Why you need to hire a pro
Just imagine that you have decided to rip out the old carpet or laminate in your home and install some nice hardwood floors. You go through the process of finding and choosing a floor that you like. Then you go through another process of choosing someone to install the floor. Now you are really looking forward to the finished product!
But you look around and notice a few mistakes in the install, some attempts to hide them, and then a few more and what is with that big hump in the middle of the living room! Uh oh!
Recently I had the (dis)pleaseasure of taking a look at a floor just like I’m describing, it was clearly not done by professionals.
I’ll show you some pictures from the floor and describe what you are seeing.
Here they used filler to “hide” some gaps. Hardwood floors need expansion gaps all around the walls as the hardwood will move. It expands and contracts as it takes in and releases moisture. Not enough gaps will cause problems.
BUT these gaps should be covered by baseboard or mouldings. This was not done here. They should have taken the extra time to remove the baseboards and undercut the doorway. This would hide the needed expansion gaps and leave a clean install.
Some don’t remove the baseboards and this is perfectly fine if the flooring is installed properly. Then the EVEN gaps are covered by a moulding.
They tried to do that here BUT just on this one wall. This must be done throughout the house, and the expansion gaps should be fairly even, usually around 1/4″, for it too look good. What was done here was to hide some imperfections with moulding and then some with filler. So this one wall with a shoe moulding really stood out, in a bad way.
A hardwood flooring install should be seamless. Meaning there is no need for transitions, unless the hardwood is meeting another material, such as tile or carpet. The flooring should have just continued on here, through the doorway. Perhaps they added hardwood to this bedroom at a later date. The solution for this would be to lace in new flooring into the existing, leaving a seamless transition. To be honest, I have no idea what anyone was thinking in the picture below.
While it is hard to see in the picture, there was a very noticeable hump in this living room. You may be able to tell with the light and shadows.
This was due to not doing any sub floor prep. That would mean making sure the sub floor is flat and clean. Sub floor prep can make a huge improvement to any flooring installation. Imagine walking over your newly installed floor and drastically dips into the corner of a room. We would discuss any needed sub floor prep with you, and go over your options.
So while these examples are some of the worst work I’ve ever seen, it does highlight that fact that it is always good value to hire a pro. Make sure that anyone you are hiring is a professional at what they do. Flooring seems to get lumped in to a “so easy anyone can do it” category, but this post and other installs I’ve seen prove that having a professional handling your hardwood flooring project is well worth it.
So how do you do find a reputable professional? Search online for reviews, pictures of their work, and meet with them. Ask questions, they should be happy to answer questions you may have.
This will ensure that the work is done properly, and that it will look good for a long time. Your floors should last as long as your home is standing.