I have watched tons of how to videos on installing hardwood floors. I have even helped install some when I did odd summer jobs back in school. just not sure from start to finish. I have gotten several bids on installation but I just kills me to pay for something I'm 70% sure I could do. is it posable to hire a contractor just for advice on layout and as problems arise? or any other advice would be great.
I would suggest paying for the education on the first one.
Hire a flooring contractor and see if you can negotiate a discount if you be his helper and assist in the project. Even if you don't get a discount you will learn tips and tricks of the trade and it will get you to the finish line. You will be able to see the entire project from beginning to end and on the next one you will be 100% sure that you can do the job or not based on this experience.
You will solve several problems in the process:
You will be sure that the job gets done correctly.
You will learn how to do the job yourself.
You may save some money on this job.
You will be more confident in your ability to do future jobs of so inclined.
You may decide that its more trouble than its worth trying to do this yourself when there are people who can do this quicker and more efficient than you and at a better quality for a fraction of the cost of the time it will take you to do it yourself.
Either way it will be a good learning experience and you will know exactly what it takes to get the job done and how much your willing to pay for said work.
Hope this helps.
Assuming you're pulling the baseboards and door casings laying the floor is not that hard for the reasonably handy, but sanding is best left to the pros. Either it will take forever with DIY equipment or you'll risk ruining your work with the pro sanders. I regret letting a GC's crew sand out a floor, they screwed it up. Go with the specialists.
Prefinished hardwood? With the correct tools install is fairly simple. Time consuming but not difficult. Have you gotten any quotes to install to compare with what your time is worth?
It depends on the level of quality you are looking for. I've been a carpenter for 20 years, and have seen a few homeowners doing good work. They just tend to be really slow. Your time may be better utilized doing something else. It would be a good learning experience if you think you will do it again, unless you are trying to get top dollar on a flip. I can usually tell when a homeowner does their own work. There are also some pretty bad "professionals", so choose wisely.
@Robert Fornwalt if you are doing hardwood in the whole house, plan it out before hand and you won't have any transitions. In my house I did this on my entire second floor. Only transitions were at the bathrooms and there was a marble threshold that the HW butted up to. On my first floor the wood butted another HW floor (I should have done that room too but didn't) and a slate floor. I butted these as well. I took all the base molding off and ran the HW out to the edges (leaving room for expansion) and then reinstalled the base and then added a shoe molding (I didn't need it, but like the look). Only had that floor in 5 years, then we moved. However it looked as good as day one and there were no issues from the install that I ran into.
Don't forget that the amount of money which might be saved by doing it yourself (if you do it right) will be lost on buying equipment and spending time on a project which might lose opportunities.
Robert, are you a young man? Flooring install is a killer on the knees!!!
In all seriousness, its a reasonably easy (i.e. low skill, not low effort) job, but there are a few "tricks" that knowing them makes the finished product look much better. If you insist upon doing the work yourself, I would recommend getting a friend or contractor who has done this before to help you - there are some fine points that are not so obvious to the first-time installer (transitions, edging, doorways, etc). This is the way I learned.
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