We have gone over the initial questions to ask yourself before installing hardwood in your homes but what about once you’ve made your decision?  Your hardwood is more than just flooring, it’s an investment. When selecting a contractor or installer, it’s important to ask the right questions up front to ensure you receive the right flooring for your home and to avoid any warranty issues down the road. These questions will lead the path and tell you a little more about what to expect and how to prepare. 

What is the best type of hardwood for my home?
There are so many different types that can be considered when preparing for an instal. The type of subflooring you have, foot traffic for the specific room will both play a role in your flooring choice. Different species of wood (cherry, oak, maple) have different designs and performance characteristics so choosing the right flooring in your home can mean all the difference in the lifespan of your hardwood. An experienced contractor or installer should be able to guide you through this process and assist you in choosing the correct flooring in your home. 

What is the cost?
An in-home estimate is important in determining what type of flooring you can install as well as the total amount you will need to purchase. You really shouldn’t hire a contractor without getting an estimate first. There are many businesses that offer estimates for free while others will charge a fee and then apply it towards the total cost of the job. This is an important question to ask up front so there are no surprises.  Speaking of cost, laminate is the cheapest option for flooring around $3-7 per square foot. Then porcelain or ceramic tile at $4-12 per square foot and engineered hardwood for $4-18 per square foot. Regular wood is the most expensive choice at $6-15 per square foot. 

Are you insured and certified to install my floors?
Please do not overlook this step. This helps protect yourself in case something goes wrong, that’s what insurance is for. It is very important to ensure your installer is certified in order to be confident that the proper guidelines will be followed and your floors will be properly installed. Work that is performed by installers who are not certified could potentially void your warranty and lead to major issues down the road. It is also important that the installer carries insurance and will assume liability in a case of any unrelated damage that they could potentially cause while the work is being performed. Make sure they provide the appropriate documentation. Proceeding with an uncertified or uninsured contractor is not advisable in any business venture.

Can you provide references?
Sometimes the best measurement of how well a company performs can be found in how well or how poorly they performed on previous projects. This is a key component to the process when deciding who will do your hardwood floor installation. Even if they were referred by a friend, you will want to see other testimonials. Speaking with contractor’s references is often the best way to get a sense of how your experience with the same contractor might go. Don’t hesitate to ask for references and follow up with previous customers for specific details. Checking review sites is another good idea, although most of the time, companies only want their best reviews listed online so view them with caution. 

What does the floor warranty include?
Most contractors offer at least a one-year warranty on materials and labor, but some may offer more extensive options. Many times, you’ll get the complete breakdown of what the warranty covers. Make sure you read it! If anything is unclear, make sure to ask your contractor BEFORE the construction begins. You don’t want to get into a situation where you have a problem with your flooring, only to find out that it’s not covered.

Who moves the furniture before installation?
This is a big question that many people forget to address before installation begins. Everyone is worried about their valuables during construction but sometimes it is the homeowners responsibility to move everything prior to the construction team’s arrival. Other times, it’s part of the package deal and the contractors will move everything themselves. This is a big process if you find out that you need to do it yourself last minute. Whether there is a fee or not, this is necessary because your valuables and expensive furniture will need to be protected during the overhaul with your home’s hardwood installation.

How is the old flooring disposed?
Just like the question above about a cost being associated for an estimate, this is one of those things that you should ask beforehand. Some contractors take the old flooring that they rip up and dispose of it themselves for no charge, but that is not always the case with every contractor. By asking this ahead of time, you won’t be surprised when you are charged for the removal of your old flooring. Also, many times you can negotiate with the contractor to reduce this rate or have them drop it altogether if they want your business.