Floor Preparation Estimates - What goes into that number
Accurately estimating costs for a flooring installation project involves a combination of factors. Although most normal subfloor preparation steps can be anticipated and therefore estimated before the project begins, game-changing situations such as actual job site conditions and subfloor variables can lead to additional, unanticipated costs. The more you understand how a professional flooring company estimates a project, the more you’ll appreciate the complexities of preparing an accurate cost.
1. WHAT FLOORS ARE SPECIFIED?
Different types of floor coverings require different degrees of subfloor preparation, and the installation estimate will reflect that. Estimates should be floor-product specific, including each product’s installation methods and materials.
2. WHAT DOES THE JOB SITE LOOK LIKE?
Scouting the actual job site should be standard business practice. A thorough construction site analysis starts to compile important stats that affect costs.
3. WHAT VARIABLES ARE INVOLVED IN NEW CONSTRUCTION?
If construction hasn’t yet begun, the flooring contractor’s estimate is subject to change as the actual “playing field” conditions are revealed.
4. WHAT VARIABLES ARE INVOLVED IN RENOVATION/ REMODEL PROJECTS?
What’s under the existing floor covering? For many remodeling projects, an estimate cannot be generated until the current floor covering is removed and the entire subfloor examined. Only then can the flooring contractor see the conditions and estimate accordingly.
5. WHAT KIND OF SUBSTRATE IS THE FLOOR GOING OVER?
Some substrates are easier to install new flooring over than others. Some surfaces require more intensive treatments, while some might not even be appropriate for the floor covering, such as the wrong type or thickness of plywood.
6. WHAT IS THE SUBSTRATE CONDITION?
Is it clean, smooth and ready to receive the floor covering? If not, how much time, labor and materials will it take to make the substrate acceptable? For example, concrete slabs in renovation projects may require more and/or different preparation than new slabs. There may be irregularities that need to be remedied by grinding, patching or skim coating to keep defects from “telegraphing” through to the surface of the floor covering.
7. WHAT SERVICES ARE INCLUDED IN THE ESTIMATE?
Your estimate should include an explanation of what is “fair” and expected in subfloor preparation, and what is considered “foul.” Plus, awareness that change orders and additive costs may be unavoidable— even when you use the most professional contractor—is simply fair play.
8. HAS THE CONCRETE BEEN TESTED FOR MOISTURE/PH LEVELS?
Concrete subfloors are well-known for creating floor covering failures if they’re too “green” for receiving
a floor, or, even after curing, they still emit too much moisture. There might even be a need for expensive moisture mitigation measures. (See Starlog Volume 7, Issue 2, at www.starnetflooring.com.)
9. DOES THE FLOORING CONTRACTOR HAVE THE EXPERIENCE TO HANDLE THE JOB?
There’s simply no “pinch hitting” for knowledge. A Starnet Member brings major league flooring industry experience to each and every job. He’s an experienced professional who networks with others on the StarNet team to ensure your total job satisfaction.