Laminate flooring is one the best way to give your house a whole new look and add a good measure of value to your home. The process infuses multilayered synthetic flooring with a lamination process to create a cover that looks like wood or stone depending on materials used.
For an average homeowner, flooring might feel like an involving process that may take ages to complete. But, with the help of a contractor, it can be an easy, simple task to accomplish. This modern invention of interior design offers homeowners an affordable option as compared to traditional hardwood or carpet flooring. Its durability and affordability make it one of the most preferred choices for builders and contractors.
How to Choose the Right Contractor for Laminate Flooring
Once you decide to settle for laminate flooring, it is advisable you conduct a research and find a contractor who offers excellent services with affordable rates. Below are a few tips on how to choose the right contractor for flooring installation process.
Research before choosing your potential contractor
One way to getting a reliable contractor is to make use of referrals from people known to you such as friends, neighbors or colleagues. If someone close to you recommends a contractor, make sure you ask the relevant questions. For instance, ask about the quality of their work, services, and cost of labor. Ask them if they would work with the same contractor again and what their experience was.
However, the internet has made it easier to get information about a majority of service providers. You can read reviews of the particular contractor you intend to hire. Find out how people rate them and the quality of their work. Social media platforms can also help you land a good contractor for your home laminate flooring.
Remember that experience in any field is very vital. The process of installing laminate floors requires attention to detail and a good understanding of different materials to be used. To get well-done floors, get an experienced contractor who has a track record of a good performance.
An experienced one has probably dealt with an array of floors and has a gained a good understanding of various materials used in flooring. You do not need someone doing a trial and error on your home floors.
After Installation Services
Flooring, just like any other process of building, needs constant maintenance and repairs. It’s essential to hire a contractor who will still be available for repairs after the installation. A contractor who is open for after installation service is more reliable and likely to do a thorough job. They will keep in touch with you after installation just to make sure everything is functioning as it should.
Avoid getting scammed
The industry is full of con men offering substandard products that might not live up to your expectations. Some will even claim to be experts in installing the laminate floors and do poor jobs or disappear with your money before doing the job.
Having a reliable professional contractor will save you the risk of losing your money or being sold fake materials.
At this point, you have managed to secure yourself a professional contractor, moving forward, it’s important to know what type of laminate flooring materials you will need and the various installation process involved.
Here is detailed information to guide you in the process of replacing your floors to improve your home.
Types of Laminate Flooring
Several factors come into consideration when choosing the type of laminate flooring you need. The topmost being the style and esthetic look you need to achieve. Your contractor can help you select the best flooring laminate depending on performance, cost, and durability.
We can classify the type of laminate flooring in three categories.
- Installation type
- The material it resembles
- The texture of the surface
1. Installation type
Here are different types of installation methods that your contractor may lay down for you.
Glue- Less Laminates Installation
Most laminates fall under this category. Here, the tiles and planks may come with an attached underpad which simplifies the installation process. However, if the laminate flooring does not have an under-pad, you will need to get it separate and lay it down before installation.
Glued Laminate Installation
This type of installation may be a bit costly, but the result is a stronger floor. The process involves gluing the joints together to create a smooth floor.
Pre-Glued Laminate Installation
Here, the planks have glue already applied to them, so all you need is to stick them into place. You will be required to moisten the edges to activate the glue to make it hold properly. It’s one easiest and faster way of laminate installation.
2. The material it resembles
Your contractor may be the best person to advise on the look that works great for your flooring needs. If you choose to make a choice based on the surface you want your flooring to resemble, you can select any of these surfaces outlined below.
A wood flooring look
Wood laminate flooring resembles real wood. It is durable and gives a beautiful finish for your floor. The laminate has layers of hardwood, a top layer wood veneer and an acrylic finish that gives you a smooth, subtle look. The beauty of laminate wood flooring is that; a light sanding can revive its look and refinishing the surface.
