Whether you like it or not, your wooden floor will definitely begin to show signs of ageing, especially if you’ve had it a long time. Wooden floors typically need to be sanded and refinished at least every 20 years. However, you might allow a little longer before considering having work done on it, especially if the wear and tear is less obvious.
When you notice your floor needs a makeover, the first step will be to look for a professional wooden floor contractor, who will sand and refinish your floor. However, with the number of ‘experts’ listed online, how would you know if you’re actually choosing the right person or company?
A recommendation from a friend or family member can make the decision easier, but if you find yourself in this situation and no good recommendations are forthcoming, getting answers to the following questions will help you make an informed decision.
What is their level of expertise?
Expertise is the most important consideration when choosing a sanding and floor finishing contractor. No matter how old your floor, once you find a suitable professional, the job is half done. The easiest way to find a contractor with the best expertise is to visit their website and read through their portfolio. From the work they’ve done in the past, you can reasonably gauge how reliable they are and if they’ll be able to complete a professional job. Some of the details you’ll need to analyse are: the floor materials they are comfortable working with; their method for preparing subfloors; the type of adhesive and finish they use; and their standard operating procedure for sanding and finishing wooden floors. In some cases, not all this information will be found on their website, so you may need to send an enquiry email in order to get more details.
Do they have good recommendations?
Recommendations, reviews, opinions and references are some of the easiest ways you can determine the reputation of any company. As long as the contractor has completed jobs in the past, their website will almost definitely feature some comments from past clients. These testimonials will tell you if the company is known to do a good job, if their prices are reasonable and if they have a good relationship with their customers.
You may need to reach out to the people they have worked for in the past to get first hand information on how the company works. As long as you’re checking for testimonials and references, ensure you look beyond their website. Go on social media to see what people are saying about the company, and take a look at customer reviews and opinions on third party review websites.
To ensure you’re actually making the right choice, ask the contractor for insurance, licenses and any other relevant documentation they are expected to have in order to undertake the job.
What does the job entail?
It’s important to be aware of exactly what sanding and refinishing of your floors will entail. This includes an idea of the cost, how long it will take, materials to be used, as well as milestones leading to completion. It’s a good idea to compare multiple contractors in order to get the best one; this is why you should have an idea of the price and project duration. When you have this information, there is less chance of any mishaps occurring once the work has started.
What precautions do they take when working?
Not many people know that sanding poses a danger both to individuals and property. For instance, there is the risk of fire that can result from an improper connection of the sander to an electric fuse or inappropriate disposal of sanding dust and shavings. There is also the risk of exposure to dust and flying particles, which can cause respiratory problems. A professional sanding contractor will have certain procedures in place for safety. Before engaging one, find out what their safety procedure is for handling chemicals, solvents and other toxic substances, as well as their approach to the disposal of sanding dust. The sanding dust and toxic substances must be properly contained and disposed of at the end of the day, in such a manner that there are no health risks to anyone.
What happens after installation?
For most businesses, once the sanding and refinishing is complete, the relationship ends. A reputable contractor will have a proper post-installation customer care system in place to make sure there are no problems and that the floor lasts for as long as it should. Even though it should last for decades, keeping in touch with customers can help contractors enjoy recommendations. Additionally, periodical or regular maintenance may be needed and your contractor should tell you their policy on post-installation care.
Apart from maintenance, in order for the new floor to last as long as it should, your contractor should provide tips on how to carry out maintenance by yourself, as well as how to handle spills, scratches, deal with pets and general wood care.
The job of a professional floor sander and refinisher is to provide every detail you need to make an informed decision. If a contractor is not forthcoming with the details mentioned above, this should be seen as a red flag.
If you have any questions apart from the ones covered here, don’t hesitate to ask any contractor you might be considering. At the end of the day, only choose a contractor you’re completely satisfied with. Don’t forget to sign a contract before the work commences, no matter how small or minor it is.