how to choose best hardwood flooring contractor utah

How to Choose a Superior Hardwood Flooring Contractor

how to choose best hardwood flooring contractor utah

Hardwoods floors are a popular choice for projects all across the globe. This article will discuss how to find the best contractor who specializes in installing hardwood flooring.

Nowadays, homeowners are turning to hardwood flooring contractors to make their homes beautiful.

Hardwood floors will add elegance and charm to any room, but they can be tricky to install.

It is necessary to find a contractor who has experience with hardwood installations because mistakes could damage your floors, walls, or both.

That being said, here below are the top 10 tips to look for when hiring a hardwood flooring contractor.

10 Actionable Steps for Hiring a Superior Hardwood Flooring Contractor

1. Create a Competitive Situation

Don’t be afraid to contact more than one flooring contractor and get estimates from several.

You are making a substantial investment so do not allow yourself to be pressured. Be disciplined, organized and be sure to engage in a competitive broad search.

Choose the hardwood flooring contractor you like the best and that gives you the best value for the job.

2. Compare Estimates

Get estimates from at least three different hardwood floors companies.

And here is a little extra tip for you, some installers may throw out high estimates because they know there is a certain percentage of homeowners who are prone to immediately sign a contract.

So, by getting more estimates, you weed out the outliers.

3. Check the Contractor’s References

One of the most important ways to ensure the quality of a contractor’s work is by getting input from other customers.

Always ask a contractor to provide references and make sure they give you a good sampling of them.

A mix of recent and older customers will give you a better overview of the contractor’s quality of work.

4. Check the Business Structure

Get familiar with the structure of the businesses that will install your hardwood floors.

Does the business use its employees or subcontractors? Does each one of them have sufficient insurance? Do they have a proper business license?

Better Business Bureau (BBB) can also offer good input in terms of complaints received and how they were handled.

5. Check for Warranty

A good contractor should be willing to back up the quality of their work by providing a warranty.

They know that hardwood floors are a costly investment for you and should be willing to offer you this common safeguard.

They generally offer a written one-year warranty but if you can negotiate for two years or more, all the better.

6. Clarify Terms

When you’ve chosen a contractor for the job, you’ll want to clarify the terms and details and get everything in writing.

If time is important to you, get a schedule in writing as well as the payment terms.

Good hardwood floor contractors have plenty of work so you will have to determine if you are willing to wait for the installer you prefer.

7.Draw up a Contract

Do not let the contractor get too far ahead of the work. Pay as you go and insist upon a walk-through inspection before the final payment is released.

8. Split Your Payments

Paying a contractor the full amount upfront could lead to a costly mistake. It is far better to split your payments.

This payment structure will help prevent the hardwood flooring contractor from leaving behind any of their responsibilities.

9. Delivery and Acclimation

After you’ve chosen your contractor, they will deliver the flooring to your home.

This should happen at least seven to ten days before the actual installation because the wood will need to acclimate to the temperature and humidity levels of your home.

Temperature and humidity should remain steady throughout acclimation and installation.

10. Hardwood Flooring Installation

Once the wood has acclimated properly, it’s finally time to install.

Usually, the installers will arrive early in the morning, and depending on the number and size of the rooms you are having done, the work could be finished in a day or up to a week.

wood floor refinishing, repairs and restoration in Salt Lake City, Draper, Provo, West Valley City Utah

10 Questions You Should Ask Your Hardwood Flooring Contractor

1. What certifications, if any, does the contractor have?

Before signing the contract, be sure to also ask if the contractor has had any professional training, relevant education, or any hardwood flooring certifications.

This will give you an idea of their technical skill set as it relates to the job at hand.

2. Is the contractor an NWFA member?

The NWFA is dedicated to training and educating wood floor professionals.

A professional hardwood floor contractor will be able to give professional results and offer advice in case any questions arise after work completion.

The NWFA has various certifications. If providers are members, ask about their experience and if they have any NWFA certifications.

These certifications should carry weight in your decision-making.

3. Can I see a portfolio of your previous work?

A portfolio can tell you a lot about a contractor, including their experience with residential versus commercial projects, what types of flooring materials they’ve worked with, and what to expect from the finished appearance.

