FLOOR REMODELING BEST PRACTICES
The decision to redo a floor is a big one. The financial costs are, of course, significant. The convenience costs are hard to put a number to, depending on factors like the scope of the project, the impact on daily life due to loss of use of the spaces being redone, and the individual homeowners’ “stressibility”. Although there’s no perfect recipe, following best practices is the best overall strategy to get the best outcomes with the least sorrow. First of all comes the decision to redo the floor. Is replacement really needed to restore the surface under your feet to a condition that pleases you? If the issue is a health hazard like asbestos, it’s a pretty compelling reason to strip and redo. Structural damage or decay that poses safety hazards close the deal, too. Old carpets are home to allergens, bugs, and mold, and practically beg to be ripped up and replaced. On the other hand, hardwood floors can often be renewed by sanding and refinishing, at much lower cost than replacing. Tile floors with sound structure can often be restored with a good cleaning. Whatever you decide to do, life will be better if you’re clear about your reasons and comfortable with your decision.
Having decided to redo a floor, the question of when to do it needs to be addressed. Decisions about materials should be made with a good understanding of traffic and use patterns, so if it’s a house you’re new to, there’s value in gaining some living experience there before going ahead. If it’s part of an overall remodeling project it matters when, in the workflow, the floors are done. In general, it’s good practice to schedule floor remodeling as late in the interior remodeling project as possible. A notable exception sometimes arises in rooms with fixed installations like kitchen cabinets. Floor first, or cabinets first? There are pros and cons to each approach, and that decision is in the homeowner’s domain. What are not properly in the homeowner’s domain are the professional skills and experience that guide a project like this through the minefields that so often bring DIY efforts down with totally avoidable mistakes. Your floor is something you see and touch every day. Like the old saying, our floors are the very rocks upon which we walk. Best practice is to get the pros involved from the design stage and through to waste disposal and completion. That’s the decision from which all the others flow.