want to get wood floors installed, looking for local but not bank breaking
April 13, 2004 8:36 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone have any experience with having wood floors installed. I just got a quote for almost 3k to install maple strips in less than 200 sq. ft. Home Depot does installations, and although I would like to patronize a small company, I can't do it for double the price. Any ideas?
posted by hummus to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
Do you have to have "real" wood, or can you go for laminate? I installed Pergo-style "click together" flooring for about $3/square foot (did the installation myself).

$3K for 200 square feet of wood floor is INSANE.
posted by mrbill at 8:42 AM on April 13, 2004

Response by poster: The rest of the apartment is in the maple strips, so I do want it to match. I think the price is high, but I wanted to know if anyone had any experience with this, and if they used a local contractor or a big store (home depot).
posted by hummus at 8:47 AM on April 13, 2004

Most of the home improvement chains don't actually do installations themselves, but have local subcontractors they work with. I agree with mrbill though, $3000 for 200 sqft is nuts. Get some more estimates from other contractors.
posted by AstroGuy at 9:19 AM on April 13, 2004

I'd definitely recommend going with an independent contractor, especially one who specializes in flooring. Ask your neighbors--sometimes the best people get all their work by word of mouth--check the phonebook, and look at the business cards posted on bulletin boards at your local supermarket or library. Try to get as many estimates as possible. It is expensive to have wood flooring installed, but it shouldn't be $3000 expensive (especially if all you want is 200 sq ft.). You might also see if there's a good handyman who'll install flooring for you.

Just a warning: because this is a relatively small job, some contractors will either balk at it or put you on the back burner (says I in a voice of weary experience).
posted by thomas j wise at 9:34 AM on April 13, 2004

because this is a relatively small job, some contractors will either balk at it

This may in fact be the reason for the high price to begin with.
posted by LionIndex at 10:35 AM on April 13, 2004

Response by poster: Yeah -- I'm not the handiest person in the world. Granted, I could get a book, but I really don't want to do a bad job on it.
posted by hummus at 11:18 AM on April 13, 2004

Does the quote include the wood? Or is it just for labor?

I have a lot of experience with this, the tricky part is finding a good person-- there are definitely good people out there who will do this work for a lot less, probably $750 or so. Have you tried Craig's List? You could post an ad there... Or you can go around to your neighbors and ask them if they know any good wood guys. The key point is that you can definitely get it done for less, and there are good people out there. The hard part is finding someone you trust, hence filters like neighbors and CL.
posted by chaz at 11:49 AM on April 13, 2004

I have installed quite a bit of wood floor -from real wood 1/2 inch to perg-type click together to parquet. In fact, I just finished installing over 1000 sq. ft. of parquet in the shop I'm opening. Tough, but not impossible. The pergo-type click, otoh, is CAKE. A person with no experience and a table saw can do it. It will run you about 3 bucks a foot for nice product installed yourself. Get a pal who has done it before to help you with the first 20 feet and you will be set. Not only is it cheap and easy, you will find, with a bit of looking, a pattern/grain that will match the rest of the APT. so closely, no one but you will ever notice the difference. Last thing to mention. Putting in wood floors is a capital improvement and therefore, when finished, will belong, part and parcel, to the landlord. At 15 bucks a foot, you just made his property all that much nicer, and your pocket book, that much lighter.
-fwiw - I was not handy , could not change a lightbulb or patch a hole in the wall. One day, I bought a book, and ended up building a house. It all started with a gift of 600 sq.ft surplus mahogany wood floors...
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 11:55 AM on April 13, 2004

Here's some pictures of us putting the 100sq feet of pergo-style flooring in. We did it over the course of a couple of days, as this was a mostly-unused room and it was a "test project" to see how it came out. Note that we removed the baseboards before we started.

You can also see what happens (look at the top left) when you don't measure correctly at first. 8-)
posted by mrbill at 12:45 PM on April 13, 2004

It all started with a gift of 600 sq.ft surplus mahogany wood floors...

"Awww, man. Now I gotta build a house to protect this damn floor! Whatchoo wanna give me that for?"
posted by five fresh fish at 2:38 PM on April 13, 2004

Boy oh boy FFF, if you had ANY idea how true that comment is.
"hey! I can do a floor, now I can build a house! Yeah, that WILL be fun." Turns out it was!

posted by BrodieShadeTree at 7:53 PM on April 13, 2004

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