Hardwood flooring is a large investment and selecting the right contractor can be an intimidating process. If you are ready to have hardwood flooring installed in your home there are a lot of things you will want to look for in your hardwood contractor to ensure you get a quality finished product. Like any service provider you will want to meet with a few estimators to see what different options they have, the knowledge they share and any other aspects you may need to consider. With any service you get what you pay for and this rings true for hardwood flooring as well. Choosing the lowest cost estimate may mean you are sacrificing quality and craftsmanship.
When hiring a contractor there are some key points to consider and discuss with the estimator to ensure they are the right fit for your project. We have outlined some key points below to help make the process easier.
- Discuss any licensing and liability insurance with your contractor. Any contractor you are hiring should have the necessary licensing for the state and all necessary insurance. While none of us are hoping a project will go wrong, insurance makes it much less worrisome if things happen to go wrong. A properly insured contractor protects you from any injury that may happen in your home and protects you from damage that may be caused if an accident occurs.
- All contractors should also have workers compensation coverage for employees. When working with a contractor that does not have employees they may not have this type of coverage. Employers are required to have workers compensation insurance to protect injured workers and to cover their medical expenses and missed time if an injury does take place. This coverage helps to protect homeowners from lawsuits as well.
- Ask your hardwood contractor for certifications like an NWFA certification. The National Wood Floor Association is an organization that certifies contractors for installation and other aspects of wood flooring finishing and can give you extra confidence in a flooring contractor. Not all contractors are NWFA certified but this is a great option for narrowing down contractors. The NWFA requires continuing education to keep up on these certifications so you know your contractor is up to date on the latest in the flooring industry.
- Quality contractors measure and record moisture levels in the wood and subfloor. These measurements are used to ensure wood has acclimated properly to your home for a quality installation. The NWFA has measurement guidelines for relative humidity, floor moisture content and subfloor moisture content. These measurements are vital before installation to ensure the wood wont shift, cup or gap excessively. If you are installing a prefinished or engineered floor these measurements can help with warranty claims down the line. Acclimation of wood flooring is a non-negotiable part of your project and should be something your contractor does. Wood flooring needs to be in your home at least a week before installation and retested for moisture content before installation to ensure its ready to be installed.
- Warranties are often a sign of a quality contractor. If your contractor offers a warranty on their work it often means they are willing to back up their work if something goes wrong. Many contactors offer different warranties for installation versus refinishing and the estimator should be able to discuss these differences with you. When investing as much money as you will in a hardwood flooring installation a warranty can help make the process feel less scary.
- References are one of the best ways to find a quality contractor. The input you receive from other customers is very informative and can really help you to find the right contractor for your project. Many contractors will give you a list of references that you can call to hear how their project went. Online reviews are also a good option, we recommend making sure you read the response and don’t just trust the star rating. Many customers are unhappy about small issues and give one star ratings which unfairly affect the contractor. Read the response to the review and see if the contractor offered a reasonable response and remedy to the issue. Ask friends and family for recommendations as well. The BBB, Angie’s list and Yelp are also great options for finding feedback about your contractor.
- When choosing a contractor you will want to talk to them about different aspects of their jobs like dust control, clean up, timeline and other details. Dust control is a huge factor when choosing a contractor because dust is such a big part of the finish process. Installing new flooring is messy and the methods of protecting your home are important for your overall experience. Baseboards are also an important part of the flooring installation and you will want to talk to your contractor about how they handle the baseboards. Finally the length of the job, if something to discuss. Some contractors may say they can get the job done faster than others and you may want to ask how or why. Depending on the company you use the timeline may fluctuate because a different crew comes in for finishing or because of the amount of manpower on the job site.
- Payment structure is another factor to consider. Most contractors do not ask for payment in full before your project begins and this can be a red flag. If your contractor asks for money in full before they start you may end up getting scammed. Most reputable contractors ask for a downpayment to hold your project date and purchase your materials and the remainder at the end of the project.
Hardwood flooring is a huge investment in your home and something to be excited about. Looking for a contractor doesn’t have to be a scary process when you know what to ask and what red flags to look for. Choosing the right contractor for your project can yield better quality results at a fair price. Colorado Hardwood is here to help with any hardwood flooring project you have. If you are ready to talk to a fair and trusted contractor call us today.