If you’re looking to install new flooring, you should do your homework. There are plenty of resources available to help you find the right contractor and get your project done right for the best price possible. HomeAdvisor is a great place to start. They’ll provide you with a list of qualified contractors and you can do your due diligence from there.
Be sure to ask your flooring contractor flooring installation questions regarding their pricing, credentials, experience and more. It’s also a good idea to make a detailed list of what needs to be done. This will ensure you don’t get any surprises when it comes time for the actual installation. Be clear on whether the quote you receive includes removal of existing floors, as well as if the cost will change if furniture will need to be moved or raised.
If you’ve decided to install laminate or vinyl, you should always start with a good foundation. This means installing an underlayment such as foam or even better, a self-adhesive vapor barrier. These products are inexpensive, easy to install and will keep moisture from damaging your floor in the future.
Once the underlayment is installed, it’s time to lay your flooring. For most floating laminate, the process is relatively simple. Begin with the longest wall in your room and work your way around it. When it’s time to install the first row, remember to leave a 3/8 inch expansion gap at the wall and use spacers. This will allow your flooring to expand and contract without buckling or warping.
When installing the second row, be sure to stagger the joints of each board. This will prevent your new floor from becoming uneven and it’ll also help to extend the life of your flooring. When installing the third and subsequent rows, be sure to shorten each plank as needed in order to match tongues with grooves. Once you have the first three rows laid, your new floor should be complete!
For solid wood floors, the process is a bit more complicated. It’s important to follow the manufacturers instructions carefully, including allowing time for the floors to acclimate before installation. Many flooring materials require a specific temperature and humidity level in order to set properly. You can usually find this information on the back of the box, in the installation directions inside the box or on the manufacturer’s website.
Some solid wood flooring can produce toxic fumes known as outgasing. These gases are created from the adhesives, stains and finishes used in the production process and can be harmful to your family. If you’re concerned about this, be sure to check the product’s emissions testing results before laying it in a child’s bedroom or any other area of your home where outgasing may pose a problem. Some manufacturers will even issue a letter of certification upon request. You can find certified emissions results for most major wood flooring manufacturers on their websites.