How do I hire a quality hardwood flooring contractor?

Proper installation is essential to creating a flawless floor that will stand the test of time. So finding a quality installer is important.

Hardwood floors by Paint Etc.

Wood floors can be a stunning addition to your home. The beauty of hardwood floors does come at a price, however. The cost of the wood can be quite expensive, depending on the type of wood you select and the size of the room. The initial investment can be justified by their durability — they can last for generations if properly installed and cared for.

Proper installation is essential to creating a flawless floor that will stand the test of time, so finding a quality hardwood flooring contractor is important   You may be tempted to save money by installing the floors yourself, but unless you have advanced carpentry skills, a professional contractor is probably your best option. Although home improvement television shows may give you the impression that it is a relatively simple task, in reality there are many things that can trip up the installation and cause problems down the road.

Educate Yourself

Before speaking with potential contractors, take the time to educate yourself about the types of hardwood flooring and the installation process. Arming yourself with some basic knowledge will help you discuss your options with the contractor and ask relevant questions that will help you make a smart hiring decision. Topics to research include the different types of hardwood floors, subflooring, underlayment, and the four installation methods: nail down, staple down, glue down and floating.

Finding A Contractor

Big Box stores often have a list of recommended installers, but be aware that these contractors may not be skilled in all types of flooring or specialty work. Local carpet and flooring stores may also be able to handle the installation, but they probably will not guarantee their work on materials that are not purchased from them. Another way to find a reputable flooring contractor is to check out our list of quality floor covering installation pros.


Now that you have a list of potential contractors you can begin the interview process. Some important questions to ask and areas to cover:

  • Are you insured?
  • Do you have pictures of your work?
  • If you would like inlays, patterns or other specialty work, ask the contractor about his experience with this type of work.
  • Do they have the proper tools? A moisture meter is a must-have; if they don't own one then find a different contractor.
  • Ask for references and check them.
  • Have the contractor measure the room or rooms where you are installing hardwood and provide a quote. Get at least three quotes and make sure you understand exactly what it includes.
  • How will they handle cleanup?

Remember that the lowest quote is not necessarily your best choice. You are making a significant investment in materials, and your selection of a contractor should be based on your level of comfort with their ability to protect and enhance that investment.

Scope of Work

There are a few items that you should be aware of before work begins. Trim, baseboards and moldings may need to be removed during installation, which can cause damage. In most cases you will be responsible for any touch up painting or repair required.

It is possible that your closet or room doors will not clear the newly installed floors. As with trim and baseboards, correcting any problems will be your responsibility. Inquire about the installer's policy — some will shave down doors for clearance but may charge an additional fee. If the contractor does not perform this type of work you will need to hire a carpenter to make any adjustments.

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