11 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Commercial Flooring Contractor
The LVT or hardwood flooring for your commercial design project or space has been selected and now needs to be installed. The next step is to hire an experienced commercial flooring contractor who will ensure that the installation is as quick and painless as possible.
The best ways to find a top-notch commercial flooring installer are to ask someone in your network or your flooring manufacturer to refer one, contact a flooring trade organization such as the Flooring Contractors Association or do your own online search.
One thing to note before beginning your research is whether your project is a union project. Union projects require you to hire union installers who have to apprentice and serve a certain number of flooring installation hours.
Once you have identified promising commercial flooring contractors via your research, ask them the following questions:
- Are you properly insured?
In the event that something goes awry during the flooring installation — whether with the installation itself, damage to the surrounding area, or injury — the insurance coverage the flooring installer has for his or herself, any employees or subcontractors should cover these issues. If the flooring contractor you select does not have insurance, you may be responsible for covering any costs.
- How long have you been installing LVT and hardwood and can you provide references?
The installation of LVT and hardwood requires a different skillset than other types of flooring installations. Ensure that the flooring installer you hire has the experience needed by asking him or her to provide references as well as a list of flooring installation projects he or she has done, ideally accompanied by photos. If the projects are within driving distance, you may even be able to visit them.
- How much experience do you have with LVT and hardwood flooring installations since they require different subflooring preparation?
Although LVT and hardwood can be fairly easy to install, proper subfloor preparation is crucial regarding the longevity of the flooring. Renovation projects are more likely to have imperfect subfloors compared to new construction, so the ideal commercial flooring installer knows how to evaluate their condition and make them suitable prior to installing the flooring. LVT is installed with glue down, loose lay or rigid core click methods, whereas hardwood is installed with adhesive, staples or by laying it flat.
- When bidding for a project do you include subfloor preparation costs?
Usually commercial flooring contractors estimate projects based on a set of drawings and therefore cannot properly factor in any needed subfloor preparation without seeing the space in person. When looking at bids, only compare the estimates without any subflooring preparation costs so that you are able to compare apples to apples. By excluding the prep costs, you can compare simply the material and labor costs first and then evaluate the subfloor prep costs as a separate bid once the contractor is on site.
- How soon in the construction process do you recommend beginning the flooring installation?
It is highly advised to refrain from installing the flooring until there is a permanent working HVAC system and the windows are installed. Flooring should also be among the last finish items installed prior to furnishings being brought in so that damage from other trades fitting out the space is avoided or minimized. Another reason why flooring is among the last items installed is that flooring installation generates a lot of dust — or the floor could be marked up with dropped paint or stains. If a contractor recommends installing flooring first, you want to look elsewhere.
- What is the estimated timing for installation?
Based on the construction timeline, the flooring contractor should be able to provide you with an approximate installation date as well as a date for when furniture can be delivered. By reading the flooring manufacturer’s installation manual, the flooring contractor will know when furniture can be put on the floor without damaging it. For example, Parterre Flooring Systems recommends a minimum of 24 hours without foot traffic and a minimum of 72 hours without heavy or rolling traffic for our products.
- How will clean-up be handled?
To ensure that your space is clean and organized after installation, ask the flooring installer if they will be responsible for disposing of any flooring remnants and cleaning the flooring surface prior to leaving. You may also want to ask if floor protection will be provided, as some commercial flooring installers put down heavy duty craft paper, like Ram Board, to protect the flooring until the space is ready for grand opening. Doing so minimizes the risk of damage from tradespeople who may come in after the flooring has been installed, such as paint spatters or tracking in dirt or debris.
- Do you offer a warranty or extended warranty?
Typically the commercial flooring product you purchase comes with a limited manufacturer warranty. Aside from the product warranty, most commercial flooring contractors offer a one-year warranty that covers their installation, though some offer extended warranties. You’ll want to know what warranties they offer and what exactly is covered by them.
- Can you work on multiple projects simultaneously?
If you have more than one flooring installation happening at once, being able to consult one contact for all your projects will help to simplify the process. Having a commercial flooring installer who has additional branches of their own business or can recommend another installer will save you time and possibly money.
- What is the payment schedule?
To know what to expect, you’ll want to be aware of the flooring contractor’s payment schedule ahead of time. Knowing whether a deposit is required prior to installation, as well as when final payment is due, will help you budget properly.
- What are my responsibilities?
Ask what the flooring contractor expects you to do in order to be able to efficiently install the LVT or hardwood. You may have to move furnishings and other materials in and out of the project area unless the contractor is willing to do so for an additional fee.
The answers to these questions should help ensure that you hire a commercial flooring installer who will do excellent work and set realistic expectations for both themselves and you regarding your flooring project.
Of course, the foundation of any successful commercial flooring installation project is the flooring itself. Many designers and business owners favor Parterre’s flooring solutions due to their unmatched designs as well as their exceptional clarity, durability and stability. Parterre’s Resource Center is also a helpful place to find more information about installation, technical information, specifications and more.
Contact us to discuss how to incorporate Parterre flooring into your next project.