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Why it's important to hire a flooring company that specializes rather than a generalist or a handyman)...no offense to GC's of handymen. This is prompted by a phone call i got this morning from a customer.
Usually, it's better to hire a specialist rather than a generalist. I think fundamentally, we all grasp this concept. Who would you rather work on your brain if you need surgery? A general surgeon or a brain surgeon? How about your heart? If you need to list your propety as a short sale to avoid foreclosure are you going to hire any agent or one who specializes in short sales? You get the idea...the more you specialize in an area, usually, the better you are at that skill...and if you need to obtain materials, generally you can obtain them more cost effectively.
Now, getting back to construction, a lot of people will work with a General Contractor, especially when redoing a kitchen, to oversee the whole project given that it is so large and multi-disciplinary (you need flooring, cabinet guys, countertop fabricator, plumber, electrician, painter). I get that it is a lot of people and it can be confusing for a homeowner. Many of the General Contractors will sub out the work. The issue is that the General Contractor, as the name implies, is a generalist. They usually know a decent amount about everything (and some are better than others). But, they usually don't know everything about each specialty.
Here's the most recent example of something easily avoided, if a real flooring company was brought in:
Last year, my customer came to me telling me she wanted to buy hardwood for her kitchen. She already had a contractor for all of the installation for the whole ktichen and she only wanted hardwood. So, I spent many trips there and found some beautiful hardwood for her. It never occured to me that it would installed incorrectly.
So today, I get a call from her and the GC because the floor is buckling a bit. (It had been installed earlier this year). My initial inclination (which was correct) is that they did not allow sufficient space around the perimeter of the room for expansion and contraction. And, knowing that it has been incredibly humid the last few weeks, the wood is expanding and there is not enough room for it to go.
I talked to the GC some more, and asked him how he installed it. He said he nailed it into the plywood. I then asked if he also glued it? He asked why? I said because they are 5" planks and you are supposed to NAIL AND GLUE THEM. You do this when the wood is over 4.5" wide because they expand and contract more. He then asked how he would know to do this. I was a bit stumped and just said that any good flooring company or hardwood installer should know that. That's just the way it's done and I believe it's on all the official national hardwood sites for proper installation.
Now , if we had installed this, this never would have happened. Fortunately, I found a good (or good enough) solution for her and that is to get a dehumidifier. I warned her that she may also need a humidifier every winter as her wood may contract a bit more than she likes and she may need to use the humidifier each summer and/or during humid seasons. She's a bit annoyed as she doesn't want it to clutter her kitchen, but honestly this whole thing could have been avoided.
It pays to hire specialists.If you want to work w/ a General contractor, you should make sure that he/she has strong subcontractors or people that really specialize in each area that needs to get done. I'm not knocking General Cotractors...afterall, they add a ton of value in getting the work done and coordinating it. Just make sure it's a good GC with good experts. Flooring is only one specialty. Plumbing and electricity can be even more complicated and if you don't have someone licensed in these areas you could have much bigger problems than this (e.g. water leaking and causing damage to your home, having things not up to code, having something catch on fire, etc. You get the idea. Just be careful.
Author Bio: My name is Debbie Gartner, and I'm known as "The Flooring Girl." I own my own flooring store that serves Westchester NY and Fairfield CT counties. We install hardwood flooring, carpet, tile flooring, laminate, bamboo and cork flooring. We also refinish hardwood floors. We are a shop at home flooring store. You can call us at 914-937-2950 to schedule a free flooring consultation
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.