Installing new floors is a great way to update the look of your home while adding fresh appeal. While style and design are key components of the decision-making process, homeowners often neglect other areas that should be taken into consideration. Whether you choose hardwood, vinyl, or laminate flooring, be sure to do your research, especially if you’re planning to do it yourself. Otherwise, the cheapest flooring options can become more costly in the long run.
Here are 9 tips to help you avoid common flooring mistakes.
1. Overestimating DIY Skills
While DIY projects can reduce overall project costs, many homeowners don’t have the advanced skills required for the installation. Poor installation may lead to countless problems down the road and can be quite costly. First, it is important to understand the complexity of the installation project. Flooring manufacturers’ websites offer DIY skill level information for each flooring type or a certified flooring retailer can provide information on the difficulty with installation. Second, be honest about your DIY abilities and, if needed, consider hiring a professional installer.
2. Underspending on “Cheap” Flooring
Everyone likes a good bargain, and finding attractive flooring at a low price can feel like hitting the jackpot. However, the old saying “you get what you pay for” often rings true with flooring. Be sure to have a good understanding of the floor’s construction, especially if it’s being placed in high-traffic or moisture-prone areas such as the kitchen or bathroom. Lower quality flooring is prone to scratches, scuffs, and stains. Purchasing flooring that is well made will keep your floors looking new longer and is worth the additional up-front investment.
3. Failing to Research Prior to Installing
Be sure to look at the whole picture before selecting your flooring. Does the room you are installing the flooring in need enhancements such as mold and trim? Will you need a transitional piece between rooms? Is a subfloor needed? Be sure you have an understanding of these potential necessities so you can install your flooring properly the first time.
4. Preparing the Subfloor Incorrectly
After removing your old flooring, it’s critical the subfloor is properly prepared. The subfloor should be smooth, flat and dry. Taking the time to correctly prep your subflooring will help to ensure proper installation while increasing the longevity of your floor.
Decorative epoxy floors are a popular option for garages and workshops. However, the epoxy won’t adhere properly if the floor is saturated with oil, grease, or dust. DIYers must pressure wash the floor using a degreasing cleaner, and diamond grind the concrete to profile the surface. Acid etching is no longer recommended for concrete floors as it can be dangerous and re-introduce more contaminants. Be sure to vacuum the floor to remove all dust before installing epoxy over concrete.
5. Measuring Incorrectly
As the saying goes, measure twice, cut once. This wise advice is sometimes overlooked when prepping for new flooring. Homeowners should pay extra attention if they’re planning on installing flooring themselves so they don’t end up ordering too much or not enough.
6. Using Products that are Not Recommended for Installation
With any installation, you’ll need certain products to make sure the floor is properly installed. Depending on the type of flooring you’re installing, you may need adhesives, tile trowels, seam treatments, or grout. Be sure to read the manufactures installation guide for a list of necessary tools and products. This is also not an area to take shortcuts since buying less expensive products can result in an inferior installation.
7. Not Considering Moisture and Humidity
Moisture is a commonly overlooked factor in DIY flooring, especially in hot and humid areas like Atlanta, GA. Moisture and humidity can cause wood flooring to warp, leaving it looking way different than when you installed it. Be sure not to install the boards too close together so they have room to expand. If in doubt, consult with a professional.
8. Ignoring the Manufacturer’s Recommended Care Instructions
Different flooring types require different cleaning methods. Be sure to carefully read the cleaning and maintenance instructions for your flooring type. For example, using a steam mop on wood or laminate flooring could cause long-term water damage and is something you definitely want to avoid.
9. Disregarding Maintenance Recommendations
Much like your car, your floors need to be properly maintained to extend their longevity. Improper maintenance of your flooring can lead to unnecessary wear and tear and can even void your warranty if you use a product that is not recommended for your floor type. You can find this information on the manufacturer’s website or by calling their customer service hotline.
Follow these tips when purchasing your flooring and you’ll avoid the headaches of poor installation and improper maintenance, so you can receive the maximum enjoyment from your home improvement investment.