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Flooring Projects: Deciding Between DIY and Professional

Flooring Projects: Deciding Between DIY and Professional

Apr 5,2016

Flooring Projects: Deciding Between DIY and Professional

When the time comes to install a new floor, it may be tempting to go ahead and do it yourself. There are many advantages to DIY work, such as possible money saved and pride in your work. However, flooring installations do not always go off without a hitch and having a professional in your corner may be in your best interests should things go awry. Determining which route is best for you, be it DIY or hiring a professional, will require some thought and planning in advance to figure out which option will ultimately get you the best finished flooring project.

One of the most common problems incurred with DIY work is simply a lack of experience. If you have never done a floor installation, there are certain types you should not attempt your first time out, such as large format tile. Additionally, the untrained eye may miss something, such as issues with the substrate, that will be more obvious and easily corrected by a professional. It is also important to calculate supplies, tools, and equipment. Yes, you will be paying for flooring materials regardless of who installs them (although professionals can buy in bulk for less expense), but if you do it yourself, there is also equipment to rent and tools to purchase. In the end, by the time you factor in the expense of renting or buying tools and equipment, it may turn out to be cheaper to pay for professional labor.

On the flip side, hiring a professional also has its own set of drawbacks. Often there are hidden or additional expenses that arise for which you may not be prepared. It is important to remember that there may be fees for the cost of having furniture moved, supply delivery, used material disposal, and work area cleanup. While you may also incur some of these fees on a DIY project, it is key to find out ahead of time which of these fees will be part of a professional job. Surprises after the fact are no fun for anyone, and you do not want to be left with an unexpected expensive mess to clean up.

If you do decide to perform your own installation, be sure to do your homework on the materials you plan to use so you have a clear and thorough understanding of what to expect when installing them. Each type of flooring requires a slightly varied skill set and to even a naturally handy person, some will be harder to work with than others. For example, tile (ceramic, porcelain, natural stone, etc.) will require a certain level of skill as will hardwood, whereas laminates that lock into place will be much easier for an inexperienced person to get the hang of using.

When the time comes to consider making flooring material purchases, be sure to get an accurate measurement of the area you plan to floor. A general drawing of the area may prove helpful as well. Visit suppliers and don't be afraid to ask questions there or get estimates from licensed contractors. It is better to know upfront what you are getting into than to find out on the backend when you are already invested. Finding out things such as whether or not special tools are required and what the warranty covers will be beneficial in the decision making process.

Before you seal the deal, be it in the case of a DIY or professional flooring job, get your estimate in writing. Be sure what it covers and includes is lined out clearly along with an agreed upon flat rate for the entire project, which will help move progress along. Some contractors will try to get an hourly labor rate, but this often results in slower progress because the longer the job takes, the more lucrative it will become for the contractor. Having an expected timeline for completion will also help you make plans to schedule your life around construction as it is completed.

Alternatively, if you are planning to do it yourself, be sure to gather everything you need and set aside a realistic block of time to work on your flooring project. This may include taking time away from your day job to get things done in a timely manner. Once everything is complete, regardless of who does it, the improvements to your floor will likely be worth the headache as you have something new, exciting, and aesthetically pleasing under foot.

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