Hardwood flooring is installed in homes for its beauty and durability. With a few different products on the market, homeowners are presented with a selection of choices. Engineered hardwood flooring offers a host of properties that are advantageous towards design and longevity. But before you can enjoy your new floor, you’ll need to work out the installation with a trusted contractor.
Estimates for installation shouldn’t be confusing, but if this is the first time you have new flooring laid then you’ll want to follow this information so you can get the most out of your estimate.
The Benefits of Using Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Engineered hardwood flooring is a sought-after material for home installation. Its endurance alone is worth the investment, but this flooring presents additional benefits to the homeowner. First and foremost, wood and natural stone are the only floors that add value to your homeit . The advancements of technology have improved the quality of the finish so it is durable and doesn’t require sanding and refinishing that was common in the past. Engineered wood is much more dimensionally stable than solid floors, and so they are able to be installed directly to concrete, and they are offered in wider widths – between 4” and 9” where solid would not perform. Engineered wood floors can also be installed in basement levels of homes and the planks will not expand and contract with the seasons.
You can find engineered hardwood in a range of grades, finishes, textures and species. These varieties make it easier for the homeowner to design a look that works well within the house and is attractive to everyone’s budget. The current trends in wood are wider planks – between 6-7” as well as longer boards – over 6 or 7’’. The longer and wider the plank, the more square footage you are able to install in the same amount of time. The larger format products are desirable in any large or open floor plan because the size dramatically reduces the number of visible seems – creating a linear, streamlined appearance and less seams to take on water.
What You Can Expect From Your Estimate
Choosing a new floor installation is exciting, but there are a few impediments you must work through before your contractor can begin. Every installation begins with a quote. This step is critical for both parties because it not only outlines the itinerary but gives you a price for getting the job done. What you don’t want from a contractor is a vague quote. A vague quote can lead to extra and unforeseen costs down the line. During the estimation for installation your contractor will consider the following:
Existing Floors/Subflooring The current flooring and subflooring will play a critical role in the estimate. The contractors will evaluate the removal of any existing flooring and the integrity of your subflooring. You might be able to cut costs by removing the flooring yourself, but contractors have the resources to quickly remove the floor and to dispose of the waste effectively. Subflooring needs to be in good working condition, free from moisture, warping, and cracks before the engineered hardwood can go down. It should also be flat and structurally sound. Engineered floors can be directly installed to concrete, plywood and some existing flooring. The more complicated the removal of the current floor and the preparation of the subfloor, the more expensive this portion of the quote will be. Sometimes, floating engineered wood over the existing substrate serves as a cost effective alternative to removal of the existing floor, though not all products can be installed this way.
Square Footage Typically contractors will price you per square foot. It’s the most common method for calculating the final price of the materials as well as the labor. Before you receive your quote, ask if the square footage includes overage. The overage would refer to any additional materials that aren’t used during the laying of the flooring, as well as additional material needed to cover the full needs of the job. Most manufacturers suggest adding 5-10% of the total project size to cover these needs..
Additional Materials Your contractor should highlight other materials that will be needed to complete the job. Depending on the installation method this would include things such as the fasteners and connectors. Ask them to break this cost down and if it will consist of overage as well.
Connecting Rooms There is a chance that the floors will need to connect between two rooms of different height. An older home is especially susceptible to this type of characteristic. Ask your contractor to highlight any work that might need to be done to bridge the two together and include the labor in the estimate.
Moving Furniture/Appliances Some contractors will charge to move furniture and appliances. The kitchen is an excellent example. The fridge and oven need to move to get the job done effectively. Any renovation work in existing homes will require furniture to be fully moved out of the room, and sometimes will need to be stored, as well.
Molding Your molding isn’t always included in the estimate but it is required on every project to cover the expansion space required between the floor and the wall, as well as between some adjoining rooms and flooring types. Stair nosing is also common and can be used in conjunction with standard flooring material to make step landings and risers. Moldings are either ordered in coordinating tone, texture and spices to the flooring or they are custom matched on site from blank trim pieces.
Warranties/Guarantees We talked a little about floor warranties before. The engineered hardwood product should come with a warranty, but you’ll want to ask your contractor if they supply one for their installation. Make sure to read it thoroughly before signing to avoid any opportunity for pointed fingers.Manufacturers do not warranty installation and anything installed by a contractor is considered approved – even if you deem it acceptable. They are required by manufacturers to “stop the job” as soon as they notice an issue with the material to be compliant with the warranty.
One area of the quote you won’t have to worry about when installing pre-finished engineered hardwood flooring is finishes. Hearthwood flooring includes a scratch resistant protective finish made from urethane that is reinforced with aluminum oxide. The range of colors, textures and species offered on hearthwoodfloors.com will work in any design, so be sure to check our digital catalog for inspiration on your next project.