Installation Options for Hardwood Flooring in
Many builders offer hardwood flooring for their clients. Their installation options however are usually limited.
First, let's just state a fact that hardwood flooring installation is not always recommended in new construction.
Yes, yes, I know that every one does it. I did it too. But, with new construction, when homes are build in couple of months, often in less then perfect weather conditions, especially when they are build in "recovered swamp areas"... there may be problems down the road.
Every home needs to settle, the walls will move, the nails will pop, the brick will shift and crack. The subfloors will drop. When they do, your hardwood will follow.
This information is here, so you know what to expect. It is up to you to make a decision regarding your hardwood flooring installation options. It may be wise to wait couple of years, especially if you do have a plan to go with a more expansive brand for hardwood flooring.
Knowing the above, you may still consider immediate hardwood flooring installation in your brand new home. It will be your informed decision.
1. If you are happy with the quality and selection of hardwood floors available through your builder, when you are sure that all hardwood floor installation requirements are met, and all you questions answered, go ahead purchase your new hardwood flooring from your builder, but make sure to ask him about the installation options.
Builder's selection is often limited to few species maybe with couple of colors to choose from. The quality of those floors is also not the greatest... That means that most of your neighbors if they chose hardwood from the builder, will have the same floor as yours. It also means that the cost of the floor will never reflect it's quality. If you want hardwood floor that is different from the one your neighbor chose, or if you won't settle for less then perfect wood, find out if the builder would accommodate a request to have the floor supplied and installed by a third party or by you prior to closing.
Many will say no, some will say "go for it". You will never know if you don't ask what the installation options are. You maybe able, to work out an agreement with the builder, that will allow you to enter the house prior to closing and have a company of your choice install the floor for you.
It will always be at the discretion of the builder to say "yes" or "no". Please remember, that there are risks involved and bad things can happen. Builder is legally responsible for things that happen in his subdivision. The house is not yours until the official "closing date", after the inspection, when all the documents are signed, money is transferred and you have the keys in your hand. If the answer is no, do not be upset and angry, there must be good reasons, why the builder chose not to accommodate your request.
2. You may still be able to work out a different arrangement. Perhaps, the builder will allow for a credit toward a different upgrade if you choose to "close" with just bare subfloors. You will be able to move into your new home (with bare subfloors) and have hardwood of your choice installed after the closing date by a professional installer or by yourself (if you are handy enough).
If your situation does not allow for a delayed move-in-date and you need to have your floors ready and installed, before you move in, you may still choose another installation option.
3. Here you can opt for lowest grade carpet with standard under pad. Remember what I said in the beginning? You will be better off if you just live with a lower grade carpet until the time your house settles. It takes about 1-3 years. I know, it seams long, but it is not long at all.
If this is your first home, there is another benefit to this solution. When you buy your first home, you may still be looking for your own style. This option will give you time, to understand what you like, and see what's available out there in the hardwood flooring market. This option is far more difficult because all your furniture is in the house already, but I'm sure you can handle this just fine.
No matter what your installation options you choose, keep an open mind and ask questions, you may be surprised with the final outcome.
Now, let's take a look at what you should expect after you move in; pay attention, you will not get this information from your builder.
Some builders rush through the construction process and present you with a shiny key 6, maybe 8 weeks after they dug the hole for the foundation. That is a common practice of many builders through out Central Ontario...
What does it mean to you, the home owner? It will mean cracked foundations, uneven walls, loose bathroom fixtures, hundreds of popped nails, cracked window and door frames, and counter tops that separate from the walls. If such "fast" builder also installed your hardwood floor, it will mean that within a year you will see gaps below the baseboards and quarter-rounds. The strip flooring will separate and become loose, the parquet will twist and move. And you will be very, very upset.
Not exactly what you expected when you paid for those expensive upgrades, is it?
Here again you should consider one of the installation options which we discussed previously. Again, this solution may not be most convenient one, but certainly is the best one.
Many builders offer low quality carpets with thin underlay. We all know that this stuff is not even sold in stores. Why not use the time that your home needs to settle and adjust, (which depending on the area, is between 1 to 3 years) and use the carpet that builder provided to just wait it out. After two years, when builder had time to fix hundreds of errors and mistakes, you can enthusiastically rip out the worn out carpet (believe me, it will not be moment too soon) and have your brand new, gleaming hardwood floor installed. At this time in the "life" of your home there will not be any moving subfloors, there will not be any gaping holes between the boards and your investment as well as the patience will be well worth it.
If you do not have too many choices, and there is not much you can say to convince the builder to accommodate your requests, and hardwood floor in a brand new, just build home is a "must" for your. Or if, for some reason, you can not wait 2 years to have hardwood installed, please make sure to ask couple of very important questions prior the installation. The All the Questions your Builder Should Answer" page will tell you how to proceed.
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