Hardwood Flooring Advice
I don't know what it is, but today everybody's brother seems to know all about hardwood floors. From a relative to the handyman, and many times tradesmen who know little about the subject. Having personally installed over a half million square feet I have to admit I don't know everything. I sure don't know how to wire a house, but that same electrician seems to know all about the industry I am most familiar with!
Our Information May Be Different - Why?
You may even find conflicting suggestions on this site. Why? Hardwood flooring is treated differently from one region to another, much the same as other building techniques. My forte is engineered flooring on concrete because most of my experience comes from the state of Florida with the majority of construction being on concrete slabs. However, my experience doesn't rule out other types of installations, but one thing is clear; I am not comfortable offering advice to someone that lives in a climate whose temperatures may dip below zero two months out of the year.
In special situations, what may work for someone in Southern California for example, may be quite different than that of Billings, Montana. In cases like Montana or other extreme climates, it is strongly advised to find someone locally that is knowledgeable of special situations.
Retail Store Advice
The common retail store that sells mostly carpet and a few lines of wood flooring will not have the knowledge of the retailer that specializes in hardwood floors every day.
CraigsList & Other Sources
Still even more uncomfortable is the fact so many unqualified, unlicensed, and uninsured individuals have surfaced through Craigslist and other avenues. Harder economic times brought many from other trades into this business without proper knowledge or experience. Most folks love a great deal and there's no doubt Craigslist presents great price opportunities, but I would suggest ample research when selecting a contractor.
Carpet Turned Hardwood Specialists
For the last fifteeen years, or going back to the late 90's many carpet installers have moved into hardwood. Some have no problem learning or excelling, but there are a slew that simply prefer to do it their way. Unfortunately carpet and hardwood is entirely different. One of the most important aspects of a successful hardwood installation is floor preparation. Carpet people don't think twice about floor leveling or that dip in the middle of the floor. However, install a new wood floor over it and see what happens. Eventually, squeaks, tweaks, and other strange sounds will be heard.
Big Box Store Advice
You may find some knowledgeable people, but chances are slim. In earlier days it was not hard to find a guy or gal that really knew their stuff. Unfortunately those days seem to be gone. One disadvantage of the big box store is limited selection. Each prefinished manufacturer has different specifications in one form or another, especially when it comes to underlayments and adhesives. Taking the advice of someone that handles only one or two manufacturers could spell disaster as manufacturers are very strict on warranties and what is specified. Failure to comply can result in the warranty being voided regardless of who handles the installation.
A few years back I rented a pneumatic flooring nailer from a big box store and the guy behind the rental counter offered all sorts of conflicting advice. I asked him what kind of experience he had. His reply; "I've been a plumber for 28 years." Oh, okay that must explain the confusion I thought. Folks! Be careful out there with advice.
How many are out there? Too many to count the way I see it. Check their "about us" pages. Hardly any mention who is in charge. It's the same old glowing personal review of themselves. Advice? In earlier years, many did not have the qualified people that could offer good sound advice. Times have changed somewhat. If you're looking for online advice use a few qualifying questions as a check to see if they know what they're talking about. Keep in mind, no two persons will say the same thing, but may have variations that will give them credibility.
A few basic questions include:
• What's a good moisture meter?
• Is it okay to install my floor when it's raining?
Let's look at those two questions. Moisture testing is extremely important today. A few years back when I interviewed potential installers the first question was; "what kind of moisture meter do you use?" Three out of five could not answer the question. Now as far as the raining question, problems can occur with dew point if the home is open during the installation. Climate control should be considered in this case.
Online Resource Sites
You've probably surfed the web and found a few that offer so much conflicting information it will make your head spin. With many forms of internet advertising available to Joe Public, all one has to do is slap up some basic information about a subject, sign up as an advertiser and it's on the road to riches. Unfortunately there are far too many resource sites that offer so much conflicting advice you have to wonder.
As mentioned, my site is not the definitive guide to hardwood flooring. It is merely a resource that offers information from a different angle, or the kind of information many are looking for.