DIY Flooring – Is It Worth It?

flooring
Photo: endbradley, Flickr.com

Installing a new floor can tremendously improve the look and value of your home. Whether you’re replacing the tile in your bathroom or installing a new hardwood floor in your living room, the task can be quite demanding and require expertise. However, some floor installations are easier than others. So when is it worthwhile to attempt the installation yourself and when should you hire a professional flooring contractor?

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring (often called "floating floor") is probably the easiest type to install. This flooring, made of composite materials, comes in planks that snap together, and is modeled to mimic the look of a variety of flooring materials from hardwood to slate. Whether you’re thinking of installing a new floor in your living room, bedroom, or den, laminate flooring is an affordable option.

If you have a little experience with handiwork and construction you can purchase the materials from a local home improvement store and install the flooring yourself. Nonetheless, be sure to read all the manufacturer’s directions. If you’re not sure what you are doing or you don’t have adequate free time to perform the job, hire a professional flooring contractor, who will provide quality results.

Tile Flooring

Aside from laminate flooring, most other floors require expertise. Even a tile floor, which is relatively easy to install, shouldn’t be attempted on your own. While you may be able to replace a broken tile or fix a bit of cracked grout, an entire floor installation is a complicated procedure involving special tools and know-how. The subfloor must be made smooth and level, the right tiles/finish should be selected, and some tiles will have to be cut to size with a special tile saw. Therefore, it’s important to contact a professional tile contractor when installing a tile floor.

Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood floors are especially difficult to install. You need to select the right wood and know how to acclimate it to your home. You also have to choose the proper finish and/or sealant. Additionally, trim usually has to be installed and lots of exact cuts and measurements must be made. If your hardwood floor installation isn’t top notch you are likely to end up with floors that buckle, shift or warp over time.

The Real Cost

Aside for the expertise needed for a floor installation, money is also a factor. Though a contractor will charge for his services, he’ll often be able to get the materials for a lower cost than you can. What’s more, you can make mistakes and end up having to redo sections of the floor or possibly even scrap the whole project and begin again, adding substantially to the cost of DIY flooring. If you are not positive you are up to the job, hire a professional flooring contractor to ensure quality, long-lasting, safe flooring.

Updated June 21, 2018.

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