Let me preface by saying that I am a do-it-yourselfer to the very core. I had never personally utilized a professional floor installation crew when we first acquired Tarver Fashion Carpets. I’d installed floating click-together laminate and both self-stick and glue-down vinyl tile/plank in relatives’ homes for free (well, almost free—they fed me really well, lol). So last January when I started learning the retail flooring trade (this was before we had Gloria), it was my first instinct to lean toward the do-it-yourself angle when helping customers.
I have since reformed.
After more than 18 months of seeing our flooring crews in action, and also having them install flooring for me personally, I can tell you that the amount of work they do, the speed at which they do it, and the quality of the finished product is worth every single penny.
Tearing out carpet and installing new carpet is the least labor-intensive so professional installation really doesn’t add much to the cost of the carpet and padding. For other flooring scenarios, installation can cost more than the flooring material itself. And there’s a good reason for that.
Here’s what that installation fee includes:
1. Removal of existing floor. Removing carpet is fairly quick and easy. Removing a floating floor is also pretty straightforward. However, if the existing floor is held in place with any sort of adhesive, such as glue or mastic (LVP, tile, sheet vinyl), removal is quite messy and labor-intensive. There are situations in which new flooring can be laid right over existing hard-surface and resilient flooring (for instance, cork-backed WPC can be installed even over tile), but those depend on the material, its condition, and the condition of the underlying subfloor. You could potentially save a little bit of money by removing the existing floor yourself, but you risk damaging the subfloor, which brings us to…
2. Prepping/repairing subfloor. Once the existing flooring is removed, the subfloor sometimes needs a little bit of attention. Even pulling carpet to install hard-surface floors can leave small divots in the concrete where tack strips and transitions used to be. At the very least, the subfloor is thoroughly cleaned before new floor is installed.
3. Sundries. Most hardsurface floors require additional materials to install properly: glue, underlayment, mastic, grout, etc. Most require shoe molding at the minimum, often transition pieces too.
4. Disposal of old flooring. We haul all the old stuff away so it’s not sitting by the curb. We also clean up the detritus and flotsam that happens in the process.
5. Expert labor. A good install crew will do it right the first time. Carpet installs fast because it involves many square yards at once. Most other flooring options take longer because they involve much smaller pieces, require more steps, more time, and in some cases install square inches at a time.
Don’t get me wrong, I am still a steadfast do-it-yourselfer, but I now highly recommend professional floor installation.