When searching for a flooring installer, the best way to start is by asking around. A direct reference is the preferred way of finding any contractor, especially a reference from a family member or friend who has worked with them previously. The next place you can look for flooring professionals in your area is on the National Wood Flooring Association's website: https://www.woodfloors.org/certified-professional-search.aspx. We also recommend looking on Houzz.com and Yelp.com.
Once you have a short list of installers to reach out to, here are some things to consider and ask during the vetting process:
While most contractors may be experienced in installing most types of flooring, don't assume that they are familiar with your flooring of choice, just ask! Ensure your contractor specializes in the type of flooring you chose, whether it be hardwood, laminate, or vinyl flooring. Additionally, ask about their previous work and if they're willing to share references and photos. Check the references provided to get a better feel for their experience level, handiwork, and professionalism / communication skills.
Confirm that the installer is licensed and request proof of insurance. A bad installation job is one thing, but if an accident were to occur on the job to a worker or subcontractor, you want to ensure they have coverage, otherwise you may be liable. Note that depending on your state, not all contractors are required to be licensed.
Before any work commences, confirm the all-in cost, not just the cost of the flooring installation. Additional fees may apply for moldings, transitions, leveling, etc. Ensure you are aware of the full scope of the project and obtain a written agreement. Find out what the payment schedule is, and whether or not a deposit is required in order to schedule your installation and begin work.
Get Multiple Quotes
Do your research and shop around. We suggest getting a minimum of 3 quotations for the same job and comparing them apples to apples, as best as possible. Ask for detailed estimates that include the work to be done and the estimated time frame from start to completion.
Be Present During Installation
Read over all manufacturer guidelines alongside your installer to ensure both of you are aware of the nuances that might be associated with your particular flooring. BE PRESENT at the start of installation and throughout. Make sure the installer knows exactly how you want the planks laid out and is checking in with you throughout the process. If there are any issues or visible defects with your flooring and the installer proceeds with installation, it will be nearly impossible to return or exchange the flooring after it has been installed.
New floors will undoubtedly enhance the interior of your home and finding an experienced installer that you are comfortable with is a key part of the process. Take the time to do your research, be transparent, and you'll be pleased with your new floors for years to come.