Something unique about working in the flooring industry is that we, as estimators, get to see a lot of homes. And throughout our years of assessing floors, we’ve noticed some telltale signs that a pro was not behind the installation. Below find our top ten mistakes that we commonly see in the flooring industry.
- Ignoring the Importance of Transitions – Transitions are the small strips of material that are installed where different floors intersect. Their purpose is to smooth out any changes in height, and, in the case of floating floors, allow the floor to still “float.” If you have ever stubbed your toe where a vinyl floor meets a wood floor or seen the raw edge of a piece of laminate tight against a cabinet, that is a good indicator that transitions were overlooked.
- Forgetting Tile Bullnose – Bullnose is the rectangular piece of tile with the rounded over edge that allows the raw edge of the field tile to be hidden, mostly commonly used in wall tile applications. In many DIY jobs or cost cutting installed jobs, bullnose is not ordered, leaving the raw, discolored edge of the tile exposed. Always use bullnose or a metal profile (we use Schluter metal) to hide that raw edge and create a clean installation.
- Proper Subfloor Preparation – A floor is only as good as the substrate beneath it. This means that if the concrete that the vinyl is installed over is cracked, bumpy, or has humps, all those things will telegraph through the flooring. If the proper underlayment isn’t used under tile, that tile will likely come loose. If the plywood beneath a floating floor is soft the joints of the floor are more likely to come apart. The floor may be the beautiful finish, but its quality is only as good as the subfloor beneath it.
- Expansion Joints for Floating Floors – All styles of floating floors require expansion joints at their perimeter so that the floor can remain stable as the house expands and contracts throughout the seasons. Installing a floating floor without leaving gaps under the baseboard and transitions at the entire perimeter can lead to failure.
- Not Considering the Change in Flooring Thickness – Replacing a thin floor with a thicker floor is not necessarily problematic; all that is required is removing the baseboards and resetting them higher. However, if the new floor is thinner than the previous floor that can cause paint problems. When the baseboard is lowered, a paint stripe is left from where the base was previously. A way around this is to leave the base in place and add a matching painted or stained base shoe or quarter round profile to hide the gap. For those that don’t want the additional profile added though, paint touch up is the only option. Also, going from a thin carpet to a thicker one could require doors to be cut so that they can close.
- Compromising Quality for Price – Paying for a cheap floor twice is often more expensive than paying for a quality floor once. Working with a company that only sells quality products and stands behind their work is well worth the price paid.
- Understanding the Application – If you are a person that hates walking on a cold floor in the winter, you should probably steer clear of tile in your master bath. If you babysit toddlers and breed Saint Bernard dogs, a wood floor likely won’t hold up as well as you’d like. Floors not only need to fit you taste, but also your lifestyle.
- Underestimating the Scope of the Job – Many customers think that replacing flooring is a simple and quick process. In some cases, like replacing carpet with carpet, that is true, other times there is a lot more involved. Here are some questions you should ask yourself when thinking about replacing flooring. Is there furniture that needs moved? Will any appliances need disconnecting and reconnecting? Will baseboards require removal? If you are considering site finish wood, can you live without access to the area for a few days? Are you aware of Colorado’s asbestos laws? These are all good things to understand and are also the reason that we offer free estimates. We want to make sure you know what is involved to give you the floor you want.
- Choosing Based on a Small Sample – Many products, particularly wood looks, offer a very diverse design. This means that one piece of flooring looks far different than the another from the same box. This variegation is deliberate to achieve the look of a realistic natural product, like wood or stone, that obviously doesn’t have a repeatable design. However, if you are wanting a uniform look or a very specific style make sure to look at the room scene on the sample or manufacturer’s website to see a larger sample size.
- Undercut Doorways – This small detail is a telltale sign of an amateur installation. When installing flooring up to a doorway, the doorjamb should be cut to the thickness of the flooring, allowing the product to slide under it for a clean finish. Cutting the product square and caulking to the doorjamb can be a bit of an eye sore.
Keep these in mind when you are ready to remodel your home and looking at upgrading your flooring. If you are not familiar with various flooring options and installation best practices, we recommend consulting with a local flooring expert.
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