A stone flooring look
You may want to have the real look of stone to bring out the classy vintage look for your home. Laminate flooring with a stone appearance gives a unique natural texture that closely resembles a real stone combined with a rich blend of colors.
A plastic flooring look
Although not commonly used as compared to stone and wooden laminate, plastic laminate flooring has various designs that you can choose. However, you should avoid using this type of laminate flooring in areas likely to be wet like bathroom and kitchen for they tend to retain moisture a lot.
Tile flooring look
You can choose to have your floor with tile looking laminate. This type comes in planks that look like tiles.
3. Texture of the surface
Having chosen the installation type and the look of laminate flooring you desire to have, the next step is going through the texture of surface you want your laminate flooring to have. How do you want your feet to feel against the laminate floor?
You may want a subtly soft look, or maybe; opt for a more visible appearance. Your contractor will take you through various textures available.
Here are some of the available laminate flooring textures.
A Smooth texture
If you want to achieve a silky and subtle feel for your floor, then this type of texture is the right one for you. It is easy to clean and leaves your floor with a beautiful shiny appearance. It is mostly described as a ‘satin finish, ‘ and it lacks the deep grain texture.
The texture is achieved through a process that aligns the material to different patterns and can be shaped into square or rectangular form. It can either have a general texture or specific embossing matching with wood appearance.
This type of texture gives you a rustic finish almost same as real hardwood flooring. You can choose to have a soft kind of scrapping or a deeper one depending on your preference. The texture is achieved manually to create an impressive visual to the flooring.
Laminating Services Cost Breakdown
Before putting down the average costs of materials and labor, it’s important to understand that some factors can influence the difference in the overall cost of laminate flooring installation.
In fact, it should not be a surprise to a homeowner if the installation cost is higher than that of materials. The variation in the cost of labor depends on the company doing the installation. A company that has built its reputation with a track record of excellent performance may charge more as compared to a starter company.
For homeowners, they can expect to be charged an average of $2 per square foot to $8 to install laminate flooring. Other factors such as the cost of removing existing flooring can cost $1 to $2 per square foot.
Important factors that can affect the overall cost
The size of the area and rooms being laminated
You will be surprised to learn that the smaller the area per square foot, the higher the cost of installation. Smaller rooms such as bathrooms consume a lot of time during installation because you have to trim the materials being used to a precise fit.
Therefore, larger rooms such as the living room may take less time to work since the installer does not need to do a lot of cutting to fit the large spaces. Depending on the number of smaller rooms in your house, labor costs may lower or be higher.
Colors of the laminate flooring material
Deeper colors are more costly as compared to lighter colors. They are often more on demand and considered to be premium.
The type of underlayment
Even though most laminate floorings have a built-in underlayment, you may desire to have an underlayment that has extra features. For example, a separate padding for cushioning (at $30.00 per roll) or you can buy a padding that absorbs sound. All these extra features come at a higher cost.
It might cost you more to buy a laminate flooring with a pre-applied underlayment, but since its installation is less involving, it will save you cost of labor and time.
The cost of installing an underlayment can range from $2.90 to $4. 60 per square foot.
The thickness of laminate flooring
Depending on your needs, laminate flooring is available in different levels of thickness. The range is between 8 mm to 12mm in thickness. Thicker laminate has a stronger resistance to bending caused by uneven floors. However, a thicker laminate comes at an extra cost. On average, an 8mm laminate can cost $1.79 per square feet, while a 12mm can cost $2.29 per square feet.
The texture and finishing of the laminate flooring
Textures depend on how you want your floors to look and feel. You might want your surface to be more visible hence the hand-scraped texture, or prefer to have it embossed into different styles. You can opt to give your floors a real hardwood look ( embossed in register).
You should note, that different textures come with varying costs. For example, an embossed texture can range from $1.79 to $2.99 square feet while an embossed in register texture range from 1.89 -$3.99.
There is also the hand scrapped laminate that is manually created to bring out a rustic finish to resemble real hardwood floor. Its price can range from $2.99-$ 5.99 depending on how the landscaping is done.
