Good Flooring Installer? Clues
Along with other things to ask a potential hardwood installer could be; do you do commercial work? If the response is yes, be careful. Next time you’re at the shopping mall look at some of the flooring very closely. Some tidbits to look for are improper staggering of planks (end joints too close to one another). Guys that rush and only care about a paycheck will slap anything down to get the job done faster. Incidentally malls are a great place to check out new flooring ideas. Fortunately nowadays some of the higher end stores are including real wood floors.
What's In His Truck?
A number of years ago I had a discussion with the guy who actually taught me the trade. He wasn't much of a teacher really, because he rarely said anything unless something was very wrong. At times it was uncomfortable because I didn't know right from wrong at times. Anyway he said he always looked in the back of a guys work truck, which can say a lot about an installer or finisher. Looking is not entirely accurate but it is helpful. I've known some guys that were a mess but did wonderful work.
While I realize the average homeowner may not know what to look for. I always looked for specialty tools. After all, if the guy invests in top dollar power tools it does indicate something about them. One item I learned was listen to what the installer says during an interview. Ask them what they plan on doing with the mess they will create.
Are They Messy? Cleanup
Daily cleanup may not be as important with new construction or if you are going through an extensive remodel. However, if you're living in the home and the job goes into a few days or weeks, you sure don't want to be tripping over piles of scrap pieces or walking through sawdust. Find out ahead of time what they plan on doing. Having an area accessible for jobsite waste is preferred.
Better professionals will leave your home clean and unobstructed if the job takes more than one day. This means general daily cleanup is performed and tools are kept in an organized manner and out of harms way. Keep in mind, during the work, furniture and other household items may not be accessible due to the limited work area or storage space.
If you've been on other pages of my site, you'll notice I urge floor preparation heavily. This is an ideal question to ask a potential installer. Although you may have carpeting covering the subfloor, ask what they plan on doing if the subfloor needs work. If you get responses like "we just sweep and get it started..." You may want to look elsewhere.
Expectations from consumers when it comes to hardwood flooring is far different than that of thirty years ago and longer. It's almost like they expect their floor to look and behave like a piece of fine furniture. Rightfully so, considering the costs today. One of the most critical part of any installation is attention to moisture. Another tidbit when hiring that installer; ask them what kind of moisture meter they use. If they do not have an answer, once again it's time to look elsewhere.