One day you look at your living room floor or kitchen floor and realize that it’s past its use by date.
So, you start to explore the options, like hardwood, engineered flooring, carpet, and tile. You go back and forth about what you like for a while until you settle on the ideal flooring.
Then, you start thinking, “I’m pretty handy with a hammer. I bet I could install this stuff myself.”
You just found the quandary facing homeowners across the nation. Is do it yourself flooring a good option or should you leave it to the pros?
Keep reading and we’ll explore the pros and cons of both DIY and professional installations.
DIY Flooring Pros
Right at the top of the list is that do it yourself flooring cuts down on the direct cost. Installation is often a major portion of the cost of any professional flooring job. Doing it yourself sweeps that cost right off the final bill.
Letting a crew of strangers into your home for any job creates stress. No matter how professional, they won’t know what holds sentimental value or what’s more fragile than it looks. Plus, even professional crews accidentally break or damage things from time to time.
A DIY approach might disrupt your environment, but it eliminates the stress of strangers in your home.
Completing a DIY project also gives you a sense of accomplishment and offers bragging rights. It’s one thing to say you got a new floor installed. It’s quite another thing to say you installed that shiny new living room floor.
Your choice of flooring can also prove a pro for the DIY approach. Linoleum and engineered flooring have simple installation compared to hardwood or ceramic tile.
The DIY approach also lets you spread out the costs over time. If you choose a widely available type of flooring, you can buy it in smaller amounts over time.
DIY Flooring Cons
Do it yourself flooring isn’t without its pitfalls. You’ll face some hidden costs that don’t show up on a contractor’s bill.
For example, you might need tools or finishing products that you don’t own. Those costs get added straight on top of the actual flooring and shipping costs.
Another hidden cost comes in the form of fixing mistakes.
Let’s say you get tired and decide to cut a bunch of flooring for tomorrow before you quit. Only, you measure wrong because you’re tired. You must replace that flooring out of pocket.
You must also consider your own skill level. Some avid DIYers possess skills that verge into the semipro or even professional level. Some DIYers possess more enthusiasm than skill.
If you fall into the second group, replacing kitchen floors or living room floors might prove beyond you. New homes typically have level, even floors that favor the DIY approach. The floors in older homes can slope, sag, or otherwise prove uneven.
Unless you know how to fix those issues, your new floor will prove a source of constant irritations or outright problems.
You must also consider the indirect costs. If you take time off from work for the project, you lose money. The same thing applies if you do consulting or some other side gig in your off time.
When you add up the value of your time, you often end up breaking even or losing money with a DIY installation.
Professional Installation Pros
The biggest benefit of a professional floor installation is that you know it got installed correctly. You never wonder if they used the right nails or adhesive.
A professional installation almost always turns out better than a DIY installation. The floor and trim always look clean and neat when they finish. You almost never see odd gaps or flaws in the flooring.
Another major benefit of a pro installation is speed. Even the best DIYer can’t install flooring as fast as a crew of people who install flooring every day. What might take you a week or several weekends, they’ll install in a fraction of the time.
If the installers make a mistake like cutting the flooring to the wrong length, that typically comes out of the company’s pocket. You don’t take a financial loss because someone else screws up.
You don’t take a hit on indirect costs. Since someone else handles the installation, you can keep working your day job or side gig.
Despite the stress of strangers in your home, most flooring companies work during regular business hours. They show up around 8 AM and leave around 5 PM unless you make other arrangements. That means they generally won’t interfere with your family time.
If you want to know what to look for in a flooring company, you can learn more here.
Professional Installation Cons
The biggest pitfall of a pro installation is that you can’t spread the bill out. Depending on the company, billing typically happens one of three ways.
In scenario one, you make a partial payment up front for materials. Then you settle the balance when they finish installing the floor.
In scenario two, you pay the entire bill after the job is done. This is fairly rare since it puts all the risk on the installation company.
The final option is that you pay for the whole thing at the outset.
No matter which way you cut it, you need a big wad of cash for that bill right around the time the work happens. Many families struggle with putting together that much money all at once.
Parting Thoughts on Do It Yourself Flooring
The choice between do it yourself flooring and pro installations isn’t an obvious one.
Doing it yourself can save you some money on the immediate bill. It can also cost you in tools, mistakes, and lost money from time off. You must also decide if your skills meet the demands of the job.
A professional installation will cost you more up front. It also gets you a floor that looks great. You can trust that they installed it properly.
It also doesn’t cost you in lost time or missed work.