The idea of a DIY home improvement project can be romantic. We envision ourselves taking on a task, learning a few new skills and finishing the project with a terrific new living space. But when it comes to flooring, trying to tackle it yourself is more likely to lead to headaches, heartache and frustration. If you don’t know what you’re doing, flooring can be chaotic, frustrating and easy to mess up. So many DIYers wind up disappointed with the result–or forced to call in the pros to clean up the mess. Here’s a look at some common DIY pitfalls and why it makes sense to work with a pro.
#1 Poor Design Choices
Let’s face it: going with what’s available at a DIY store is limiting. A gorgeous new floor starts with terrific materials. With so many options in carpet, hardwood, laminate, vinyl and beyond, making a choice can be overwhelming. And that doesn’t even touch on color, texture and design. It helps to have a seasoned pro work with you to make the best choice for your home and lifestyle. Your flooring contractor has showrooms full of samples and catalogs galore, so you can do the research and find the best fit for your space.
#2 Measurement Mistakes
Measuring your floor is more challenging than you might think. You need to know your way around a tape measure and a laser level and understand the complexities of measuring irregular spaces. Then you need to compute how much material you’ll need for the job in square feet. It’s doable but not easy.
#3 Failure To Consider Existing Flooring
Removing existing flooring is a much more complicated task than non-professionals understand. Many DIYers get into the removal process and soon wish they had called a pro. You have to protect your subfloor and walls as you work. And what to do with all of the old materials? Disposing of old flooring means a trip (or several) to the local landfill and can take hours of your time. It’s also messy, physically demanding and can even be dangerous if you don’t have training.
#4 Overestimating Your Skills
Many DIYers think flooring is a piece of cake with today’s laminate and luxury vinyl options. But even those easy-to-use materials take a certain level of skill. And if you mess up, you may be in for a professional redo, and your budget goes out the window. Here are just a few of the processes you’ll need to consider:
- Cutting planks and boards to the correct size and cutting around door jambs and other obstacles.
- Preparing the subfloor, so it’s clean, dry, and even.
- Determining if an underlayment is needed.
- Installing the underlayment, the thin material between the subfloor and the flooring.
- Checking alignment and laying each row in a straight line with no gaps.
- Many flooring materials require an expansion gap–planks expand when it’s hot, and the pros know exactly how much room to leave.
- Staggering planks for aesthetic and structural purposes takes experience.
- Fastening flooring materials requires special tools and experience.
- Sealing the edges of the room and installing baseboards and quarter-round (also called shoe mold) — the board between the flooring and the molding that runs around the room.
#5 Not Having The Right Equipment
Do you own a table saw, jigsaw or flooring cutter? You might need at least one for DIY flooring projects. Plus a professional staple gun (or a pneumatic nailer for hardwood), drill, scraper and other tools depending on the material. You’ll also need to know how to use them safely.
Why It Pays To Hire A Flooring Pro
Let’s face it: most of us try the DIY route to save money. And with some home improvement projects, it makes sense. But flooring is a specialty that requires years of experience. Yes–it’s likely cheaper to do it yourself. But is it actually worth it? Here are a few of the reasons it makes sense to hire a pro:
- Time savings: your flooring pros can get the job done in a fraction of the time it takes for most DIY efforts. Many of us are back at work this fall, and time is more precious than ever. When you’re redoing your floors, you also lose the use of the rooms, so faster is better.
- Avoiding frustration: because it’s so easy to mess up, flooring is one of the most challenging home improvement tasks and can create headaches and frustration when things go wrong.
- More choices: your flooring professional has access to the latest and best products and can offer options you may never see at a big box store or warehouse.
- Design skills: the pros know what works in various settings and can help you choose flooring that’s truly beautiful, liveable and lasting.
- We take care of removing and disposing of old flooring and bring all our own tools.
Flooring is a trade where experience pays off. Even when it comes to snap-in-place laminate, the pros make it look easy because they do it every day. Installing flooring isn’t like painting a room or choosing a window treatment. It’s a delicate and precise job that requires skill and attention to detail. Selecting a high-quality flooring contractor means you’ll pay more than if you do it yourself. But if you have to pay a pro to fix your mistakes, is there really a cost-savings involved? Loudoun Valley Floors has a reputation for quality, promptness, and excellent customer service. Floors are all we do, and you can count on a job well done.