The lowest price is the best?
Carpet stores and Big Box stores offer little or no improvement in skill, talent or professionalism over an un-licensed person offering to do the same work. BE CAREFUL!! To make their "low" price work they can only afford the cheapest labor. Individuals who sell their labor at the cheapest rate have no marketable talent, and are desperate. A true wood floor contractor is a journeyman who has invested many years in the craft. A skilled journeyman would never work for a carpet or Big Box store. It's a matter of pride.
All of the work Dande West performs can be divided up into parts. Installations, refinishes, fixing carpet store jobs and repairs - consistently in that order. We soon will have pictures in the Gallery detailing some of the past wrongs we have righted.
If one truly needs the lowest price they can find, consider putting off the project altogether. A shopper is guaranteed to find the lowest price if they seek it fervently enough, but when it comes to wood flooring, stop. The shopper would be wise to stop in that situation, and put off a buying decision altogether.
It's All Relative
Carpet, Vinyl and Laminates are "temporary floors" by their very nature with a 25 year maximum life span. However, at the 5 to 7 year mark they show their age readily. They add nothing to the value of your home (although I have heard that some super snappy Realtor's can suggest asking for a few extra dollars at selling time). Tile, stone and wood floors are permanent - characterized as upgrades to your home, they also add value to your homes net worth. A dollar spent on these hard surfaces is recouped on the sale of the home. Wood, tile and stone are forever. A typical wood floor's useful service life is a minimum of 100 years.
Laminates are a compromise from Hardwood Floors any way you look at it. They are a form of "particle board" you may have seen around the house or at a lumber store. The difference is that the "particles" are tiny and more like powder. Yes - they are tough when new, but they have a similarity to particle board. They are highly hygroscopic - more even than real wood. That means Laminates readily absorb water, and much more than real wood. Their short life span is due more to this trait as opposed to wearing out normally.
Laminates do have their place in the home, but for the right application. We recommend them for the right reasons, and are proud of our talent for installing them. (Check our Gallery) Keep in mind that because laminates are a compromise over wood, tile and stone, their use is favored more to what they were originally designed for - temporary applications.
- A homeowner decides to wait until the kids are grown before they have "the good stuff" brought into the home.
- In the interim, laminates share some of the health benefits of wood, tile and stone floors for young and/or busy families:
- Allergies and germs - Hard surfaces are cleaner and more hygienic than any carpet. Perfect for babies and toddlers.
- Easy to clean.
- A property owner favors laminates over carpet for his/her tenants. The useful life cycle of laminates is superior to any form of carpeting. 3. An investor is "flipping" the home for re-sale and just needs it to look good for a little while.
Not So Good Applications
- Installing laminate floors in High-End homes. This makes no sense, and is a styling travesty.
- Installing laminate floors in wet areas. Sorry... it just does not work. Some manufacturers suggest that their products can be put into kitchens and/or bathrooms, but in the event of a claim the burden of proof lies with the homeowner. These manufacturers will fight a claim till the end, rather than admit that their product is not suitable for wet areas. (Think - tobacco companies admitting that smoking is dangerous, and you see where this is going)
- Installing laminates over real wood flooring. This happens all the time, and is like earning a Gold medal in the Olympics and bronzing it like baby shoes. Usually this is because carpet stores and/or Big Box stores lack the expertise to restore existing wood flooring. Remember, wood floors last a minimum of 100 years with reasonable care. Longer with minimal attention.
Google topics such as these and see for yourself:
- Life span of laminate flooring
- Life span of wood flooring
- National Association of Realtors reports of life cycle assessment of flooring
There is not much to this wood floor thing
We're Here to Help You
DIY'ers lean towards simple installations that do not require much technical expertise. The DIY market has drawn the attention of many flooring manufacturers, with many beautiful floors to choose from. However, they are all crafted (engineered, created, fabricated, etc) with the DIY user in mind. This fact also attracts some fearless folks who most certainly get an "A" for effort for doing the work themselves. We know how proud you feel after the work is complete(Rough edges and all...)!!
Real wood flooring is well beyond the ability of the 1st time user, however. The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) offers training towards certification in many aspects of the industry that take years to accomplish. Installing and/or sanding and refinishing is an intense, lengthy subject to learn. It is not for the faint hearted. It is much easier to acquire skills in carpet, vinyl or tile than for wood flooring. It is said that the whole quantity of skill needed to master the vinyl, tile and carpet trades together pales in comparison with the skill set necessary for wood flooring.
The possibility exists that you have yet to meet a true wood floor professional. Real wood floor professionals feel comfortable with any aspect of the craft, and have invested many years of training to become what they are today. This individual is apt to make the effort look easier than it looks, and perform a great job the 1st time.