldehyde. Sometimes these accidents can be fatal. In 2019 alone, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded 1,440 occupational injuries and seven work-related fatalities among floor installers and finishers. Due to the fact that these accidents are not predictable, it is important to hire a hardwood flooring contractor near you with adequate insurance cover.
The insurance helps to ascertain that you will not be held liable for expenses resulting from damages or injuries to property, workers or third-party during the project. It is not healthy to assume that a contractor is insured. Rather, ask to see a copy of the insurance certificate; most contractors are typically willing to provide it to boost their chance of getting hired. Basically, your contractor should hold the general liability insurance and workers compensation insurance plans.
Apart from insurance, find out if the hardwood flooring contractor has a surety bond in place. The bond secures you in case of contract defaults by the contractor. This implies that you do not have to bear the liabilities in case the hardwood flooring contractor does not complete the project as agreed. Like licensing, states have different bonding requirements for contractors. Contact the local building authority or the consumer protection agency to determine these requirements. Therefore, ensure that the contractor's bond fully meets all the criteria.
What Kind of Work Are You Specialized In?
When going for hardwood flooring for your home, you have a ton of decisions to make. These decisions include hardwood flooring type (solid or engineered), preferred wood species and hardwood flooring grade. Consequently, you have to decide on flooring style, dimensions, color, and edge detail among other preferences. Any professional and experienced flooring contractor near you can help guide you to pick the most appropriate floor type and attributes.
Solid hardwood flooring is also extremely durable and pricey, and consists of solid pieces of wood while engineered hardwood is constructed from several layers of wood pressed together. Hardwood species include pecan, pine, birch, beech, eucalyptus, cypress, cedar, mahogany, cherry, maple, hickory, cork, bamboo, acacia, oak, ebony, alder, walnut, teak, ash, poplar, tigerwood, and douglas fir. Before signing off on the paperwork, verify that your contractor has the expertise and experience to work with the hardwood flooring preferences you have picked.
Who Will Do the Work?
Before you hand over your hardwood flooring project to a contractor near you, find out who exactly will do the job. Depending on how busy the hardwood flooring contractor you have been talking to is currently or the nature of the job, another project manager, team, or subcontractor may be delegated to complete your work. Ensure that everyone working on the project is adequately licensed, bonded, and insured. Note, sometimes, the cost of the contract may be affected by the number of laborers intended to work on it. Finding out who will do the work enables you to budget accordingly in such cases.
Do You Offer a Warranty?
Generally, any professional hardwood flooring contractors near you would issue warranties as an assurance of the integrity of their services and a statement of commitment to the project within a specified time. The warranty may cover either the materials used for the hardwood flooring or the contractor's workmanship for installation. Warranties covering materials used will vary depending on the manufacturer and grade of hardwood flooring. Such warranties will also vary depending on whether the product is finished or unfinished. Unfinished hardwood products incur more liability, as these are finished and stained on site. Typically, manufacturer's warranty for hardwood ranges from 10 to 30 years. Note, such warranties are only valid to the original end-consumer and not transferable. Beware that hardwood flooring warranties come with several exclusions including moisture related damage, sunlight exposure, improper installation and DIY repair.
One more reason to hire a professional hardwood flooring contractor is the risk of voiding the manufacturer's warranty on your hardwood products by failing to follow installation instructions appropriately. However, you should also require an installation warranty from your hardwood floor installer to cover for defects consequent upon poor workmanship. Like the manufacturer's warranty, your claims on an installer's warranty may be refused for improper use.
If the contractor issues a warranty for both the project materials and workmanship, ensure it is written. Written warranties make for clear redemption terms on your claims in future.
Will This Job Require a Permit?
Typically only structural adjustments to your home that affect load-bearing walls, balconies, decks, porches, roofs, or foundation flooring require home improvement permits. Such permits are not needed for installing flooring like hardwood, carpeting, linoleum, or vinyl tile. However, you are advised to contact your local building department if there are circumstances mandating the need for a permit for a project like yours.
Note, professional hardwood flooring contractors near you are conversant with the kind of flooring jobs that require a permit in your locality and know how to obtain such approval.
Will You Provide References?
As recommended by the Federal Trade Commission buyers may request references for at least three clients from the contractor. Insist on the inclusion of references with similar projects as yours or living near you. For further clarification, you may contact these clients to determine their satisfaction with the contractor's workmanship integrity, delivery, charges, and timing. If any of the clients have ongoing projects with the contractor, it is not a bad idea to visit the project and ascertain things directly. The contractor may also provide references to pictures or videos of projects done previously.
