By Gene and Katie Hamilton
One of the best resources for finding an installer for a plank floor is a flooring retailer. Often there's an "installed price" offered because the installation service is handled by the retailer. The turnkey service is popular for consumers who don't have the time or can't find references and it's added revenue for the retailer who can control the delivery and installation of products he sells. You'll find these specialty retailers listed in the Yellow Pages under "Floor Materials". You'll also find the installation service available at many of the large home centers and lumber yards where flooring material is sold and online at a contractor referral service.
To inspect an installation of plank flooring, look for any seams where the material is sealed together. The seam should be difficult to find and not conspicuous. Look at openings into the room at doorways where the flooring should be tight beneath the threshold. Look in the corners, around windows and corners to see that it's tight-fitting. Stand back for an overview to see that the pattern is balanced and look symmetrical.
These items should be specified in a contract between a homeowner and flooring contractor to install a plank floor:
- Materials (including flooring material, style, pattern number)
- Underlayment material
- Installation method
- Demolition work (if necessary)
- Preparation work required
- Clean up of the site
- Start and completion dates
- Cost and payment schedule
If there is a pattern or special installation design required, a sketch of the pattern should be attached to the contract.