Word-of-mouth references, from friends and co-workers, are also a great source. However, ask all prospective providers for their references and contact information.

Be sure to check the references. If the provider has a project workbook, ask to see samples of their work.

4. Can you order hardwood floors for me?

In many cases, installation companies have working relationships with top manufacturers, which is convenient and often cost-effective for customers.

So, if a contractor can order your hardwood flooring materials for you that’s an extra point

5. Will you need to visit my home before getting started?

Reputable hardwood flooring contractors should visit your home before getting started.

Because it is crucial to see your space, take measurements, and check your subfloor, before ordering the materials and beginning installation.

6. Who will move the furniture and is it included in the price?

Find out if you need to move all your furniture yourself or if the installer handles this for free or with an extra cost.

7. Do you handle demolition and is it included in the price?

Your hardwood flooring project might require some demolition.

In many instances, demolition is an essential part of flooring installation. It involves prepping the space for new floors and safely removing any hazardous materials.

Be sure to find out if your contractor can handle demolition and whether it comes with the service or for an added cost.

8. How long will the job take to complete?

Installing hardwood floors can be a time-consuming job and you’ll want to know going in exactly how long it’s going to take.

Such items as delivery of materials and acclimation can add to the overall length of the job.

Also, you’ll want to know if the contractor intends to skip any days during the project, whether to allow for drying time or just because they don’t work on certain days.

9. Will you take care of dust control and clean up?

Some contractors do all the cutting outside to minimize dust, while others bring the equipment inside and some even have dust containment systems.

Other contractors, like Woody’s Hardwood Flooring, uses dust-free sanding to virtually eliminate dust during the sanding and refinishing stages.

Know what to expect and where they will be setting up tools and equipment. Ask if they seal off rooms with plastic sheeting, too.

10. What’s your payment schedule look like?

Generally, you’ll be expected to make a down payment to schedule the work, another payment when the materials are delivered and final payment after the work is complete.

Find out the exact policies of your contractors, you’ll also want to check and make sure that your contractor offers workers comp to all employees.

That way if something happens during the project, you won’t be on the hook for their injuries or missed work time.

Hardwood Flooring Contractors – Takeaway

In conclusion, hardwood flooring can be a great addition to any home. It is easy to maintain and looks wonderful when it is in good condition.

Hardwood flooring contractors are experienced with this type of flooring, so they are the best way to go for ensuring all the right measures are taken.

If you want to protect your investment and are selective, know what to expect, ask the right questions and get everything in writing, you have a winning formula to choose the right hardwood floor contractor.

If you’re based in Salt Lake City or the surrounding areas in Utah and looking for superior hardwood flooring services, Woody’s Hardwood Flooring Inc. is your best bet!

We have the highest quality for a competitive price, where the only top-of-the-line materials and equipment are used to ensure the most value out of your investment.

Gaps and cracks in Utah home's hardwood floor

Are You Concerned About Cracks and Separation Between Hardwood Floor Boards?

Gaps and cracks in Utah home's hardwood floor

Cracks & Separations Happen to All Hardwood Floors

Every hardwood floor endures some separation between boards. In the winter months when the home is heated and the air is dry, wood flooring releases some of its moisture and therefore shrinks. When this happens, thin cracks appear between boards. This is normal and is acceptable. Hardwood flooring is designed and installed to handle this type of movement.

Cracks and separations can be alarming to the proud owner of a new hardwood floor, especially when it looks nearly flawless in the summertime, when by winter some noticeable cracking and separating of the floor boards appear. In some cases, these changes in the floor don’t occur until years after installation.

utah hardwood flooring separation gap

 

Homeowners should not call their hardwood installers at the first sign of cracks. Cracks that developed during the winter months may easily reach the thickness of a dime or a quarter. Generally speaking, wider boards will show more gapping than narrow boards. Lighter colored flooring material such as maple or floors with a lighter stain tend to show cracks and separation more than darker wood tones and stain colors.

