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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with a flooring professional during the COVID-19 pandemic?

To safely set up a consultation or appointment with a flooring professional and avoid the risk of transmitting COVID-19, start with an online search. Contact the professional through a message and ask to set up a video or phone call to discuss the project. This lets the professional visualize what needs to be done without physically needing to be there. Discuss the project’s timeline, budget, virtual payment capabilities and adherence to guidelines set forth locally and by the CDC.

Are there ways to be safe if I hire a flooring professional when social distancing?

If you hire a flooring professional for an outdoor project, you may be able to avoid person-to-person contact with the pro. If you hire a pro for an indoor job, avoid physical contact, sanitize surfaces and use virtual payments like PayPal, Venmo, Google Pay and Square Cash App to complete transactions instead of using cash or checks. Determine a strategy with the flooring professional when you contact them.

How can I find out if a flooring professional is considered an essential COVID-19 service provider?

To find out whether a flooring professional is considered an essential service in the current coronavirus pandemic, consult your city or state’s government website. To get a sense of the national recommendations, check CISA’s Identifying Critical Infrastructure During COVID-19 webpage

This page lists 16 different infrastructure sectors that are officially considered essential during this time. However, not all jurisdictions follow CISA’s definitions of critical infrastructure. Ultimately, you should consult with your local government. 

Can I use digital payments to pay for floor installation, replacement or repairs?

Many local flooring professionals offer digital payments to conduct transactions for floor repairs, installation, replacement and more. This trend has been increasing during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is prompting flooring professionals to take payments through Venmo, Square Cash, PayPal, Google Pay, Zelle and other convenient platforms. 

To ensure you can safely pay for the service, contact the professional beforehand and ask which services are acceptable. Take any measures necessary to comply with guidelines on social distancing.

Does a flooring professional need to enter my home?

If the flooring project is located inside your residence, performing the job would require the flooring professional to enter your home. This is not recommended by the CDC during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, if a flooring project takes place in a separate location outside of your home, the flooring professional will not need to enter your home. 

Talk to flooring professionals in your area to see if it’s necessary for them to enter your home. If so, you might want to postpone the project until social distancing guidelines are relaxed by the government.

Do flooring professionals offer remote or virtual services?

Because flooring work has to be done in-person, flooring professionals are typically unable to perform work virtually. If you come across a pro's profile that states they're offering remote services, message the pro to see what those services include.

If you plan to get indoor flooring installed once the pandemic is over, you can ask potential flooring specialists if they host virtual consultations through video calls and digital messaging. Compare flooring professionals in your area online to find the right fit, and book an appointment.

What type of flooring can you put over ceramic tile?

You can put carpet, laminate or engineered hardwood flooring over ceramic tile. Vinyl flooring can go over tile as long as the surface of the ceramic is even and smooth, without any crevices or bumps. 

If this is your first time installing flooring over existing ceramic tile, consider hiring a tiling professional to do the work instead and avoid damages.

How long does it take to install a hardwood floor and a concrete floor?

The time it takes to install hardwood and concrete floors varies based on the condition of your current floors, the size of your floors and other factors. Use the following information to gauge how long your flooring installation might take.

Time it takes to install a hardwood floor: Several days to 2+ weeks

Hardwood floor installation can take anywhere from a few days to more than two weeks, depending on demolition, wood type, the condition of your subfloor, total square footage of the project and installation method. Demolition is necessary if you have existing flooring you want to replace with hardwood floors. New-construction homes do not require this step, as the subfloor is primed and ready for floor installation.

During demolition, the flooring crew may find that your subfloor has damaged wood, uneven surfaces or other problems that must be addressed before the new wood can be laid down. Subfloor repair can take a few hours to several days, depending on what’s hiding underneath your floor. The wood for your new floor generally arrives a few days before any work begins. 

The actual wood installation may take several days or more, depending on the size of your home and what type of custom cutting and designs are desired. If your flooring is not prefinished, the unfinished wood must then be sanded and stained in the home to treat and protect your new investment. Typically, staining takes a full day to dry, and multiple coats are applied. 

For a more accurate timeframe of how long it will take to install hardwood floors in your home, reach out to one of the best flooring companies near you.

Time it takes to install a concrete floor: 2 days to 1 week

Installing concrete floors can take anywhere from two days to a week, depending on what you need done. Some of the factors that can impact how long it will take to install concrete floors are: 

  • The size of the space
  • The stain or finish
  • The condition of your existing floor
  • Whether you want intricate, simple or no designs 
  • The overall complexity of the project

To get an accurate estimate of how long installing concrete floors will take for your home, speak to a concrete contractor near you. 

What is the best hardwood floor?

The best hardwood floors are made from durable, hard species like oak, maple and cherry. Solid hardwood is typically the better choice over engineered wood because you can sand out the scratches multiple times. However, engineered hardwood is better equipped for humid households. 

Consider buying prefinished hardwood flooring, which can be more durable and simplify the installation process. Plus, prefinished wood often comes with a warranty from the factory.

Bamboo is another popular option, though be aware that some might not be as eco-friendly as others due to its production process. Some of the popular hardwood floor brands are Bruce, Carlisle and Lumber Liquidators.

To ensure you choose the best type of wood flooring for your home, hire one of the top hardwood floor installation professionals near you.

How do I choose which type of flooring to install in my home?

If you’re ready to install new floors in your home -- or replace old flooring -- you’re probably wondering where to start. After all, there are many options to choose from: hardwood, vinyl, tile, laminate, linoleum and the list goes on. If you’re stuck on which type of flooring you should choose, start with learning the pros and cons of several popular options.

Engineered vs. Solid Wood Flooring:

Typically, engineered wood flooring is better than hardwood when it comes to humidity -- it’s less likely to expand. It’s also easier to install engineered wood, and it can be more moisture-resistant when compared to solid wood. Solid wood, on the other hand, can be more durable. Plus, you can refinish and sand it multiple times. If you have engineered wood, you’ll only be able to sand it maybe once or twice.

Hardwood vs. Laminate Wood Flooring:

Solid hardwood flooring is an authentic product — full-thickness, high-grade wood with all of its textures and imperfections. Wood floors add considerably more value to your home, with a 70% to 80% return on investment, according to Realtor.com. Unlike laminate floors, they can be repaired by sanding and refinishing. 

Laminate wood flooring is much more affordable than hardwood, as it is made from composite wood, an image of hardwood’s texture and a clear protective layer. It's resistant to both sunlight and moisture. While it’s harder to repair, hardwood laminate better resists scratches. 

Laminate vs. Vinyl Plank Flooring:

Laminate and vinyl floors are both synthetic products that imitate high-quality flooring materials like wood, stone and tile. Vinyl floors are made entirely from PVC plastic and may come as planks, tiles or sheets. They are inexpensive and waterproof. Vinyl plank flooring is a great choice for moist areas like bathrooms, kitchens and entryways, while laminate flooring is a good choice for living rooms, bedrooms and other non-wet areas. Vinyl flooring is also a bit easier to clean and maintain.

Laminate consists of a fiberboard core, a printed image layer and a clear protective film on top. Laminate floors are susceptible to damage if there is excess moisture. However, laminate flooring is superior to vinyl flooring in terms of its aesthetic quality, so you’ll have an easier time making your floor look like real stone, wood or ceramic. Laminate flooring is also more environmentally friendly than vinyl. 

If you need more help choosing flooring for your home, reach out to the top flooring companies near you.

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