Hardwood & Laminate Pre-Installation Guide
What to Expect During Hardwood & Laminate Installation
As with any flooring project, hardwood or laminate flooring installation is considered a construction project. When preparing your home, be advised that there is the potential for noise, dust, and material odors during the installation process.
Our installers will do their best to contain any mess created during the installation process. Please note that your access to the space will be limited during the installation, and you may also be asked to refrain from using the space for a period of time after the installation.
Before the Installation Process
Once our warehouse receives your order, an installation manager will call you to schedule the installation of your new flooring.
During the ordering process, the estimator who visited your home will have already discussed the installation process including the layout of your new floor, removal of the existing floor, if needed, and the basics of making the installation process move smoothly and quickly including the following:
- If you’re remodeling more than your floor, all other construction projects should be completed prior to floor installation.
- Remember to disconnect or remove all toilets and water/gas lines.
- Remove all furniture from the construction area as agreed upon with the estimator prior to our team’s arrival.
- Remove all small personal items, electronics and breakables from the tops of furniture and from closets where the new flooring will be installed.
- Ensure that your home has an operational HVAC unit(s) before, during and after installation.
- If you have any subfloor concerns, timing issues, or questions on the finishing/trim, raise the question before your installation process so we can accommodate and plan accordingly.
- Make sure acclimation of your flooring product is completed prior to installation.
Unfortunately, there are times we discover unforeseen issues or damage once we remove existing flooring. If that is the case, your estimator/installer will review any issues and work out pricing for any additional work/repairs that may need to be done.
Hardwood is susceptible to what we call "Seasonal Gapping." This means that you may notice gaps that appear and disappear in your floor as the seasons change. This tends to be more noticeable in homes with gas/propane heating systems. This is a normal condition that cannot be prevented.
Laminate is a floating floor system. This means it “rests” on the existing subfloor beneath it. There is no such thing as a perfectly flat floor, so you may notice that the floor moves or “deflects” when walking on it. This can be more noticeable in some parts of the floor versus others. Your estimator will check the levelness of your sub-floor to the best of their ability, allowing you to make the best possible decision regarding the selected products for your new project. For example, in some instances, carpet can better hide sub-floor issues. As noted above, if the installer discovers any issues with the subfloor when removing the existing flooring materials, they will bring it to your attention immediately and let you know of any additional charges that will be incurred to level the sub-floor.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Hardwood is a natural product and will vary in color, shade and sheen, both in your home and from the original sample. Natural light will also impact its appearance. Depending on the species and grade of the wood you selected, there is always the possibility you will see knots, checks (small cracks), and other minor imperfections.
During the Installation Process
We strongly recommend customers be home when the installers first arrive. This allows the installers to review the materials with you and confirm installation areas. The installers may also ask where they can set up a saw to make cuts. Our installers always use drop cloths to protect nearby furniture and delicate items.
The installers will need to remove the existing floors and it should be known that they will have to use tools like saws, crow bars and even scrapers that will generate noise, dust and may cause nail pops in the ceiling below.
The installers will install your new floor as discussed with your estimator. There are a few different methods of installation that are appropriate for a variety of scenarios and will impact the look and feel of the flooring once installed. For example, hardwood and laminate floors can be installed using nail/staple, glue, or click float installation methods. Nailed/stapled and glued floors are more permanent while floating floors can move a bit under foot.
After the Installation Process
Once the installers finish installing your new flooring, they will clean up and remove all work-related debris and then begin moving the furniture back into the space. Please remember, this is the first time our installers have been in your home and they will do their best to put all the furniture back in their proper locations. Lastly, they will ask you to walk through the job with them to make sure all work is completed to your satisfaction.
Proper care and maintenance is critical to maintaining your new flooring. It is recommended that you add felt pads to furniture, add rugs in entrance areas to catch debris from the outdoors, and keep the floor swept to help reduce scratches.
For additional information read our care & maintenance guide.
IMPORTANT TIP: Laminate products “float” over an existing subfloor. This is important to note as you may notice some movement after the installation.