02 Dec Best Places To Buy Your New Flooring
Where To Buy Flooring: Should You Shop For Flooring At Home Depot & Lowes
The beautiful, sleek look of a hardware floor makes it a must-have for any homeowner who wants their kitchen, dining room, or living room to pop. Installing hardwood floors is easier said than done, however, especially when it comes to the decision of which floors fit your house best. When you need help taking your plans to the next level, working with a local independent flooring company can help guide you through the selection process.
Shopping For the Product
You may get flyers in the mail every week advertising a home center store’s flooring – hardwood, tile, carpets – and even if they are all on sale (this week only!) the ads probably don’t add much information about which choices fit best in individual rooms and homes.
Big box stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot usually lead with flooring loss leaders, and often advertise installation services.
However, their employees are quickly trained to get customers to the checkout counter and little else, meaning you probably won’t get many detailed answers. In addition, most big box stores out-source their installation services. Shopping at your local flooring store, with just a few locations within your area, usually provides a better experience.
For starters, their ownership is more dedicated to helping customers; Lowe’s will survive a day or a week when none of their customers actually make a purchase, but the local home improvement stores cannot.
What’s more, local flooring stores have their own insulation crews and this can have a huge impact on the life of your floor and how it looks.
Budgets and Timelines
In a perfect world, you could spare no expense to upgrade your floors. Since we don’t live in a perfect world, your budget may be the largest concern for a flooring project, and all the decisions you make may need to focus on what is most affordable instead of what is most visually or functionally desired. Your budget doesn’t need to be a card you play close to your vest; an experienced flooring contractor can look over your budget and let you know areas where change or upgrades may be beneficial to the bottom line, or may be worth the extra investment. Don’t think you need to plan a budget and the corresponding materials alone, ask for help from someone experienced, or else you may find you spend more than you bargained for.
The same fact about budgets is true for timelines. Nobody wants a flooring project that stretches on weeks longer than estimated. That’s why getting an estimate from an independent contractor is better than getting an estimate from a “one size fits all” big box subcontractor, since they are likely under internal timelines and aren’t able to budge from their available estimates.
Picking the Installation
If the largest decision you face when buying hardwood floors is where to purchase them and how much to spend, the second-largest will typically be whom you choose to install them. The installation contractors will understand the various ways of actually putting the new flooring into place; depending on the size and scope of the project, each board may need to be nailed, glued, or mechanically fastened.
The complexities of installation are a reason why even the hardiest DIY homeowner should hand the job off to professional contractors. An error in the measurement or the attachment process can spell doom for the entire project. Independent contractors understand the smallest details that must be taken care of, including the humidity of the interior, as this can affect the size and movement of each plank.
Get a Warranty
There are no guarantees in the world of home ownership, and what works perfectly well today may not be functional tomorrow. This is, unfortunately, also true in terms of a major purchase, including hardwood floors. However, a business needs to be able to stand behind their product and the work, in the event that issues cause it to become partially or even entirely damaged.
Make certain when looking for installation contractors that you get exact details about their warranty process. Sub-contractors who work with the big box stores may not offer warranty services at all because the store itself covers this liability.
As a result, the flooring you purchase from a Home Depot may be covered if it breaks, but the actual costs of installation may not be covered. This can leave you with not just a headache but a brand-new bill in case certain sections need to be replaced or restored.
An independent contractor does not have this option because they must maintain their own warranty services that cover the costs of everything, including both product and installation, as well as any necessary repairs. Since independent contractors cannot get a license without the insurance coverage needed to provide a warranty in the first place, you can be certain that their services will be covered in a warranty.
A typical warranty will cover your floors for the first year. If you are concerned about further coverage, you and an independent contractor can negotiate an extended coverage.
Experience and Proven Projects
Everyone wants certainty that the money they invest on improving their home will be well-spent. That’s why experience and proven results are worth their weight in gold. Local flooring contractors who have installed dozens (or even hundreds) of floors before can give you the best service, the most accurate estimates, and recommendations about issues that may arise in the process. Experienced contractors expect, rather than dread, problems like the wrong supplies or delayed deliveries. Their experience allows them to overcome the biggest obstacles and focus on what steps can be taken to get the job done.
Just as important as knowing what to do is knowing whom to trust. Experience allows a local contractor to use their in-house installation crew, whether they need to decide on a work team or find a vendor who can get them products as soon as possible. What’s more, experienced contractors know the difference between a temporary fad and proven results. Most often, they are able to give advice based on what can best get the job done as opposed to what hasn’t been proven to work yet.
Conclusion: How to Pick Better Flooring
There are many decisions to be made when you decide to upgrade your home to hardwood flooring. There are many advantages, including ease of cleaning and aesthetic appeal, but many tough choices that need to be made before buying a single plank. Take the time to consider your options for buying and installing flooring.
Choose a big box store only if you believe the lower cost justifies handing over the timeline and the warranty to the company and only if you’re already certain of the exact type of flooring you want and if you’re clear about how it will work in your space. An independent contractor will give you much more flexibility, as well as a trained eye for detail, and can be worth the cost given their depth of experience, skills and warranty coverage.