Remember, Utah has a dry climate, which is classed as semi-arid to desert, in spite of its variety of smaller climates found among its varying terrain, from Salt Lake to the peaks of the Uinta Mountains, not to mention that it also lies in the path of monsoon precipitation from the Gulf of California in the summer months and is subject to unique temperature inversions across its valleys that can last for weeks.

How to Help Prevent Cracks and Separations in your Hardwood Floor

Homeowners should add moisture to the air during dry periods. It is the homeowner’s choice and responsibility to maintain humidity levels. Homeowners can either live with the cracks and separation or install a whole home humidification system to minimize this natural adjustment in their flooring.

To Humidify or Dehumidify, that is the Question

By stabilising your home’s relative humidity year-round, you can help lessen the number of cracks and separations that naturally occur. You can do this by using a humidifier in the winter months and exhaust fans and dehumidifiers in the case of too much moisture in the summertime. The best time to determine your home’s humidity levels with respect to your hardwood floors is when you are having them installed.

What is the ideal humidity level for your Utah home if you have hardwood floors?

Having a balanced level of humidity in your Utah home is good for you, your family, your pets and plants…and your hardwood floors! It is recommended to keep your home’s humidity between 35% to 55%. If your home’s humidity drops below 35%, then it increases the likelihood of the floor cracking and separating. An ideal room temperature for flooring is between 60 degrees to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also look to purchase a “wood moisture meter” that can help you determine the ongoing fluctuations in relative humidity in your home throughout the year.

When Woody’s Hardwood Flooring installers assess an installation, we use a variety of tools that help with the process, such as this “pinless moisture meter” (on left) and a smaller one to test temperature and relative humidity (on right).

An example of our Orion moisture metre and humidity tester for hardwood flooring. This helps us minimize cracking and gapping in hardwood floors due to humidity changes in your Utah home.

Hardwood Floor Cupping, Crowning and Buckling

Cupping can be caused by water being spilled onto a hardwood floor, or from having too high of a relative humidity in your home. The floor boards curve in a concave fashion.

Crowning is similar to cupping in how it is formed, however, the floor boards instead form a convex curve. This can again occur when the floor is exposed to water or high humidity for long periods of time. The saturation of moisture causes the crowning effect.

Buckling is one of the most extreme issues with moisture and humidity in your hardwood floor. It occurs when the floor actually separates from the subfloor, noticeably lifting up to a few inches in one or more places in your home. Thankfully, this issue is quite rare and is often a result of more extreme circumstances such as flooding over a longer time period.

Make sure you first fix the imbalance in your moisture/humidity levels to allow the floor boards to dry and find a neutral, balanced state of humidity and moisture levels within. This way, any sanding or restoration efforts will be most effective for the long-term.

Here is a good summary from the NWFA regarding cupping and crowning:

Cupping and crowning of hardwood floors illustration from NWFA publication 2019

Image content copyright National Wood Flooring Association

 

When is the best time of year to install hardwood flooring?

While you can have hardwood flooring installed year-round in Utah, Autumn’s cooler temperatures are ideal for installing your new floor. However, it always helps if you do your best to balance your home’s humidity levels using a humidifier and dehumidifier, your family and floors will benefit in every season.

If you notice that you have gaps in your floor boards in the winter, this is a key sign that your home’s humidity could be further optimized. It is best to wait until spring to see if the gaps remain, reduce in size or close up.

Larger gaps in hardwood flooring that don’t close up in the summer time may be due to excessive moisture below the floor, so your flooring can be somewhat of a “canary in the coal mine” in revealing things like structural settlement and water-based issues that are not visible otherwise.

If you are considering to have a new hardwood floor installed in the Salt Lake City area, we recommend you discuss your project with a professional installer, who is located in Utah, who can provide you with specific advice around the best type of wood for your home and lifestyle and what will work best to minimize such issues as cracking and gapping in your floor boards in the future.

When Hardwood Flooring needs to be repaired

As with any type of flooring, your hardwood floor may require repairs over its lifetime. Similar to the best time to install your floor, repairing larger gaps and separations are best done in the shoulder seasons, such as April and October.

If you need help with hardwood flooring repairs or need a flooring addition, please contact us.