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Hardwood floor installation versus installing a wood floor yourself

Updated on March 15, 2010

So, you have decided to install hardwood floors in your house but have got sticker shock with how much labor costs to have them laid professionally.  Do you really need hardwood floor installers or can you do it yourself and save the extra $4 per square foot?  This will depends on what you know and how handy you are.  Just understand this much- if you hire a professional hardwood installer then you will know that it will get done both quick (in most cases) and right (in most cases).

The first step is to know whether you are actually capable of laying the floors yourself.  How much experience do you have and are you the type of person who is handy around the house?

In most cases, laying traditional hardwood will require you to be able to use a mider saw and be fairly exact with measurements.  You will also need to know how to either nail or glue the wood planks down to the subfloor.  These days, you can opt for the floating hardwood floor which is cheaper than solid wood and uses a tongue and groove flooring feature that makes it less hard (but not easy) for the average do-it-yourself handyman.

Can you afford to hire an installer to lay your floors?

If you have the money and don’t really have the expertise to lay wood floors yourself, you may be in better shape to let a professional do the dirty work for you.  Laying floors may sound easy but for many novices this can be a job that lasts for days.

Is the room a standard room, shape wise or is it an odd shape?  Is the room larger than most?

If the room is set up with a large bay window or has weird corners or is unusually big, then you will need to take more time cutting the wood to fit awkward spaces.  Ditto when it comes to larger rooms.  Professional hardwood installers may be the better fit as they are used to this more than a handyman.

Are you going to have help laying the wood planks?

While HGTV may make hardwood floors a piece of cake that can be done in an afternoon, understand that laying floors and the prep work before you lay the hardwood is fairly labor intensive.  For instance, if you have carpet, you will need to rip up the carpet, thoroughly clean the subfloor, and level the subfloor out with planks and sand BEFORE you even get started.  This process for one man could take a day or two in and of itself.  Some do-it-yourself flooring can take a couple weeks to complete if you are the only one laying the wood.

With professional services, typically you will have 2-4 guys helping and what could take you a week or two could be reduced to a day or two of labor.  Because these guys know what they are doing and lay hardwood floors for a living, you can guess that they can zoom through the work very quickly.

What is their reputation like?

If you do choose a professional contractor, you should always ask for references.  If you go through a hardwood specialist like Lumber Liquidators, you can be rest assured that they have done the homework for you and you will get a professional who knows what they are doing.

The real key to making this decision is to know what you are capable of and what would be better left for someone else that knows what they are doing.  Once you can determine this, you will know whether you want to deal with the headache of doing it yourself or looking for the best hardwood installer in your area.

But let’s say, that you don’t want to deal with laying the floors yourself.  How do you find the most reputable floor installer at the best price?  The key is in the questions you ask.  By asking the right questions, you can rest assured that the extra money for labor will likely go into the right hands and that at the end of the day, you will have some quality flooring work to account for it.


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Does anyone use sand anymore?


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