Tackling home renovations could make you feel like this downward spiral staircase. But it doesn’t have to be that way if you choose a certified flooring contractor. When it comes to installation, sanding, and refinishing, hardwood flooring is very much a craft. And a craft requires a certified professional. This flooring specialist can help ensure all environmental and physical needs of the wood floors are met. In this way, you are not faced with additional renovation projects after everything is finished (and yes, you would be surprised how often this happens).
In the following paragraphs we share with you a couple tips on how to choose the right certified flooring contractor for your project. This is advice that I’ve gathered from working with different types of customers over the years, and I hope they’ll help you in your journey to new floors!
START WITH BROWSING THE COMPANY WEBSITE
Investing in your hardwood floors might be one of the most expensive projects you will work on. Take the time to research the company thoroughly! Start with browsing the company website, specifically the About Us. Find what types of services they offer and look at before/after pictures of previous projects. Read their reviews. If you’re not in a rush, I highly recommend speaking to previous customers, who are willing to talk to you of course. This should then give you a good understanding of the company overall.
ENSURE YOUR FLOORING CONTRACTOR IS CERTIFIED
The next most important aspect is whether or not your contractor is certified. Our trade association, the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) sets the technical standards for installation and sand/finish work. You can search the NWFA membership database to determine whether the contractor is a member, and whether or not they have earned licensing or certifications through the association. Ensuring your contractor is certified by the NWFA is a great way to avoid unnecessary problems in the future.
NWFA-certified flooring contractors are held to high standards and are always in the loop about the latest in the hardwood flooring industry.
VERIFY WHO WILL DO THE WORK
Oftentimes companies send out one representative to provide the estimate, then return with a crew. Or you could have one company providing the estimate with another performing the work. In other instances, the same person who provides the estimate also works on your project. You might be lucky enough to work with one person throughout the entire process. No matter the company, I recommend anyone working on your floors be NWFA certified.
SCHEDULING AN ESTIMATE, HOW RESPONSIVE ARE THEY?
When searching for a certified flooring contractor, pay attention to their responsiveness to your phone call or email. A respectable company should respond to your inquiry within 24-48 hours. I believe if this level of respect is shown in the beginning, you will be quick to find that that this flooring contractor is equally responsive if you hire him.
ARE THEY ON TIME?
Time is money! I personally consider punctuality a great sign of respect to other people’s time. If the company shows up on time, they will also be equally responsive throughout the duration of your project and afterwards.
DO WE OFFER A BULK PRICE OVER THE PHONE?
No, we do not offer a bulk price or price per square footage over the phone. I strongly recommend that you not trust a price given over the phone. Several variables determine the cost. The condition of the floor, whether or not the area is open-space or confined, and square footage. For example, a sanding and refinishing project may take 5-6 days so the location of the project is important. The distance we need to drive and hence time on the road is also a variable. All of these factors are more easily understood once we meet for the in-home estimate. During this time you can always ask me any questions you may have related to your project. Lastly, my prices are final. What you see on the detailed proposal will be translated into the agreement which is your final cost.
BOOKING THE CONTRACTOR
The last part is actually booking the contractor. The quality of your hardwood floor project, whether it is installation or sanding and refinishing, will be drastically impacted by several factors.
1. Who will be performing the work?
- This is a great question to bring up during the in-home estimate. Verify that they or their team is certified. This is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent future unnecessary renovation projects.
2. How will the floor be sanded, and how many passes are made?
- A minimum of four passes is industry standard. Utilizing state-of-the art equipment like Laegler machines will ensure your floor is extremely flat and free of scratches.
3. How much dust will there be from the sanding process?
- Sanding hardwood floors produces a lot of dust. Can I refinish my floors without the dust? Yes, with our Bona Dust Containment System, you can refinish your floors without the dust! Our refinishing process is guaranteed 99.9% dustless.
4. Are the materials used good quality?
- Quality over quantity! I cannot emphasize enough the importance of not skipping on the quality of the finish! The type of finish you choose is very important. This is one of the determining factors in whether your refinished floors last for one year or at least ten! We only work with water-based finishes, all of which are commercially-rated.
5. How will the installation of the hardwood floor be handled?
- New wood usually comes from the store, where the temperature and humidity differ. Imported wood is impacted more heavy by its environment due to shipping methods. Either way, before you can install your new hardwood floors, the wood itself must be properly acclimated. Otherwise, any changes/adjustments the wood undergoes will happen when it’s already been installed and that can cause major issues. An NWFA-certified installer will follow NWFA installation guidelines and not skip necessary steps to ensure a proper and successful hardwood floor installation.
6. Is there a written agreement?
- A written agreement gives both parties involved a peace of mind. That is because you have every stipulated detail included. This means scope of work is detailed, materials used are written out, and a payment schedule has been set. Most importantly, the start and completion date are also named. I strongly encourage you to not start any project without an agreement signed by both parties.
Lastly, I leave you with some final words of wisdom: never choose on price alone. Never go with a company just because they give a low price! Look at the whole picture to see what you are getting for your money.
Have an open discussion with your certified flooring contractor from the beginning. Specify what you expect out of their work and your project. A true professional will be honest, never over-promise or under-deliver. And a very true professional will follow all the necessary steps. They will use quality materials and equipment, and complete your project on time. A certified flooring contractor will deliver on their promises and obtain the desired result.
To sum up the advice I’ve written in this blog post, I’m attaching a list you can download to help you check off some of the key aspects we discussed in this article.
We hope our advice will be useful in helping you find the right contractor for your home improvement project. We are happy to help, so please do not hesitate to reach out to us by email at email@example.com. Your comments are always welcome!