Alternatively, you may seek clients' opinion of the contractor's works on local third-party websites like Yelp, Google Review, and Better Business Bureau.
What Are Common Hardwood Flooring Problems?
Hardwood flooring may be one of the best flooring options that give a house the ideal look. Nevertheless, it still has some common issues associated with it. Some of these problems are caused by poor installation while others may be due to poor maintenance of the hardwood flooring. Attempting to install or fix hardwood flooring issues via self-instructed means may result in serious damages that require completely new installation. As such, endeavor to employ the services of a professional and licensed flooring contractor for installation, maintenance, and repair of your hardwood floor. Some of the most common problems associated with hardwood flooring include:
- Dents and scratches
- Loose gaps
How Much Does Hardwood Flooring Installation/Replacement Cost?
Based on different types of wood, below are the estimated average prices for hardwood flooring installation per square foot. Note, location, size of project, and complexity of the installation will influence the actual price.
Repair or replacement of hardwood flooring costs within the range of $1 - $13 per square foot. Refinishing of hardwood flooring costs between $1,000 to $2,500 for a 500-square.
What Are the Factors That Affect the Cost of a Hardwood Flooring Installation/Replacement?
The size of the flooring space is a key factor in determining how much a hardwood flooring project will cost. The larger the space involved, the more materials, and labor needed for the work and consequently, the more money spent on the project. This is regardless of whether it is installation, maintenance, or repairs.
Another strong cost determinant is the type of hardwood material used. Oak does not cost the same thing as maple or bamboo. If the wood is very hard, it will demand more effort which means a higher cost. Other factors that may influence the cost of hardwood flooring include:
Note, traveling expenses, material carriage expenses and other logistics costs, may add significantly to the final contract cost. Therefore, it is recommended to hire a contractor near you.
What Qualifications Should Hardwood Flooring Contractors Have?
Hardwood flooring may not require much academic qualifications for contractors. It is more practical-oriented, and so, expertise is mostly developed via work exposure and experience gathered over time. Important abilities such as taking accurate calculations, precise measurements, accurate cutting, and preparing a quote are mostly learned in hands-on experiences.
However, contractors with a high school diploma or GED certification are usually preferred by many hardwood flooring companies. Additional professional certification boosts a floorer's profiles and prospects in the industry. Common professional certifications among hardwood flooring contractors are granted by the National Wood Flooring Association, International Certified Floorcovering Installers Association, and International Standards & Training Alliance.
Do You Need a Handyman or a Hardwood Flooring Contractor?
Handymen usually engage in a lot of various tasks without specializing in any of them. For a project as delicate as hardwood flooring, it is best to go for a professional and licensed hardwood flooring contractor instead of employing any handyman near you. Well-trained hardwood flooring contractors understand the health risks involved in the job and are better equipped to deal with various flooring scenarios and challenges. Additionally, it is financially more secure to work with licensed contractors who already have insurance and bonding. This keeps you free from any liability arising from injuries or failure to complete the job.
What Are the Common Post Hardwood Flooring Installation/Replacement Expenses?
Hardwood flooring can last for a long time without giving issues provided that it was done properly. Appropriate installation is very important, but that is not all that is required for a long-lasting hardwood floor. The major sources of post hardwood installation expenses are maintenance and repairs. The contractor's warranty may cover these expenses within the validity period of the warranty. When the warranty period is over, the owner of the project may have to bear the financial implications of regular checks and maintenance.
Does Homeowner Insurance Cover Hardwood Flooring Expenses?
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, homeowner's insurance typically caters for losses or damages resulting from unforeseen happenings such as fire outbreaks or burglary. Hence, homeowner insurance may only cover your hardwood flooring expenses if it is caused by such hazards. Damages or issues arising from events such as wear and tear or expiration of hardwood may not be covered by homeowner insurance.
Can I Use Digital Payment to Pay My Hardwood Flooring Contractor?
The Federal Trade Commission recommends not paying cash for home improvement jobs. Electronic payments, also known as digital payments, are suitable alternatives to cash transactions. Digital payments provide faster and easier means of making payments. You can use digital payment options to pay as long as your ceiling contractor is comfortable with it. Unlike the traditional means of payments, digital payments let you tidy your transactions in a matter of minutes and with a few clicks. Due to its cashless nature, it also enhances record keeping.