A Buyer’s Guide to Flooring Contractors

December 24, 2019 | Access Flooring

There are many things to consider when designing a workplace, that often, the flooring gets overlooked and is left till the last minute. Flooring is actually one of the most important components in any building. One important key to achieving the greatest value when it comes to flooring is to work with specialty flooring contractors. Hiring a reliable flooring contractor is simply the best way to make sure you get a dependable, top-notch flooring system that’s right for you. Carefully chosen commercial or industrial flooring will afford you maximum efficiency in your workplace and help guard against accidents or breaches of health and safety codes.

Usually, our first reaction to a room is visual. However, it’s important to note that the first physical contact we’ll have with a space will be with its flooring. Quality flooring has a huge impact on how your business is run, as well as on the comfort and safety of your employees.

Flooring contractors help reduce floor installation costs

One of the first considerations when choosing a flooring system needs to be your budget. Your company’s bottom line is always important and working with a flooring contractor can help you achieve the greatest value for your dollar.

Here are some ways a flooring contractor can help you meet your budgetary needs:

Alternative Materials

The biggest cost of your flooring project will be the materials themselves. Many projects start with specifications from a designer or an architect. This is particularly true if your installation process is part of a larger construction project. In other cases, the business owner may have a particular aesthetic in mind. In either of these scenarios, the desired flooring material could be quite expensive.

A flooring contractor will be able to suggest similar, equally viable substitute materials at a lower price point because in today’s world there are literally thousands of flooring options available.

Oftentimes, if your project has special requirements such as certain sustainable materials, unique materials, or special services like rapid installation, a flooring contractor can often supply all these things at a lower cost. Remember, contractors have relationships with manufacturers that can sometimes offer discount pricing.

Special Services

When you work with a specialty flooring contractor, they can perform special services that help you make the best flooring system choice at the best price.

Life-cycle Costing

For example: the long-term maintenance expenses of a floor can sometimes be greater than its upfront cost. Suppose you’ve decided that vinyl composition tile (VCT) is the least expensive flooring option for your space. You purchase it and then find out that the floor needs constant stripping and waxing. After computing all your maintenance costs, the inexpensive VCT floor just might turn out to be the most expensive flooring you’ve ever bought.

To avoid the scenario mentioned above, a flooring contractor can do an analysis called life-cycle costing (LCC). Life-cycle costs are all the costs associated with a product for its entire life cycle. Life-cycle costing—done before the purchase—will help you determine the true cost of any flooring option you may be considering.

Creative Installation Plans

Another way to save money is to have a solid installation plan.

In many active workplaces today, the cost of shutting down operation for floor installation may be prohibitive. A flooring contractor can provide many creative solutions that your unique environment may require.

One such innovative solution is vertical installation technology (VIT). With an experienced flooring contractor, trained installers, and an installation plan tailored for you, VIT can phase installations around the building and complete the project without bringing your office to a complete halt.

Whether or not your company needs a solution such as VIT, flooring contractors have many solutions to many problems under their sleeves. The right flooring contractor will add value to your project in a variety of ways.

Specialized Training

With some contractors, you may have the added reliability of a team specifically trained for your floor.

Some flooring may require unique training and expertise to install correctly. Should you choose a flooring option that calls for uncommon techniques, a flooring contractor may be essential as some manufacturer warranties can be voided if flooring is not installed by specifically trained installers.

Adding Value

Specialty flooring contractors add value to the outcome of any flooring project due to their expert knowledge and experience.

  • A specialty flooring contractor can help you:
  • Identify the best pricing solutions (as mentioned above).
  • Understand potential dangers of any given floor (such as moisture issues, damaging adhesives, etc.).
  • Identify and address any problems you may have with your existing substrates.
  • Find flooring that will last and look good.
  • Determine when and if it’s possible to use eco-friendly products.
  • Get great price points because of their partnerships with manufacturers.
  • Procure unique materials in a timely manner.
  • Meet rapid project timelines.
  • Reduce risk by providing a team dedicated to 100% accuracy.
  • Reduce risk by administering testing and quality control procedures.
  • Maintain a safe job site.

What to look for before you hire a flooring contractor

It’s important to select a quality flooring contractor—one you feel you can trust. It makes sense to look at at least three different companies and get an estimate from each. This will help you see the scope of your flooring project from different angles to get a feel for the range of pricing.

Here are some important questions to ask when looking for a flooring contractor:

  • Is your contractor licensed and insured?

This is important for two reasons: First, it helps demonstrate that your contractor is trustworthy and legal. The second reason is that if something unexpected happens, you want to know the expense will be covered.

  • Does your flooring contractor have worker’s compensation?

In New York, workman’s comp is required to get a contractor’s license. However, this isn’t true for all states—so always make sure. . If your contractor doesn’t have this, and one of the workers gets hurt, you will be responsible for medical bills and time off of work.

  • Did you check the contractor’s references AND check online reviews?

Ask for at least three references. Then, call them. Since you got the references from the contractor it’s safe to assume that they will be good. So, it’s also important to check online review platforms like Yelp!, Google Reviews, and Angie’s List.

Bear in mind that most contractors will have one or two complaints. This is normal and these alone shouldn’t eliminate the contractor. The key to these complaints is to find out how the contractor reacted to them. Were the complaints valid? Were the problems solved? Did the contractor respond in a professional manner?

  • Are you keeping your flooring contractor abreast of any special conditions?

Make sure you keep your flooring contractor in the loop of your situation. Let them know if your floor is covering a raised access floor system for the purpose of cable management, or if there is anything besides concrete slab sitting under your prospective new floor.

  • Ask your flooring contractor: “What could go wrong? What might cause the price to increase?”

Encourage your contractor to write the contract carefully. This part should never be a rush job. Make sure each party is clear on what they are and what they are not responsible for.

Talk about what unforeseen issues could happen. And unforeseen things do happen: you lift up the floor and there’s damage underneath; sometimes there’s mold or asbestos tile; or it may become evident that your previous contractor did some work incorrectly.

Ask flooring contractors what could go wrong and try to be prepared. Make sure you always have contingency funds put aside in case the worst does happen.

  • Ask: “How long should the job take?”

First, be sure to nail down just when you’re flooring contractor is available to start your project. Next, you’ll need to prepare for downtime, if that’s going to happen.
Make sure you understand the project plan: who will be on the site each day; how many days will need to be set aside for things like drying; and just what days consist a workweek (eg. will anyone be working on Saturdays or Sundays?).

  • Ask: “What about clean up and how will dust be contained?”

Be sure you know who’s going to be doing the clean up afterward. Not all flooring contractors include clean up in their contract.

Make sure that your contractor intends to put plastic covering around any areas of your space not being done.

FYI: If your flooring is going to be sanded and refinished, ask about a dustless machine. They cost more but may end up being cheaper in the long run.

  • One last thing . . .

Think about the “stuff” in your office. Remove all breakables—maybe take paintings and decorations off the walls.

Conclusion

If what you’re looking for is the best flooring material choice for your particular business needs, the best pricing available, top-notch project management, and cutting-edge installation technology consider hiring experienced, professional specialty flooring contractors.

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