Debbie Gartner, a flooring refinisher and active rain blogger from White Plains New York, has some great tips for people considering hardwood or laminate projects. I was unaware of the need to let hardwood or laminate "acclimatize" before installation...
It's happened again...I've met/spoken w/ 3 people in the last week with closings mid week and planning to move in over the weekend and would like new flooring and refinishing work before they move. This is next to impossible.
Don't forget the following when it comes to flooring (or refinishing hardwood floors).
- If you are installing new materials such as hardwood or carpet, don't forget about delivery time. I usually allow 2 weeks. Sometimes it comes sooner; sometimes it takes longer. With unfinished hardwood, we can usually deliver within 2 days, but most other products take at least 1 week and usually 2 is a safe bet.
- If you are installing hardwood or laminate, it needs to be dropped off and acclimate for at least 2 days. Most customers don't realize this.
- Don't forget that you have to coordinate schedules with your installers. Most installers are not available tomorrow. We usually need a week or so notice. Sometimes we can fit things in a few days later, but not always.
- It takes time to do the work. Some jobs can be done in a day; some take several days. If you are refinishing hardwood, it can often take 5 days or so, including drying time. And, you need to wait 4 days before moving in furniture. You can't rush the drying time.
Now, I understand that money is often tight and I also understand that closings often get pushed back and there are many valid reasons for the rush/need to leave where they currently are (e.g. someone else is moving into current home, they are renting and lease is up, pregnancy etc.). I hear this all time, and I get this.
But, IF you are planning on doing renovations to the home, especially those that are better done BEFORE you move in (e.g. refinishing floors, putting in new floors, painting, etc.) it's best to plan ahead and make a conscious decision about move in dates.
Many jobs are MUCH EASIER and less expensive if done before you move in. Refinishing your hardwood floors is a perfect example. Here's why.
- Refinishing hardwood floors requires that the floors are cleared - NO FURNITURE on the floors duirng the entire process (which could last close to a week). So, if you move in, you essentially need to move out again. And, then back in again. If you are going to do this work, it's an inconveniene; or, if you have the refinishing company do it, it will cost extra.
- If you are refinishing main areas, and/or areas that include bedrooms or block entrance to the bedrooms (e.g. steps), you will need to do this while you are away - either during a planned vacation or else stay with family/friends.
- Refinishing hardwood floors is often messy. Yes, there are "dustless" systems (although nothing is 100% dustless), so it's better when you can do this before you move in so the dust doesn't get all over your stuff. If you're sensitive to dust, it's best to do before you move in. (And, then hire some to dust/clean which you prob. want to do before you move in, anyway).
- Refinishing hardwood smells. Plain and simple. It's a much better experience when you are out of the house (and much better for your pets). Trust me.
So, often, refinishing hardwood floors AFTER you move in will be more inconvenient and cost you more money. So, if you plan to do this, consider this and see if there are options to delay your move in dates (e.g. stay in current home longer, extend lease where renting, stay with friends/family, take your vacation before you move in). You get the idea. You may choose to move in early...but make the decision consciously.
Speak to a flooring company, such as Floor Coverings International, so that you understand what is entailed before it's too late. If possible, see if your real estate agent can let your flooring person into the house to measure and provide an estimate. That way, not only will you be planning, but you have the option to pre-order the materials so they can be delivered right after closing and schedule the work.
For one of my customers, she is going to refinish one section of the home after she moves in (while they are on vacation at the end of the month)...But, she now knows to tell the movers where to put the furniture and where not to. For another one of my customers, he will need to do the work after he moves in, and we will use prefinished hardwood so that they can still live there. It only effects one room, but he knows not to put furniture in that room.
So, if you plan ahead, you can make smart decisions.
Hardwood Flooring - Carpet - Tile/Natural Stone - Laminate - Refinish Hardwood - Backsplashes
Debbie Gartner, President and Owner
"The Flooring Girl"
"We bring the store to your door."
Chris Smith CSSBB
Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage