Shopping for new floors? The best way for you to get the most from the flooring selection process is to prepare before you go shopping. Simple questions about how the room will be used, whether it will be a permanent floor covering or a temporary one, whether you have kids or pets, and if you require particular textures or colors can all impact the type of flooring you choose.
Little Things…Big Impact
The first step in shopping for new flooring is to talk with a reputable dealer and flooring retailer. Things homeowners need or want in their lives can give a flooring professional the insight they need to match needs with various flooring options. Here are some items to consider before you buy new flooring:
Furniture— what kind of furniture will be sitting on the new flooring? For example, casters on chairs can mar or dent a wood floor, ruining its elegant look.
Pets— pets with claws or nails may scratch wood flooring – different types and colors of wood will hide scratches better, or will not scratch as easily.
Cleaning & Maintenance—one of the single most important things you can do to ensure your floor will look newer longer is to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning. If the cleaning process is onerous, you may want to pass on that type of flooring.
Carpeting—Certain types of carpet fibers will show footprints and vacuum marks more so than others.
Carpet pad quality—Using a pad under carpeting may lengthen the life of the carpet; plus it will make the carpet feel softer under foot.
Area rugs—Area rugs can be effective for adding a new dimension in your home; however, you should not put rugs down for at least three months after installing new flooring. You will need to allow the floor to oxidize.
To help your flooring professional, it’s important to have correct dimensions so planning and budgeting can be as accurate as possible. The installer will measure the room a second time prior to purchasing your flooring to ensure that the measurements are correct.
After You Buy: Preparing Your Home
After you’ve selected your new flooring, it’s important to have a professional installation. This pre-installation and post-installation checklist will help make the installation go as smooth as possible.
Pre-Installation Checklist: Making It Clean & Easy
- Empty rooms and closets that will be resurfaced prior to the arrival of the installation crew.
- Remove old flooring prior to the arrival of the installation crew. Doing this yourself will save you money, though the installer will do a professional job.
- Complete all painting before your new flooring arrives.
- Remove and box any valuable items near the area of installation.
- Baseboards and moldings usually can be left in place.
- Remove all hanging objects in the area of installation.
- Disconnect and move electronics, appliances or computers.
- Installers will need access to a location to store and cut flooring materials. Most often this is the area of your new flooring, but it can also be your garage or basement.
- Installers will need access to electrical power in the installation area in order to cut flooring to size.
- Cover all cupboards, furniture, and other items in the area if your installation requires sanding or any type of demolition.
Be prepared to communicate any preferences you may have in terms of direction of pattern or layout of your flooring to the flooring professional before you purchase flooring and to the installers prior to installation to make sure that enough flooring is purchased. It’s best to have reviewed these preferences at the time of the purchase, as many of the styles require additional material to achieve the closest match of pattern possible.
Once the flooring is installed, proper ventilation, using fans, should be done for 72 hours after installation, especially if those in the home are sensitive to odors.
Post-Installation Checklist: Know What To Expect
Homeowners should thoroughly inspect the flooring once the installation has been completed. Identify any concerns immediately.
Look for such things as:
- Hinged doors that may require trimming for proper clearance once your new flooring is installed.
- Some installations may require touch-up to walls, moldings and baseboards.
- Some material waste is to be expected—leftover pieces are most common in irregular shaped rooms or when stairs and halls are recovered.
- All waste pertaining to the installation of your new flooring should be removed by the installation crew. However, homeowners will often keep extra flooring pieces for future use.
As a homeowner, you play a significant role in the selection and installation of flooring. Preparing in advance greatly helps the process in making sure your are satisfied with the type of flooring you select, how it is installed, and how it holds up over time. Selecting flooring wisely and overseeing the installation process go a long way in being satisfied when the project is complete.