Monday, August 11, 2008


Using a Storefront Contractor or an Independent Wood Flooring Guy in New York

Foyer by Highway Flooring of NJ

Dear cityhammer,
I've put off the decision to do wood flooring in my house
for way too long, and I've finally decided to go for it. I'm not sure whether or
not to go with one of those flooring superstores or to have a professional that
my neighbor used come in to do the work. What is the main difference between the
two options?

Jaime in Nassau County

Jaime, the simple answer is that both would be ok provided you are dealing with someone reputable, but there are different pro's and con's for each.

Using a "superstore" or a storefront flooring place is very common and in New York, there are no shortage of places to go. Storefronts and showrooms are the best way to choose your wood flooring. They will have tons of brands, finishes, colors and other variables and you can literally put them on the ground and step on them to get an idea of how they'll look in your home. One tip would be to determine whether or not the room you are going to floor has a lot of sunlight or not. If it does, be sure to bring the wood as close to the front windows of the store as possible on a sunny day because the lights in a showroom may not give you the true look of the particular wood you are looking at.

An independent floorer, more likely than not, has to be really great at his job because he doesn't have the physical presence of a store to attract new business. Therefore, he's got to do a good job and rely on referrals, like the one from your neighbor.

Storefront contractors will typically have a higher price on the per-square-foot installation than a regular flooring guy, but you also have the added assurance that if something is damaged or done incorrectly, you can literally walk into the store and have it repaired, whereas with a flooring company in the phone book, you don't have the same certainty that you can track them down if you need to.

There are also some showrooms (think "warehouse" or "liquidators") where they are simply selling the flooring system, often at almost wholesale prices, and when it comes time to do the install, they will reccomend a professional to you. This strikes us as possibly the best of both worlds.

The first step is to go out to the stores and showrooms regardless, because to have someone bring 5 samples to your house is no way to pick the floor you're going to be living with for the next 20 years. Once you know the brand, style and color, it then becomes a matter of shopping around for installers and the store may be able to offer a very competitive price versus an outside contractor.

Staining and refinishing is another matter entirely, and for that, there are plenty of independent flooring companies with a much greater expertise than a store would have. A retail store is in the business of selling you new materials rather than restoring your old floor.
Good luck with your new floor, Jaime!

For a list of pro's in the New York area, click here: Wood Flooring in New York

For tips on shopping for wood flooring, click here:
Shopping for Wood Floors in New York

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I think it would be easier to hire a contractor to do the job but then again a challenge is always a good thing to boost you confidence and knowledge base. Just remember to seal the floor to prevent damage and maintain it with a quality cleaner
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