The state of the subfloor
Your installer may recommend that you replace your existing subfloor if it’s in bad condition and unlevel. The risk of a unlevel subfloor is that with time your flooring might sink or rise, and even squeak leaving you with a poor job and regrets.
Even though it’s an added expense, replacing your subfloor will prevent you from the risk of having the above problems; it will help you achieve a long-lasting performance for your laminate flooring. The cost of installing subfloor can range from $0.40 to $0.60 sq.ft.
Just like any other products, laminate flooring brands offer different pricing. If you are planning a home improvement project, it’s good to carry out research and make a price comparison.
Some of the top laminate floor manufacturers include;
- Armstrong Laminate Flooring
- Mannington Laminate Flooring
- Bruce Laminate Flooring
- Shaw Laminate Flooring
- Quick- Step Laminate Flooring
- Pergo Laminate Flooring
- Mohawk Laminate Flooring
This table below outlines the average costs offered by the top laminate flooring companies.
|Manufacturing company||Basic price||Premium Price
|Bruce Laminate Flooring||$1.55-$2.60/sq.ft||$2.80-$4.30/sq.ft
|Armstrong Laminate Flooring ||$1.45-$2.70 /sq.ft||$3.10-$4.40 /sq.ft
|Pergo Laminate Flooring||$2.15-$3.60 /sq.ft||$3.95-$5.20/sq.ft
|Quick-Step Laminate Flooring||$0.95-$2.60/sq.ft||$2.80-$4.50/sq.ft
|Mohawk Laminate Flooring||$1.40-$3.00 /sq.ft||$3.30-$4.25 /sq.ft
To help you understand labor cost, laminate flooring costs, and other costs, the table below summarizes the average costs of services and products.
|Labor costs||$2 -$8 /sq.ft
|Removing existing flooring ||$1-$2 /sq.ft
|Underlayment with separate padding||$30-$35 per roll
|Cost of installing underlayment||$2.90-$4.60 /sq.ft
|Laminate flooring material||$ 1-$5 /sq.ft
|Installing a subfloor||$0.40 - $0.60 sq.ft.
Expected Additional Costs
To avoid running low on your cost estimates, you should include the following costs in your budget or find a way of reducing the expense. It’s also good to try and keep unnecessary expenses in check to avoid going board in your bid to improve your home.
Here some additional costs likely to come up during laminate flooring process.
1. Moving furniture costs
The cost of moving furniture to clear the rooms can range from $20 to $150 per room depending on the number of furniture and weight. However, this expense can go down if you take the initiative to move the furniture and other items yourself and pave the way for the installer.
2. Removal of old carpeting and another flooring
For a professional installer to successfully carry out laminate flooring process, they will need to get rid of any form of flooring present and carpeting. It’s a cost that you can cut by doing the removal yourself.
3. Unexpected shortages of laminate flooring material
An underlayment can get damaged during the flooring process making it insufficient for the process. Such an incident could cause a dent in your budget. It’s always advisable to purchase an extra 10 % of flooring underlayment to avoid hidden surprises.
Remember, a lot of trimming goes into laminate flooring material especially when working on small rooms. If you did not plan for extra material to cover up the damages, then more costs might be incurred. Your contractor should give you percentages of additional materials to buy to counter the unexpected damages and other expenses.
To get better bargains on materials, it will be a good idea to visit several suppliers and try negotiating for fair prices. It’s important to note that, different companies have different pricing and operational expenses. A little research can help you save a significant percentage of your total expenditure.
DIY VS Professional Contractor
Even though laminate flooring is considered to be a relatively cheaper and cost-effective process, it might not be affordable to some homeowners. Some people may opt to fix their laminate flooring to cut down the cost of labor and hiring a contractor.
However, the decision to do the flooring yourself might not be an easy to implement. There are so many aspects associated with the installation process that will be well handled by a professional.
