02 Aug 2012

Getting the Ball Rolling on Your Flooring Project

Atlanta Flooring Comments Off

Flooring contractors are specialists trained in the disciplines of installing a variety of floor coverings.  Contractors operate as sole proprietors, or as larger companies with multiple employees.  Repair and maintenance are also handled by most flooring contractors.

If you are building a house, or simply renovating your existing home, working with a competent flooring contractor ensures that your floor coverings are installed properly.  Don’t be fooled by do-it-yourself lures of perfect flooring, in a snap – there is more to it than you think.

The first step in calculating your contractor needs is to define the scope of your project.  What types of flooring are you considering?  What is your budget?  If you are building, it may be necessary for your installer to coordinate with other tradesmen, so create a basic outline of your expected timeline.  In short, gather as much information as possible, so you can convey an accurate snapshot of your project, to the flooring contractors you might hire.

By defining your project precisely, you’ll be able to sort through the flooring contractors in your area with an eye toward the ones that are adequately prepared to tackle your job.  For instance, if you want to hire a single company to install multiple surface types, make sure you consult with flooring contractors that install a wide range of products.  It is common for contractors to specialize in certain types of flooring, so you might also choose to work with more than one installer.

Flooring choices range from traditional coverings like carpeting and resilient vinyl and linoleum surfaces, to wood, tile and stone.  Laminated wood products have become popular, because they are easier to install than traditional hardwood plank floors, cost less, but provide the same warm aesthetic appeal as solid hardwood boards.

Bamboo and cork flooring use sustainable materials that are gaining acceptance as floor coverings.  If you choose to follow newly emerging flooring trends, it is particularly important that you seek a contractor with specific experience installing these types of floors.

Finding the Right Flooring Contractor – Things to Look For

Common sense prevails here – you just want to be sure the job is done right.  Tap all the resources available to you to properly evaluate the flooring contractors that you are considering for your job.

Referrals and testimonials are important for tradesmen, because they illustrate successful track records. If someone refers you to a flooring contractor, you might even be able to have a look at the work the installer did for them.  At the very least, a flooring professional should be able to provide references and photos of their work.

Better Business Bureau alerts consumers to potential problems with service providers.  If a flooring contractor has unresolved complaints or negative ratings with the BBB, it may illustrate a pattern of poor performance.

Online referral services like Angie’s List allow customers to assess the work and professionalism of contractors and tradesmen. Sometimes there is a fee for the service, but the information comes from consumers just like you, so it’s worth it. If your flooring contractor is highly rated by these outlets, it means that he or she has left a trail of happy customers, and that’s exactly what you’re looking for.

Most states require flooring contractors to be licensed.  Check the status of a license through your state’s issuing agency; to be sure your contractor is operating legally.  Reputable flooring installers are bonded and insured too.  If a flooring contractor damages your home, or fails to complete the job, an insurance policy and/or bond should be in place to protect you.

Bids and Contracts

Once you’ve narrowed your search to a handful of promising candidates, it is advisable to have at least two flooring contractors bid on your job.  By obtaining multiple written bids, you have something to compare, which is the best way to make distinctions between flooring contractors.

Bids and contracts should include specific information about the job, including start and finish dates, warranty conditions and payment schedules.  If your job is time sensitive, build protection into your contract by placing contingencies on the completion date.  If your contract imposes consequences for not finishing on time, flooring contractors will get the job done.

A materials list should also be present, so that you know exactly what goods will be installed.  Don’t be afraid to ask your contractor to be very specific about the materials and methods that will be used on your project.  And make sure the contract provides for waste removal.

Most often, contractors request half your payment at the onset of the job and half at completion.  If your installer wants a single payment at the end of the job, that’s fine too, but never pay for the whole job up front.

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