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A Quick Guide: Flooring Basics

Benefits Of Changing Floors

  • Improved overall well-being/quality of life

  • Beautifying a space so you’ll want to spend moore time there

  • Increased property value

  • Inspire guests or at a minimum make ‘em jealous

Establish What’s Realistic

Know Yourself:

  • Whether it’s a room or an entire level of your home, doing a floor is a commitment, especially if you plan on tackling it yourself

  • Pick a material that suits your lifestyle. Do you enjoy vacuuming daily? Does your floor take a lot of abuse from kids, pets or folk dancing?…Choosing a practical colour and material can keep your interior looking splendid even with wear and tear

Knowing What’s Involved:

  • Researching what supplies and essential tools you’ll need to either, own, buy or rent to get the job done or hiring a recommended, experienced professional

  • Finding a retailer

  • Shopping for your new floors and ordering the proper square footage, determining the suppliers turnaround on having the material delivered,

  • Depending on the material (eg. hardwood/ engineered) having it acclimatize in your space for a minimum of a few days to a couple of weeks

  • Hiring a contractor and their availability or doing it yourself,

  • Clearing out room(s) and putting things into storage

  • Demo/clean up, recognizing/ correcting deficiencies of the integrity of the structure now that it may be exposed if any

  • Plan for addressing baseboards,

  • Prepping space by patching/ securing subfloor and cutting door jam and casing to new finish height

  • Having any materials or tools on site for installation

  • Floor underlayment

  • Installation of the new floor

  • Finishes (eg. baseboard, quarter round, caulking, painting, possibly adjusting door heights)

  • Cleanup and moving everything back into the space

Know Your Timeline:

  • By knowing what’s involved, determining when you want to start and have the project completed

  • Plan for inevitable delays and complications = Moore Time, Moore Money

Know Your Budget:

  • Knowing how far your dollar will stretch, there are plenty of unforeseen expenses that pop up during any reno, so get some quotes to get a ballpark of costs and try to plan for 20%-30% contingency

  • Most flooring suppliers will advise you to order an extra 15-20% of sqft of your desired flooring material. Unfortunately, it’s a necessary evil to account for: wasted off cuts, damaged/ unattractive pieces, inevitable errors in installation (a mis-fired nail or improper cut), wastage for corners or protrusions. Keep that in mind when walking around showrooms trying to calculate material costs

  • Get a few quotes for installation, if headed that route. Remember cost goes up with complexity, if there are many rooms/doorways, lots of corners, changes in floor levels, thresholds, steps, and so on

Shopping Tips

  • Firstly go out and get a quality tape measure if you don’t have one

  • We’ve used and retired many. We currently love our 30’ DeWalt and 25’ Stanley….they can be costly, so try to buy on sale or in a twin (heeEey) combo packs and spilt it with someone special..although never hurts to have two…one tucked away in the car

  • We could do a whole post on tape measures alone but we’ll refrain for now…just get one with good standout, it’s definitely moore sturdy than those cheap flimsy ones. It allows you to easily measure things without a twin, particularly verticals.

  • Next get the dimensions of your space(s) so you can get the square footage and be able to calculate material required

  • This is particularly helpful when you go shop for new floor, you can pretty instantly get an idea of the cost of JUST the floor material, as it’s listed dollar per sqft..puts realities in perspective fast

  • For carpet, hardwood, engineered, vinyl and laminate usually you can get a ballpark figure as most full-time installers have a rate $2.25-$3.50 sqft. that is assuming the space is prepped and clear and doesn’t include addressing the baseboards

  • Ask the store informed questions to stretch your dollar

  • Ask if they offer trades/ contractor discount and how much it is…most stores do, ask what they require for purchase..often it’s just a business card but it might be worth getting someone you know in the business to place the order for you

  • When you’re buying a certain amount of square footage some suppliers can offer the material at a discounted rate

  • Ask if you have extra boxes of unused flooring what their return re-stocking fee is.. usually most places (with the exceptions of big box stores) have 20-40% fee, so buy smart and avoid over ordering and the troublesome task of storing it

Material and Colour

Needless to say, functionality reigns supreme. As much as one can appreciate avant guard design, unless you’re a bold interior designer putting carpet in a bathroom or kitchen just doesn't make functional sense. So often a room’s purpose will somewhat dictate the materials you should gravitate toward. But there’s a bunch of influencing factors, like the design style of the home or being consistent with what’s existing, if only doing a section. Lastly, perhaps most importantly, taking into account it’s everyday users and the type of foot traffic the space gets.

In our experience, floor colour can have a huge impact on a space.

  • Mid-values and low sheen are your friends

  • Try to avoid going too light or too dark in colour unless you’re going for a specific design look

  • It’s like clothes, you can easily see when someone’s spilt something on a white shirt or how often are you having to pullout the sticky roller to keep black pants black.

  • You’ll notice the next time you’re out in a public setting, lobbies, stores, mall hallways, restaurants..all for the most part do a good job of sticking to the mid-tones, as they are better at camouflaging.

  • Shine…the glossier the finish the more it shows scratches and debris

  • When a floor catches the light your eye can easily distinguish where there is an abrupt dent or scratch, as the light refracts and no longer appears continuous

  • On a floor without so much sheen, light doesn't bounce the same way so it’s harder to tell if it’s damaged or dirty

  • If you’re type A person and live alone/ find strange fulfillment in constantly vacuuming/ or if your creative genius is inspired by the sight of general mess and untidiness then ignore this piece of advice

Do you have any questions about flooring?

Share your flooring successes and horror stories in the comments or by email!

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