Flooring is a significant investment that — when done correctly — can increase your home’s value, create an inviting atmosphere, and enhance your home’s decor.
Alternatively, flooring mistakes can lead to wasted money, frustration, and undesirable results. Whether you are replacing, refinishing or installing flooring, we’ve compiled a list of our top 10 flooring mistakes to avoid.
Mistake #1 – Not Planning For Enough Time
Many homeowners do not realise the amount of time need for installing or refinishing flooring. Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind if you are having flooring refinished or installed:
- It will likely take at least 3 to 5 days (possibly more) to get the work finished
- Once the floors are installed, it will usually take at least another few days before furniture can be moved in
- You’ll need to be off the floors the entire time they are being installed or refinished, meaning you will need to be out of the house (especially in areas that include steps or pathways to bedrooms and bathrooms)
These requirements mean you may need to delay the movers who deliver your furniture or find a friend or family member to stay with for a few days (or take a vacation) until the work is finished. Planning ahead and knowing what to expect always makes for a better outcome.
Mistake #2 – Hiring the Cheapest Flooring Contractor
Getting several estimates is a great way to get an idea of what contractors are charging in your area and what to expect for pricing. However, try to avoid falling into the trap of automatically choosing a contractor based on the estimate that comes back the cheapest.
We have heard from many customers that going with the cheapest contract has resulted in poor results in the end. In some of the worst case scenarios, entire floors have had to be replaced.
Some contractors may find that discounted prices are the only way they can secure work. Not a good sign! There’s a good chance that cheaper labor will result in inferior work, so don’t choose based on pricing alone. While it is not a guarantee that the cheapest estimate will result in the worst finished result, it is important to consider their other qualifications and level of experience.
Some other important factors to consider besides price when choosing a contractor for your flooring (or other jobs) are:
- How many years of experience do they have?
- What is their reputation in the community?
- Is their website professional and well organised?
- What are the reviews like for their business?
- Do they have local examples of their work you can go and see?
- What is their specialty?
- Do they have references?
- Where did they undergo training?
It is also important to compare the details in the estimates as there may be differences in what exactly is included. For example, some estimates may include disposal of old flooring if you are remodeling. Make sure each estimate clearly outlines what is included in the work (i.e. which rooms, whether base moulding will be replaced, what methods they use, what their timeline looks like, etc.).
If you need help finding a trusted, quality tradesman, we can help! We are connected to over 220 professional, trusted layers throughout Australia and would be glad to help you get in touch with the right one for your space, needs, and budget.
Mistake #3 – Staying Inside the Lines
Often, homeowners install their floors without realising how many fun, unique patterns can be done. Depending on your selected flooring material, certain layout techniques and patterns can add artistry, personality, and an extra flair to your finished result.
Mistake #4 – Hiring a Handyman or General Contractor Instead of a Flooring Tradesman
A general handyman may be cheaper, but this may indicate a lower skill level in the project area. Flooring is a specialised trade that should be done by a skilled expert.
A general contractor certainly adds convenience, but it may come at the cost of quality. Many mistakes can happen when general contractors attempt to do work meant for specialists.
Mistake #5 – Using the Wrong Cleaning Products
Depending on the flooring you choose, it is imperative to research how to appropriately clean it. Many products promise clean, shiny floors, but the wrong cleaning product can strip and damage a floor.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how to clean each specific type of flooring and what products to avoid on each:
- Solid Timber – Check out our Complete Guide To Cleaning and Caring for Hardwood Floors
- Vinyl – Sweep regularly or vacuum (with a specific flooring attachment) and only use cleaners specified for vinyl flooring. Typically, this means choosing a pH-neutral floor cleaner and avoiding highly abrasive or ammonia-based solutions or harsh detergents. These can damage vinyl floors and leave behind a dull film. Occasional damp mopping with plain water goes a long way.
- Hybrid – For hybrid flooring, it is important to avoid abrasive cleaners, steel wool, soap-based detergents, and steam cleaners. Also, avoid polishes and waxes as they can dull the finish.
