Published at Saturday, May 25th, 2019 - 05:38:40 AM. Laminate Flooring. By Rush Le Goff.
Cash and carry vs. installed purchase. This is always a tough one because a flooring product is only as good as the installation. I have seen a lot of want to-be independent installers out there that can ruin a laminate or hardwood job. Most carpet installers are not carpenters, but many do pretend to be. It is rare to find an installer that can do it all. As a matter of fact, I have yet to find one. Many are top notch at some types of flooring, but not others. So when you hire a friend of a friend, or someone working under their own shingle, are you guaranteed the type of installation you expect? Also, when using a moonlighting installer, you should be paying no more than 50-60% of the prevailing rate of the independent retailer installation rate. I have seen moonlighting installers charge half again as much for an installation than the customer could have gotten from a flooring store. When you have the flooring store install the product, there will be no finger-pointing should there ever be an issue. There are so many different complications that can happen after an installation, and if you are dealing with a rock solid independent retail store, you have protection. In my opinion, there needs to be significant savings for you when you cash and carry a product. If you have the ability to install on your own, then there is normally a substantial savings realized and I say go for it. If not, let the experts do it.
How to determine if the store knows its stuff. Just how do you know if a store knows what it's doing? There are a few things that you need to look for. First of all, if you are looking for the independent retailer to install the product for you, they must come to the job site and measure for you. Diagrams just don't cut it and a good store knows that a 3-D viewing of the job is the only way to finalize a price. Notice how much attention the store pays to transitions between rooms in your home. Are they going to undercut door casings? It is a must. Are they going to pull baseboards or use rounds? Baseboard pulling makes the floor look like the house was built on top of the floor and that is what you want. Depending on the type of baseboard you have, rounds are sometimes necessary, but it should always be discussed. Notice the amount of perimeter detail the measuring technician is noting. If it is just a diagram drawn with no discussion, that's not good enough. Look for another store. You'll immediately notice the difference between stores just by watching the approach taken by the measurer. An expert will be in total control and will ask you all the right questions and discuss the project with you. Is the store going to document who is doing what and who isn't? There will also be certain job preparation issues that will need to be discussed, such as moving appliances, toilets, furnishings, tearing out of existing flooring, etc. These items need to be decided and should be listed and signed by both parties so that there is no confusion. Moonlight installers tend to put all the little detailed preparation directly on the consumer or they charge you extra for it. Alternately, many times the prep will be included in the retailer installation package.
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