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Laying Hardwood Floors Should I Leave It to the Experts?
http://www.extremehowto.comIf you are a DIY hobbyist, just about any project you see around the house is one that is a candidate for your "do it yourself" enthusiasm  There are projects that are outside the skills of even the most ambitious do it yourselfer.  There is a famous quote from one of those Clint Eastwood westerns that goes "A man's gotta know his limitations".  This principle goes two ways.  If you realize that installing your own hardwood floor is beyond your limitations, then you know its time to call in a professional.  But if you are confident that you can take on the task of laying your own hardwood floor, then by all means, do it yourself.  You will have fun and you will save a lot of money not having expensive flooring experts doing the job.

If you decide to hire a contractor to install your beautiful wood floor, you will set about the task of selecting the right contractor for the job.  But before you go through that exercise, its appropriate to take inventory of your own skills and of your resources for doing the job yourself.  One principle will be important to obey throughout this evaluation and that is…

Be brutally honest with yourself

Before you start the evaluation of whether you are the installer you would hire, have a talk with yourself in the mirror and agree with that guy on the other side that you will be brutally honest about your own capabilities.  When you evaluate your own ability to install a hardwood floor, it is good to use the same exactly criteria that you would use when decided on a workman to hire.  You would not pull any punches when hiring someone to put in your flooring.  You hold them to a high standard.  If they clear that standard, you hire them.  If they don’t, you don't.

Why hold yourself to any less of a standard?  After all, you are actually applying for the job of installing your wood floor and the competition are the professional installers who will get the job if you don't.  So evaluate your abilities and only hire yourself if you have a high certainty you are the right man for the job.  On the other hand, if you are qualified to do the job, be proud and hire yourself.  

There is nothing like experience

If you hired a contractor to install your floor, you would want to know that he has installed hardwood floors before.  So one level of evaluation of your own skills lies in your resume of projects of this type and of this size that you have successfully finished before.  

This doesn’t mean that you should abandon installing your own wood floor if you have never installed one before. If you are starting well ahead of the project in your time frame, you may have time to get the experience.  Find out who of your friends is installing their own hardwood floor.  Volunteer your skills and labor time for free to help them.  That experience will be gold when you set out to install your own floor.  And you may build some sweat equity so your friends will help you out when its time to install your own floor.  That sweat equity is a valuable thing.

Tools and time

Now evaluate two very quantifiable variables.  Do you have the tools and do you have the time?  Installing a hardwood floor does not call for very many job specific tools.  But you should have the saws, hammers and measuring equipment to execute the project well.  You can always buy the tools but if you don't have them so far, that is an indication you may not have the experience for the job.

Even more importantly, do you have the time to take a few days off to install your own hardwood floor? If your job is too demanding to step out of that world to do a home improvement project, its best to contract it out.  Too many flooring projects went by the wayside because of procrastination.  But if you have the vacation time to devote to the job, it can be a fun way to use that time and one that will make your home more beautiful as well.


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