Flooring Tips

10 Key Points to Remember When Replacing your Existing Flooring

When about to embark upon a flooring installation – it is wise to research the different products available, their requirements for proper installation, site work required prior to installation, the impacts of changing the type of flooring all together, and what conversations you should be having with your installer and salesperson.

At Hunt Design Centre we are happy to help guide you through making the right product selections to best suit your project requirements. Below are a few key items to consider as you begin to embark upon choosing the right flooring material for you:

1) Selecting the Right Flooring.
Purchasing new flooring begins with a notion of how you want your space to look and feel when finished. Magazines and the internet are your best places to start to get a feel for the direction that you think you would like to take. Make sure to consider your household, your lifestyle, and how long you think you will be in the home – these could and should play a role in your decision-making process.

2) Know what you’re up against.
Understanding how level your sub floors are, what adhesives or underpadding could be adhered to them, and what type of prep work is required for your new floor are all things that could help you determine if the flooring you want is the flooring you should install.

If you’re having a professional install your floors, you’ll want to have them assess your job to be sure that there won’t be any surprise issue arise during installation. Many factors go into a smooth installation:

Proper Floor Measurements
Accurate measurements are integral to a successful installation to ensure proper quantities of products are ordered.

The industry standard for hard surface products is to add 10% the actual area to be covered, which allows for cutting and waste.

Roll goods such as carpet and vinyl may require 15% extra due to room sizes and seam placement. It is recommended that you discuss seam placement at the time you place your order.

Sub Floors

Now you can determine what type of sub floor is required for your new flooring. New Carpet can be installed over virtually any sub floor. Because carpet is generally installed over an underlay, many of the sub floor’s irregularities can be hidden.

Hard surface flooring materials will require much more preparation to achieve a quality installation. One of the biggest issues with an improperly prepared sub floor is that the imperfections in the sub floor can telegraph through the flooring materials. Sub floor preparation is every bit as important as the installation of the new floor itself.

3) Removal of Existing Floors and Addressing Sub Floor Issues.
There are several hurdles one could face when installing a new floor that you should be aware of when installing a new floor:

i) Concrete sub floors with moisture issues:
• If your basement has moisture, you may want to complete a moisture test to determine what will be needed to remedy the problem.
• Depending upon what type of new flooring you selected, a 6 mil moisture barrier can be used if it is a floating floor.
• Otherwise, if it is a floor that will be glued down, a premium adhesive with a moisture barrier will be needed.

ii) Oriented strand board sub floors:
• OSB sub floors were used in new construction in the 1970s and 1980s under carpet as a less expensive sub floor option than plywood.
• If you are replacing a carpet with a new carpet, no additional prep should be needed. However, if you are installing a hard surface flooring material, your only option would be to use a floating type of hardwood, laminate, or a luxury vinyl tile or plank. A glued or nail down flooring choice would require either removing the particle board and replacing or layering it with a suitable plywood sub floor.

iii) Uneven sub floor:
• Here again, carpet can hide a multitude of sub floor issues.
• If your new floor is a hard surface material, you will need to grind high spots, patch low spots and/or use a self leveling patch.
• Industry standard for a flat floor is 3/16″ over a 10′ radius.

iv) Rotted floorboards or water damaged plywood:
• If you have rotted floorboards or water-damaged plywood, these will need to be replaced.

v) Mold:
• Any signs of mold should be addressed by scrubbing the surface mold stains from walls sub flooring and wood trim with a mixture of 1 qt. water and 1/2 cup bleach.
• Use a soft brush and work until signs of the mold disappear.
• More severe cases of mold may require a more in-depth solution.

4) Transitions from floor to floor.
If changing the type of flooring that is currently in your home, make sure to consider the impacts of any change in height that may occur with your new flooring. This can affect the transition heights from one material to the next, the height of your baseboards, as well as door casings and jambs. Review with your contractor the necessary steps to be taken to properly prep your home for the new floor.

5) What about appliances?
If a new subfloor is required, will this impact appliances that are to fit underneath wall cabinets or countertops? Be sure to consider this before installing new flooring in your kitchen.

6) Do you have cast iron radiators?
If these are present in your home, they should be removed by a licensed heating professional prior to the installer’s arrival. You will have this person return after the flooring installation to re-install the radiators. Be sure to discuss any necessary height adjustments with your contractors.

7) Determine who removes furniture, appliances, etc.
Be sure to discuss the complete scope of work necessary to complete the project with your flooring installer when they are there to gather information for your quote. Things like moving furniture, appliances, and sub-floor preparation are extra costs, and if you’re wanting those items to be taken care of by your installer, request that they are included in your quote so that there are no surprises in the end.

8) Gas and hardwired appliances
If you are uncertain of how to do this, appliances with gas connections and hardwired electrical connections should be uninstalled by licensed professionals, and you will have to schedule these trades prior to your flooring installation. Some homeowners may be comfortable with this, but if you are not, have it done properly. Typically, your flooring installer won’t include these as offered services.

9) Don’t forget about your closets.
Remember that your new flooring will run into your closets and other storage areas, so anything stored on the floor of the storage spaces should be cleared out prior to the work beginning. These are often forgotten about and can lead to mad rushes in the morning to clear things up before your contractor arrives, or a necessary return trip by your installer because you went to work and forgot about it completely.

10) Don’t forget about the acclimation period.
Remember that many flooring materials require a period of acclimation to your home’s environment. So, whether you are having your floor installed by a professional, or you are doing it yourself, be aware of the necessary time required for proper acclimation from the time you receive your new flooring to the time that flooring is installed. Installing without adhering to the flooring’s specifications can cause major issues down the road and will not be covered under warranty.