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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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

What are the different types of flooring I can install in my home?

Here are four popular types of flooring you can install in your home. 

Solid wood flooring:

Solid wood flooring is made up of 100% wood, and has a very natural look and feel. It can add value to your home and. It can resist wear and tear, and be sanded and refinished multiple times. However, solid wood is susceptible to humidity and water damage. When it’s humid, solid wood could expand and if there’s a flood, it will be hard for the wood to return to its natural shape.

Laminate flooring:

Laminate wood flooring is an artificial product that mimics real wood flooring. Its core consists of fiberboard material, topped by an image print layer and sealed with a clear protective film. Laminate flooring is UV-resistant and less expensive than solid hardwood (approximately $3 to $7 per square foot to install). However, it also has a lower-quality feel, is unable to be sanded and refinished, has a lifespan of around 25 years and will invariably have a repeated print, according to Consumer Reports

A laminate hardwood floor is popular in living areas like dining rooms and kitchens. Their quality has improved dramatically in recent years, making them an attractive alternative to more expensive flooring types. Laminate flooring can also be scratch-prone, easy to clean and maintain, and resistant to moisture. 

Vinyl flooring:

Vinyl flooring is made completely out of PVC plastic and is an excellent option for moisture-prone areas like bathrooms and kitchens. It is durable, comfortable and inexpensive. Vinyl plank flooring and vinyl floor tiles can also imitate stone, tile and wood. However, it is fairly easy to spot vinyl flooring as synthetic. Install luxury vinyl plank and sheet vinyl flooring in areas where moisture is a concern.

Engineered wood flooring:

Engineered wood flooring often has a plywood-core substrate and a genuine hardwood veneer as its uppermost layer. Engineered wood floors are more impervious to humidity than regular hardwood, meaning that it’s less likely to expand, warp and buckle, according to Consumer Reports. However, it can dent easily. The best engineered hardwood has a thicker veneer, as well as a quality that allows it to be sanded down and refinished to increase its lifespan. It can be as durable as solid hardwood, and it’s often an affordable choice for many homeowners.

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

Who is a carpenter and what do they do?

Carpenters are skilled craftsmen who build things out of wood. Depending on what the carpenter builds, they may be referred to by various names. A framer is a carpenter who puts up the framing on a house. A trim or finish carpenter installs the finishing touches of prefabricated or custom trim and detail work once a house has been built and the walls are up. A furniture maker or woodworker builds furniture — such as tables, beds and dressers — out of wood. A cabinetmaker is a carpenter who builds custom and semi-custom wood cabinets. If you’re having a home built or remodeled, your general contractor will either provide or subcontract the carpentry work for the framing, cabinets and trim. You can hire a carpenter directly to update the trim in your home, build you a piece of custom furniture, or repair or replace your wood cabinets.

What does a finish carpenter charge per hour?

On average, finish carpenters charge $60 per hour. However, this hourly rate will vary depending on where you live, the scope of the project and other factors. For a more accurate estimate, ask for price quotes from at least three finish carpenters in your area.

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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