Hardwood flooring install tips from National Floors Direct

6 Things to Expect From Hardwood Floor Installation Companies

You may already be aware of why you should consider hardwood flooring. Wooden floors are long-lasting and easy to clean. You can refurbish them if they become old and worn - you've probably heard all this before. 

The goal isn't to convince you to have a hardwood floor installation done. We want to make sure you know what to expect during the job. Sure, you could lay the floor yourself, but it's a big job if you don't have the right skills. 

Sometimes, it's best to leave things to the professionals. Checking that your floor installation team is doing their job well sounds daunting. However, it's essential you know they're doing the right thing. 

Below are six things you should expect from your hardwood floor installers. 

1. They Have Insurance and Licensing

Any company you hire for should have insurance and licensing. A job with insurance can support its workers if something goes wrong.

A company's insurance covers you also. The law could hold you accountable if something goes wrong during contracting work.

Licensing is proof a company can work in the state or region. Some states don't require licensing for carpentry. But a license does imply experience.

For example, Alabama lets carpenters earn a license after three years of experience. Arizona law states carpenters need a permit to "alter, repair, subtract, or improve any structure."

2. They Check Moisture Levels and Acclimatize the Wood

A hardwood floor swells and shrinks from nearby moisture. The hardwood floor installers should check the flooring and sub-flooring moisture levels. The contractor accomplishes this by taking and reading meter readings.

The installer will also measure indoor humidity and temperature to ensure they're within normal range. The acclimatization process won't happen until other carpentry work is complete. 

It can take a few days to a few weeks for acclimatization to finish. A competent contractor will take the time to explain the process to you. 

3. They Give You a Detailed, Written Quote

Your contractor will provide you with a copy of the hardwood floor installation cost. The written quote acts as a written contract binding you and the contractor to the specified fees. 

Most hardwood floor installation companies will have you sign the quote before they start working. The quote lists everything included in the installation cost and what the installation entails. 

What to Expect on an Installation Quote

Your provided quote should be as detailed as possible. Vague quotes that detail what you're paying for can lead to trouble like disagreements and even legal disputes. Here is some of what you should expect to see:

  • Mentions of whether removal of existing flooring is included
  • Subfloor preparation
  • Who's responsible for moving furniture?
  • Who's supplying what materials?
  • Is cost material cost based on square footage? 
If you're unsure about what's on the quote, feel free to ask the contractor. A good contractor won't mind explaining the intricacies of your hardwood flooring cost. 

4. They Prepare the Subfloor

The subfloor needs preparation before work can start on the hardwood. One lesson we'll tell you about installing hardwood floors is that you need a dry, level, and clean surface to lay flooring. 

Your contractor should make sure that the subfloor is clear of any debris or moisture before they begin work. An uneven subfloor means the hardwood layer won't be level either. 

You and the contractor should be happy with the subfloor's stability. Watch out for creaking or bouncing. These are definite signs the floor isn't level. 

Areas prone to high moisture levels will make it hard to keep moisture-free subfloor. 

5. They Prep a Layout

You shouldn't come across contractors immediately starting on the hardwood floors. Ideally, the installer will take time to visit each room and plan how each plank will lay throughout your house. 

Although your rooms may look perfectly square, that may not be the case. Not all planks are the same size either.

A competent installer will know to account for any tricky hard-to-reach spots or oddly shaped areas. It's important that they concisely plan out each step of the installation process. 

Ask the contractor if you're curious about how the layout stage works. They'll let you know what they're doing and why it has to be that way. Don't trust someone who jumps right to work without explanation to do the job well. 

6. They Use Plenty of Nails

Nail count may not sound like a huge deal at first, but the more nails your hardwood floor has, the better secured it is. Some installers skimp on the nails, which will become problematic. 

You could end up with squeaky and loose wooden planks. At best, your floors are just noisy. But loose boards could become a safety hazard. Here are a few rules of thumb your contractor should follow:

  • Nail every six to eight for planks four inches or wider 
  • Every board should have no less than two nails
  • Nails should be no more than one to three inches from each board end
An easy way to avoid mishaps is attaching hardwood flooring to follow the manufacturer's instructions. Even the best contractors follow manufacturing guidelines. If yours isn't, it may be cause for concern. 

In Need of Hardwood Floor Installation?

During your hardwood floor installation, you should expect competence, attention to detail, and a contractor that cares about the job. You should have an expectation that your contractor is licensed and insured.

You should also expect the installer to check the floor moisture levels and use as many nails as needed to attach your flooring correctly. Call us if you're looking for someone to install your hardwood floor. 

National Floors Direct has over 75 years of experience selling and installing flooring. You can count on us to get the job done right.