So I’m putting my previous flooring issues with unnamed big box store behind me. I promise.
Instead I’m taking advice from my mom (because who doesn’t listen to their mom?) and I decided to think about this thing differently. Why not find a company that sells only flooring? Here’s what I learned.
Pick a Flooring Company, not just a company that sells flooring
When I picked out where I wanted to go for flooring I asked members in my neighborhood group. The post looked something like this.
I got several company names and some pictures of business cards. I narrowed those down to three to start. Two were companies that sell flooring (franchises), and one was a flooring company.
What’s the difference?
The companies that sell flooring (franchises) operated like big box stores but with a lot more flooring choices. They also had a better handle on their supply timelines and knew more about their products. Here’s the downside for me: the installation in both cases was handled with a third-party. One store had a consistent 1.5-star rating (1 worst – 5 best) for the installation contractors.
When I went to the flooring company, the first thing I noticed was no prices on anything. They went directly to the flooring type and tried to match. They listened to what I was saying and didn’t try to sell me flooring that didn’t match my sample. And they didn’t mansplain to me; instead they just provided expertise and information about their services when needed.
Because of that experience I found another flooring company to get a comparison quote from. (Vote on my choices below!)
Which one is better?
This depends on your situation, but here are my recommendations:
- If you want a truly full-service experience (purchase AND INSTALL) and you want it all done at one company, then you need a flooring company
- If you have an installer, you just need to purchase the flooring, you are on a very tight budget and need to keep costs down, or you are going to install yourself, then choose a company that sells flooring. But remember niche down. My big box store with a flooring department was a strict NO.
Go Local When Choosing Flooring
The flooring companies I spoke with were local. They knew their installers by name (the installers worked for the company), and they knew where the flooring would come from, as they are part of the delivery of it. This helped temper my expectations. I hope that they will deliver on their timetables.
Be Prepared For (Lessons Learned):
- The price to be higher with a full-service flooring company than if you went to a big box store. Both quotes from the full-service companies came in at at least $1000 over what I was quoted at both the big box hardware store and the flooring franchises.
- Someone to come in and measure and talk to you about your wishes. Know your stuff–what quarter round and trim is (and what you’re going to do about it), how old your house is (floors may not be level in older homes or homes on crawl spaces or with basements), what’s under your current flooring (more floor?) transitions (where floors or floor heights change. This is usually where door thresholds are)
- Making space inside your home to put all the boxes of flooring for at least 2 days before install. Laminate definitely needs time to acclimate, and a couples of my luxury vinyl plank choices did too.
- Packing and moving all of your small items, electronics and items of value. Contractors/installers will not move small piece for you.
- If you’re doing flooring in a kitchen or bathroom, you will have the additional expense of moving appliances and taking up and toilets. Make sure you tie up any plumbing issues you may have, so you don’t incur additional fees or delays from the flooring installer.