This article will answer the question of why you should always meet your wood floor fitter before they start work in your house. We’ll look at the down sides of not meeting your fitter before they start and the huge upsides of knowing who’ll be working in your home..
I’ve heard and seen so many installations that went wrong or didn’t run smoothly from the offset, but why?
You’d naturally think that if a wood installer has been sent to your home directly from the supplier you’ve bought your flooring from, they would have talked about the requirements of your installation and any problems would have been ironed out prior to the installation starting.
This is often not the case for several reasons:
Poorly trained, unscrupolous or unknowledgeable advisors
Retail flooring advisor’s are often people that have stumbled into the wood flooring industry from other flooring trades like carpet’s, vinyl or tiles where things like in-home climate and sub-floor levels, although still important, can often not hold as much emphasis with these types of floor coverings. Often poorly trained or advisor’s simply given a product to sell with no prior knowledge can lead to incorrect advise being given to you the client. With clever marketing words, such as on underlay packaging like ‘absorbs uneven surfaces‘ or ‘incorporated moisture barrier‘, it’s easy to see how this can happen when someone hasn’t had prior experience with installing a wood floor. Even if a sales advisor calls to your property for a measure up and carry’s out an inspection, what would seem like a flat or acceptable surface to them can often lead to problems further down the line.
Carpet, vinyl and tiles are a lot better at dealing with in-home climate changes. Where as any wood flooring product will breath accordingly with climate changes. Should a sales advisor not be aware of the impact of such changes on a wood floor, they may not give weight to any issues in a home such as raised levels of humidity or even if they are aware of this, may not truly know what the indicator’s are to spot such issues. The amount of times I’ve bumped into a shop advisor on a visit to a clients home that wouldn’t know what a moisture meter looks like or even what to look for as a pre-emptive indicator to any issues is far too many. They simply measure up, have a brief look around and start talking about what they feel the client wants to hear.
After an initial visit they will go back to the shop and calculate the materials required and prepare a price with the wood floor installation included. You may accept the price and arrange an installation date. This is where things start to go down hill. As soon as a wood floor fitter turns up to your property with the wood floor in hand ready to install the flooring, this is the moment you know they don’t know what they’re doing, don’t care or are just doing what they’re told. If any wood floor hasn’t been acclimatised correctly for a couple of days prior, in other words placed in the room it will be installed, it is instantly a recipe for disaster. Is this a true sign of a poor installer? Not necessarily! Shop’s are sales driven. Half the time they really don’t want to hear of any problems. If the installer is reliant on the work that the shop passes his/her way, it’s easy to see how they will keep their mouth shut and take the risk. All at your expense! As an installer for over fifteen years, I myself have felt the pressure of this kind of relationship. Luckily I’m a little strong headed and look at my clients as the number one priority. This in turn has cemented a good reputation for me and my fitter’s and actually aided closely associated retailers to make increased sales, although very few of them seem to understand this. The short term bottom line for them is the main goal.
Should the initial shop advisor not have recognised any problems with the sub-floor or climate in your home, again, the installer is in the same boat. Any installer can be put into a difficult position. Does he complain to the shop that the assessment wasn’t done correctly and additional work is required which in turn will have the knock on effect of the shop calling you, the client to be informed that the price has to be increased. Nobody would be pleased with that. Does the installer absorb the additional work that will have the effect of increasing the time of the installation, in turn having a knock on effect of him losing money and potentially other pre-booked clients being let down. Or does he crack on and hope for the best. I’ve seen many good intentioned installers that have needed to put food on the table in these avoidable and unsatisfactory situations. These situation increase the stress levels of all concerned. People aren’t stupid! Any client can see if an installer is stressed and rushed, leaving you unsure as to the immediate finished result and long term potential problems.
Who is in your home?
Often clients may need to go to work or leave their property unattended. This means on many occasions, the first brief contact with a fitter is the morning the job is to start. Do you really trust someone that is working in your home after a brief ten minute conversation? Has the shop that’s provided the installer simply rang him a few days before as they’ve been desperate for a fitter to replace the one that’s let them down, and decided not to mention it to you? In that case who is this fitter? Is he diversifying from fitting carpets, moonlighting from the post office or whatever, and your project is his introduction to wood floors? All very common, especially in this day an age!!
Why You Should Always Meet Your Fitter!
A competent wood floor fitter will have an ingrained eye for what needs to be done. He/she will walk into your home and instantly see points that need closer inspection. He/she will be using their senses. They will smell for any signs of humidity or damp problems from the offset that may effect your wood floor and reach for their moisture meter’s immediately. They’re feet will know where the high or low points are in any room and from that look to gauge such spots more accurately. They will note the condition of your floorboards. Are they cupping or crowning? Which can be an indicator of other issues. Is your solid sub-floor suitable for the particular wood floor you have chosen or the method by which it should be installed? All these aspects and more will be a wood floor fitter’s priority as he/she knows very well the implications of the factor’s mentioned not being right.
When you meet the wood floor fitter that you may be spending several days with or leaving alone in your home, with a first meeting you get to vet the fitter. I’m not talking about sitting them down with a bright light pointing at them, more so that you will get to see their mannerism’s, how professional they are, how keen they are on the particular things we’ve looked at, are they interested in making sure the job run’s smooth, is he/she conscientious towards your situation, do they have respect! All this may sound a little over the top and awkward to some, but believe me, carrying out in-home visits for over fifteen years, I fully expect to be subtly vetted when I enter someone’s home. Some clients aren’t even subtle about it and that’s fair enough as well.
Finding a conscientious fitter that is not tightly associated with the shop will break the pattern of the shop and fitter in cahoots. The fitter will not be held over a barrel by the shop to rush the installation or cut corner’s that may be due to a shop error.
Meeting your fitter first will give you the chance to discuss aspect’s of your project that only a fitter will know. Perhaps regards a product or method that will be used to install the floor. How the area should be prior to the installation. Where the fitter will be starting from and so on. With such thing’s a sales advisor may know the basics but there’s really nothing like having the piece of mind that you’ve spoken with the fitter him/herself. No confusion or miscommunication!
The last point is that you will allow the fitter of your wood floor to know what they’re walking into. A blind installation is never a good idea. There may be additional materials required to start. The sales advisor may have supplied the wrong underlay and so the ensuing stress levels that we looked at earlier will needlessly start.
This article may sound like I’m trying to sell myself as a freelance wood floor installer, which I suppose I am in a way, but I’m also aware that I can’t be everywhere at once and that there is other wood floor fitter’s than me in this world. The megalomaniac side of me doesn’t want to hear that but it’s the truth. This article is intended to get you thinking about how you will approach your up and coming project and do that by starting with knowing your fitter!© Copyright 2013 Wes, All rights Reserved. Written For: Fitmywoodfloor