Aspects to consider when choosing between DIY and professionals
a. Areas and rooms that need laminating services
Installing laminate flooring in some rooms such as bathrooms may be a bit challenging. Aspects such as moisture controls, complex walls, and shape will require a professional input.
Areas that might need the various type of transition such as laminate to carpet or tile are also complicated to work to handle. A professional will can work on the transitions with a better expertise since they have the right tools for the job.
b. Equipment and tools
Remember that you will need several tools to carry out a laminate flooring project successfully.You might be forced to borrow or purchase the required tools. On the other hand, a professional already has the right equipment and knows when and where to use them.
c. The overall design
The design you want to achieve with laminate flooring might be complicated or may need a precise coordination of colors. It might be challenging to infuse several designs to achieve a clear vision of your floor.
Faced with such dilemmas, you may want to consider getting a professional to give you insights into the techniques used to collaborate and align the various designs.
d. Purchasing materials
Most professional contractors have dealt with a good number of supplies. They purchase materials in bulk and manage to get discounts. They can quickly tell a fake from original due to their years of experience in handling laminate flooring materials. For this reason, if your home requires a lot of work and materials, a professional contractor will be a better option.
DIY may save you on labor costs especially if you have experience in home renovation. It can also be a fulfilling experience for a homeowner when they work on their home improvement project. However, some significant aspects may need a professional input to successfully achieve the desired floor and get the most out of your investment.
Laminate flooring is a trend that is picking up fast and becoming popular with builders and homeowners. It’s arguably the best choice when it comes pricing and labor. It excels in its durability and its resistance to scratches.
If you are a homeowner planning to replace your floors, it’s a good idea to look for laminating services around you and get to know your options. A professional contractor will guide you on the best laminate flooring materials fit for your home and probably save you the hustle of doing the whole process by yourself.
10 Questions to Ask Your Contractor Before Hiring
After landing yourself the right contractor, there are critical questions that you need to ask before you hire. These questions will enable you to make an informed decision and also allow you to gauge their level of expertise pertaining the job.
1. Ask for if they have references
Even if you have some information about your contractor, it’s always safe to ask for at least three references and make a point of calling them to get more details.
2. Ask your contractor how long it would take them to complete the job
It is good to know how long the job will take to get finished so that you can plan yourself accordingly. Working with a timeframe ensures efficiency and reduces chances of delays by the contractor.
3. Availability of the contractor
Ask them if they will be there every day or if they have specific working hours. Get to know if they work on weekends or not. Knowing their working hours ensures accountability.
4. Ask the contractor if they offer after installation service
It’s vital to note that floors need frequent maintenance. Therefore, when getting a contractor, it’s not just a matter of a job being done. You will need the contractor to be available for repairs and other problems when they arise.
5. Ask them where they purchase their materials
Knowing where your contractor gets the flooring materials is vital. It will give you a chance to research the manufacturer and ascertain if they are selling genuine products that meet the required standards.
6. Ask the contractor what challenges/problems are likely to come up
Some problems such as breakages or uneven subfloors that need to be fixed might come up. It’s good to ask your contractor for unexpected issues that are likely to go wrong and slow down the project. This way, you will be prepared, and you can always have some contingency funds in readiness.
7. Ask for price estimates of materials to be used
After the contractor has reviewed your house for laminate flooring and given you the list of materials needed to complete the project, ask for price estimates. Ask him to include the additional cost of the things that might come up unexpectedly.
8. Ask your contractor how they will manage dust and cleaning process
When installing laminate flooring, the floors might need sanding and refinishing which can elicit a lot of dust. Find out if they have the proper measures in place to contain the dust and carry out cleaning afterward.
9. Ask if they have certificates form technical training or accreditation
The industry keeps changing with technological advancements emerging up nearly every day. It’s a bonus if your contractor keeps up with the current trends through training.
10. Ask if they are insured and certified
Any professional contractor should be insured together with their subcontractors. Finding out about their insurance status will save you the liability of having to pay for medical expenses in case someone is injured while working for you.