“I’ve installed vinyl plank flooring and love it, but it keeps separating in a few areas. Not sure what I did wrong. Any advice?”
DIY learning on the internet is great, but there are times when it’s best to call a pro. Otherwise you may end up posting a message like the one above.
Sure, we may be biased, but we’ve been asked many times to fix floors that were installed by homeowners and even other contractors or handymen.
What about the savings?
If you have a limited budget, installing yourself might seem like the best way to save money. We get it.
But that upfront savings can often be cancelled out later by extra fixes and a shorter product life. You might even end up paying more in the long run.
Which would you rather have:
- A DIY-installed floor that needs to be fixed within a year and replaced in 4 or 5 years,
- Or a professionally installed floor that looks good for 8 to 10 years with regular maintenance.
The second option may cost a little more upfront but will be less expensive overall.
The biggest disadvantages of a DIY flooring installation:
1. It will take longer to install
How much is your time worth? Because a professional crew will have the job done in half the time or less. They obviously have more experience and work with better tools and equipment.
You may feel you’re in no rush, but extra time may cost you if the project is part of a bigger renovation or if it delays your move-in date.
2. Mistakes will lead to issues later
Ever start a DIY project, then realize partway through that you missed a step or didn’t plan well? Unlike knitting, you can’t always undo the work and start over.
Installing vinyl or laminate, for example, can really go wrong if you don’t prep the sub-surface, don’t plan out the grain/ pattern, or if you skew the plank alignment. These things can lead to issues that will need fixing later.
Professional contractors plan ahead and know how to install around irregular shapes, corners and doorways. They also know the best techniques for different types of flooring and even the quirks of specific brands.
3. You might not be happy with the result
While it’s possible to do a good DIY job with laminate planks and certain types of flooring, there’s still a risk the final result won’t be as great as you expected.
Older homes or those with irregular features can pose challenges that will skew the results. You might align planks with one wall, for example, and not realize until you’re done that the plank alignment looks off.
These issues can get worse when you continue to the rest of the house and the hallways. Transitioning between rooms and keeping it consistent throughout is not the easiest job and we’ve seen plenty of bad examples.
4. You can void the warranty
One of the best benefits of getting a top brand of flooring is the warranty. But a 25-year or lifetime warranty can be voided if you don’t use pros.
Yes, some manufacturers say the flooring must be installed by professionals in order to keep it under warranty.
We consider this one of the best reasons of all, since some brands have really raised the bar in warranty coverage, which can save you money years later.
What to look for in professional flooring contractors
There are plenty of advantages to working with professionals. Not only will your back thank you for doing so, but, more importantly, your home will feature beautiful floors for many years.
Our flooring store in Austin has a professional installation crew that has been part of our team for 10+ years. They have a terrific track record with reviews from happy customers.
If you buy from us, you can get installation included in your flooring quote. But if you seek an outside contractor, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Any flooring installation contractor you work with should:
- Be licensed (for flooring) and insured
- Have good reviews or references from past clients
- Have experience in your specific type of flooring (hardwood vs tile, etc.)
- Be able to explain their process and whether furniture moving and clean up are included
- Provide an estimate before the job (unless it’s provided by the store)
We understand the need to save, but when you make a full comparison of DIY vs. professional installation, you might be surprised. It’s free to get a quote on installation, so you have nothing to lose by finding out.
We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about installation. Let us know by commenting below or sending an email.