- Laminate – With laminate flooring, it is imperative to wipe up any spills immediately as laminate is susceptible to water damage. Also, avoid wet mops or steam cleaners. Dust, vacuum (with a specific floor attachment, not the beater bar) and sweep regularly.Avoid abrasive cleaners, strong chlorinated or ammonia-based cleaners, steel wool, and polishing or buffing machines.
- Carpet Tiles – Regular vacuuming, occasional deep cleaning/shampooing, and immediate attention to any spills or stains is usually all it takes to maintain carpeting.
Mistake #6 – Installing Floating Floors Under Cabinets
A variety of floating floors are available and they can be a wonderful addition to your home, but it is important they are installed around and up to cabinets rather than underneath them.
If floating floors are installed under cabinets, they do not have the necessary room for expansion and contraction and will end up buckling. Unfortunately, many DIYers and handymen continue to make this costly, frustrating mistake.
Mistake #7 – Purchasing the Cheapest Materials
There is a reason the saying “you get what you pay for” exists and it certainly applies to flooring and building materials. Although a cheaper flooring may save you money initially, there is a good chance it will end up costing you greatly in the future if the flooring fails or needs to be replaced far sooner than a higher-quality choice.
Cheaper products are often engineered to be thinner with lower grade finishes that scratch more easily. They may also be poorly milled, meaning they won’t line up correctly. Some cheaper boards are also produced in China, are softer (i.e scratched easier), and even contain harmful VOCs.
Mistake 8 – Tackling the Installation Yourself
We’ve dedicated entire blogs to the concept of how to decide if you should install flooring yourself. While there are many talented homeowners who are capable of tackling DIY installation, it largely depends on the type of flooring, project, and experience of the homeowner.
Done correctly, it can save a significant amount in terms of cost of labour. However, when installed incorrectly, it will cost you a great deal of time and money in the future fixing the mistakes or re-doing the floors completely.
Professional flooring tradesmen will get the job done correctly and likely far faster. Either way, we would be glad to help you decide if DIY installation would be a good fit for your experience, the flooring material you choose, and the project.
We have helped many customers feel confident to take on installation themselves and also helped many customers find a skilled tradesman to complete the job. You can trust that we will make sure you have the knowledge to make the best decision for you.
When considering DIY flooring installation, here are some questions to ask:
- How much money will you save by doing the installation yourself?
- Do you have all the necessary tools and equipment or will you need to rent any?
- How long do you anticipate it will take you compared to a tradesman?
- Are you familiar with the type of flooring you chose and potential complications that might arise?
- What kind of DIY projects have you taken on in the past? Were you happy with the results?
- Are you working with a limited timeframe?
Mistake #9 – Going Overboard on Trends
Being up to date on the latest flooring trends can be a good thing, but it is important to remember that trends change (sometimes rapidly). Diving too deep into trends can leave your space feeling dated rather quickly.
If you need help in the area of design, check out our Design and Decor section of blogs or reach out to us. Our expertise goes beyond just the technical aspects of flooring. We make a point to stay up to date on all the latest industry trends while also knowing which looks will persist as classics.
Mistake #10 – Falling For “Too Good To Be True” Gimmicks
Have you ever seen ads for $99 carpet installation, free installation, or buy 1 room get 2 free offers? As tempting as these may sound, it is important to look deeper and research the total cost of the project, not individual portions. Often, the up-front savings are just lost to hidden fees elsewhere.
For example, perhaps installation is greatly discounted, but the price of the carpet pad will be doubled to cover it. It is highly unlikely a skilled tradesman would complete a day’s worth of work (often with a partner) for $99.
Looking To Learn More About New Flooring For Your Home or Business?
Flooring is a big investment and can be a stunning way to enhance your home when done right. We hope our list of the top 10 flooring mistakes to avoid helps give you some guidance and confidence when it comes to moving forward with your project.
Still have questions? We completely understand! Our enthusiastic, friendly, genuine team members have decades upon decades of combined experience and are always happy to talk flooring.
We are always available to walk you through any questions or concerns you have, regardless of where you are at in your project (early planning phases or right in middle) or the size of your project (one small room or a 3,000 sq ft home or large commercial project).
Feel free to reach out to us and we’d love to help you on your flooring project in any way we can.