It doesn't matter how expensive the wood floor you buy is the problems start with sub floor and end with finish.
Builders are not floor layers, carpenters are not floor layers. There is so much to understand and take account of. Every day i am seeing more and more problem floors.
Badly specified products, badly prepared sub floors and finishes that will never last. The work to rectify a problem floor is horrific.
But with a little research, small amount of logical advice and knowing what to ask of your retailer and installer you can have the perfect floor.
I run Rainleaf Flooring and have done for 12 years. My passion is wood floors, my love is my floors. It has taken me 12 years to find the products that i want to be associated with and i have built up a tremendous wealth of Knowledge regarding floors.
If you want help please ask, advice is free.(ADVERTISING NOT ALLOWED)
Good to hear from another flooring guy that loves what he does!!! I too have been in hardwood (and tile) industry for the past 6 years and I see it time and time again, the problems with the existing floor almost always stem from what's beneath it. You can't build a house without first laying a solid foundation, and the same goes for flooring. The subfloor is the most important part. If it's not done right, the finished product won't live up to its potential. Keep up the quality work Bozberg and continue to teach people to do the right thing, even though it may not always be seen.
Bozberg - I'm asking
Bozberg, I am asking for your help: What questions do I need to ask my retailer and installer?
About to undertake this home improvement (and hate carpet!). Would really appreciate you feedback.
Asking the retailer and the installer
Purchasing a new wood floor is an uncertain business. Why ?, because most of the time you get what you pay.
When entering the retailers domain you need to armed with the questions you want answers to.
The retailer should be able to clearly explain to you the differences between a solid floor and an engineered floor. He should then be able to explain what effects the seasons have on both products and clearly inform you of expansion and shrinkage. That retailer should be able to speak clearly on the effects of relative humidity ( the % of moisture in the air) and how to combat to much or to little moisture in the air.
The finish on your floor is critical to the life span of the floor. So if your buying pre finished you want to know how easy it is to repair that finish and how easy to re coat. I would avoid UV cured oil finishes where possible. Always ask for product information so you can research it on the net.
Try to view long plank samples rather than small presentation boards. If you are wanting a plank floor remember that the long and wider the plank the more it costs. Sytemised sizing often means far eastern produced.
As for the installer, please seek two or three references for their work. Make sure the installer offers a detailed explanation as to what they propose to do in preparing the sub floor. Get the installer to confirm the method of fixing and the products they will be using.
You can then cross reference this information with experts at the NWFA or the BWFA, they are bona fida trade bodies. Take pictures as work progresses and if you have any doubts, stop the work and seek advice from the bodies above.
Hope the above helps.
Well I'm not in the flooring business specifically, but as a GC we have been asked many times to correct what someone has done in the past. I call in the flooring crew. They have years of experience in wood flooring. They don't do carpet.
That said, I agree it's all about the foundation under the finished flooring. I see to many homes with "finished basements" or additions that have a cement floor and homeowners buy into whatever the guy at the local retail stores are selling. Most store folks haven't a clue and are just repeating what the brochure/sales literature says. They sell as though it's a product for every application. It never is.
The best advice anyone can get is to do your homework. Ask questions and shop around until you are sure your buying the best product and installing crew that you can afford. If you are thinking your going to go out and buy a new floor this weekend and have it installed next week your usually asking for problems and you will not be disappointed.
You have to remember, a new floor is an expensive investment. One that everyone that walks into your home will see before they notice the color of the paint on the wall. You want it to last for years and always look as good as the day it was installed. It all starts with a good foundation and then a flooring that will work for your application/use.
Interesting isn't it that the problems with wood floors travel the pond.
Typically the end user will spend what they consider a massive sum on the floor and then expect the installers to fit for nothing. That same client will think nothing of signing up for a pension and paying vast sums in commission to the advisor, yet when it comes to trades men, they can be treated as low paid throwaway labour.
To all potential purchasers of wood flooring, pick the right installer, research the product. Seek references and ask to be taken to the last clients house.
I love taking new clients to existing clients home to show off what we have done. Why?, because we are proud of our work and our craft.
I have never yet seen a silk purse from a sowes ear.
You definetly get what you pay for
Bozberg and Shamus, thank you. Very good advice. And as the wood flooring will be going in our formal living room, I definetly want it to look good.
As first time home owners a couple of decades ago, my husband and I had "a friend of a friend" pour us a new cement drive. We thought we were getting a good deal until it bowed beneath the vehicles and cracked all over.
A hard, but valuable lesson learned for us = you definetly get what you pay for!
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