Flooring is a crucial aspect of interior design and influences how you experience your home. However, for many homeowners, learning how to properly install flooring is a complicated, tedious process. Improper flooring before, during, and after the installation can lead to many headaches down the line. You may face floor damage, unevenness, moisture issues, or awkward angles, among many other problems. It’s crucial to make the necessary preparations and work with a team of experts in the field such as Floor It 41.
To help you get started, this guide will outline the must-dos prior to starting the procedure, including measurements and preparations. You’ll also receive insight on the long-term factors to consider, including any abnormalities or potential repairs or replacements in the future. With the right guidance and groundwork, you can finally lay down your dream flooring, no matter what type of material you choose.
1. Determine the Floor Height
To properly install flooring, one critical, frequently missed step is determining the floor height. Measuring your floor height is a simple but essential part of the floor installation process. Failing to measure the height can stop doors from opening and closing smoothly, leading to damage to the floor material, such as sagging or separation. If you find that there will be a rise in floor height, you’ll need to budget for door or baseboard readjustments as well. You can take on the measuring yourself or let installers handle it as part of the floor installation.
Different floor materials will influence what needs to be done in regards to floor height before installation. For example, hardwood flooring will require the removal of doors and baseboards to ensure proper leveling of the floor. The same goes for linoleum flooring, such as from Home Depot, as it’s often harder to work with compared to newer flooring. On the other hand, there are some floors that use a glue installation method, such as laminate flooring. This method is the traditional installation method but does take more time. The subfloor underneath needs to be considered before using this method.
2. Prepare the Subfloor
Floor systems consist of several layers, each of which serves its own purpose. The one you need to focus on prior to installation is the subfloor.
The subfloor is a critical part of the overall flooring foundation. Specifically, subfloors are the hard, bottom-most layer of the flooring that rests on the joists, or the horizontal members that support the floor as a whole. The purpose of the subfloor is to supply stability and a level surface for the furniture and people in your home. Moreover, good subflooring ensures that your flooring remains strong and durable in years to come, minimizing the need for repairs. The most popular materials for subfloors include plywood, oriented strand board, and concrete.
So, why do you need to concern yourself with your subfloor? Improper subfloor preparation and installation can lead to severe structural damage, shaky floor movement, deep sagging, or squeaking sounds while walking. A prepared subfloor is one that has been checked for moisture and dried, cleaned of any damages or debris, and flattened to avoid dips. Fortunately, professional floor installers are able to aid with this task.
Another factor to note is the difference between subfloors and underlayments. The terms are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. The underlayment is a thin layer of material above the subfloor that helps with sound reduction, moisture protection, and floor softening. Underlayment is especially useful for laminate flooring as it helps protect the floor from the roughness of the subfloor underneath it. Installers are also able to look into the underlayment as well.
3. Know the Proper Laying Direction
A poor layout is not only visually unsightly, but it can also force you to have to invest in pricey and lengthy repairs. Floors with improper layout direction can lead to unseemly floor angles, peculiar patterns, or spacing gaps that will require extra flooring installation or restructuring altogether.
The most common reasons for improper laying directions are incorrect measurements and the desire to cut down the time of the installation. It’s important to get precise measurements and adjust for corners or uniquely-shaped areas of the home before you install flooring. Furthermore, expert flooring installers understand that getting the floor installation done right the first time helps you avoid spending extra hours (and extra money) fixing mistakes.
4. Accommodate for Quirks
All homes have their quirks, many of which may have appeared during initial installation or after many years as the house has settled. While some of them can be fixed with clever decoration, others may cause issues upfront with flooring. Some of the most common quirks include:
- Sloping floors: There are several typical causes of sloping floors, including unlevel installation, house settling, floor damage, or rotting wood. Not every sloping floor is a structural matter, though it’s worth getting a professional examination to confirm no foundation repair is required, which tends to be very expensive.
- Crooked walls: Walls that aren’t straight can be a great source of annoyance for many homeowners, and it usually boils down to a framing issue. When it comes to floor installation, walls are an important consideration for the overall attractiveness and layout of the floor.
- Gaps and cracks: Gaps and cracks are unavoidable with many floors, especially hardwood. They often materialize over time with changes in weather. They shouldn’t cause too much greatest concern but should still be noted nonetheless.
- Stuck doors: Doors vary greatly from home to home and can pose plenty of difficulties. One of the most important quirks to document is a door that requires space underneath for swinging open. This all comes back to the floor height, proving that taking these measurements is essential.
- Oddly-shaped rooms: If you live in an older home, there’s a good chance it was built with at least one oddly-shaped. Perhaps you have to deal with unfit angles, walls that are too short or too long, unevenly shaped ceilings, or an abundance of nooks and crannies. These all factor into the floor installation job, as experienced installers have to know what to work around.
Make sure to identify and tell installers about any of these quirks if you have them in your home to make certain professionals install flooring seamlessly. Expert installers will know how to handle these quirks and offer solutions on how to overcome them.
5. Consider Speed
There are plenty of factors that can slow down your floor installation process. For instance, you may not have the right equipment to install flooring yourself, leading to potential mistakes that will require even more work to fix them. Alternatively, you may come across problems out of your scope of knowledge or skills, which will require more research on your part. It may just be that you don’t have enough time to do the flooring on your own and need to return to your living space as quickly as possible.
This is where professional installation services come in handy. Seasoned installers have all the right tools, are aware of all possible problems, and can ensure a much quicker turnaround time than the average homeowner can. Remember that each installation job is unique, with its own specific timetable based on the floor material and scope of the project. When you let professionals install flooring, the process will be smooth and quick, and you won’t be burdened with needless stress.
6. Remember: Long-Lasting Installation is Key
Finally, you want long-lasting results in your floor installation. While maintenance is unavoidable for most flooring projects, getting the job right the first time will save you from having to budget for big, time-consuming repairs down the road. Moreover, experience goes a long way in getting the floor you want, rather than ending up with a floor that doesn’t meet your visual and quality standards.
Long-lasting installation will avoid the following problems, all varied on the flooring materials used:
- Bumps or ridges across the floor
- Insecurely locked flooring with gaps
- Debris, damages, dirt, or frayed edges
- Inconsistent grout lines
- Peeling finish
- Stains or scratches
Working with proficient installers greatly reduces the possibility of these troubles and makes for a smooth home flooring process. If you do happen to spot any of these abnormalities, installers can be called back to fix them.
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And there you have it — the top factors to consider before you install flooring. Bringing in a professional floor installation company can make all the difference in how your dream floor turns out, and it can save you time, money, and stress. If you’re wondering, “Where are the best flooring installation companies near me?” consider Floor It 41. We have the vast experience required in proper floor installation and can measure and install flooring in homes and businesses alike in the Southern Indiana region. We also offer a large variety of flooring options, including carpet, vinyl, hardwood, laminate, and ceramic tile. Get in touch with us today and let us help you make your flooring dreams a reality.