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Before you put new flooring in your house, it pays to prepare a list of questions ahead of time that you can ask potential flooring contractors ahead of doing business with them.

The way contractors reply to your queries can help you sort out who is more likely to be honest and fair. Listen carefully to their responses and you will have a better idea of who has sufficient knowledge and skills to do your job right the first time, on time and well within the budget you established. Warning signs of a sub-par contractor or even worse, a scam artist out to rob you blind include: offering a quote that is ridiculously low as compared with prevailing rates in your community, asking for the money up front and failing to carry insurance. So, you can see how a little preparation can help you avoid hiring a criminal or a charlatan who can only do shoddy work. Here are the best questions to ask flooring specialists before hiring them.

discount flooring outlet1. Are you certified and insured to install flooring for me?

If the contractor does not have professional affiliations or carry insurance, this is a bad sign. He or she may not be properly trained. A lack of liability insurance or workman’s compensation is another indicator that this individual may not be a legitimate tradesperson.

2. Will you estimate how much time and materials will be needed to complete this flooring installation project?

A contractor who refuses to give you a clear idea of the amount of time and other resources required to install your new floors is either woefully inexperienced or simply looking to cheat you, with an eye toward hiking fees midway through the project.

3. Where do you typically get your flooring material?

The answer to this question will show you what kinds of connections the contractor has with the local business community. In fact, you would be well served to contact flooring suppliers to see how they like working with your contractor (similar to asking homeowners what they thought of the work he or she did.)

laminate flooring installation DIY4. Ask a technical question to determine the contractor’s knowledge and industry awareness

Inquire about the moisture levels in your area and what affect they might have on the type of hardwood floor you are planning on installing. The contractor should be able to tell you about what will happen when you put in different types of wood and give you some well-informed choices to consider.

5. Can you provide me with references?

It’s always a good idea to ask for references, even if a friend recommended the flooring contractor. Contractors should provide photos of completed projects that are comparable to the one you are hiring for, along with phone numbers so you can check with the homeowners directly. Reputable contractors will always ask customers if they can use them as references. It’s a risky situation to hire a contractor with zero references. 

By making sure to ask potential flooring contractors these questions, you will be in a much better position than a homeowner who just went with the first flooring tradesperson he or she came across. It’s always a good idea to ask friends, neighbors and colleagues for personal recommendations too, when you are preparing to hire a flooring contractor.

 

Dave C. has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism degree from San Francisco State University. He has been freelancing for more than 15 years, and was on staff as an editor at two magazines. He was also a founding editor for Harpoon, a local humor magazine based in San Francisco. Dave has written thousands of articles on a variety of topics for websites and numerous print publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Popular Science, Wired, OMNI, The Net, Diabetes Interview, Mobile Home Monthly, Video Guide, Food and Beverage Journal, S.F. Weekly, Aquarium Fish Magazine, Carnegie Mellon Magazine and The Optimist.

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