While the end result is well-worth the investment, installing a hardwood floor can be a pricey endeavor. We recognize that, and we want to give you a few tips to make the price a little more manageable. Buying a floor doesn't have to be scary, so here is a list of the places where you have a little wiggle room, and where you don't.
WHERE TO SAVE
1) Lower the Grade
Low grades aren't always a bad thing. The grade of the wood you buy is not what it sounds like to most people. It's not a lower class of wood, nor does it affect how hard the actual boards are. Here's the secret: It has to do with the color variation of the wood. Color! That's it! The lower you go, the more color variation you're going to get. Just remember, you can always stain the boards later and no one will know the difference.
2) Get Your Hands Dirty
We don't recommend installing a floor yourself if you're new to the process. To make sure your floor fits in your room the way you've always dreamed, there are a lot of intricacies that a professional will know how to navigate properly. However, preparing the space for the new floor doesn't need a professional skill set. You can save some money on manual labor by ripping up old carpet, moving things out of the room, and checking for staples before your contractor even arrives.
This isn't true everywhere, but sometimes you can lower the overall price of your installation by opting for a narrower board. As odd as it sounds, using wider boards can mean more work for your flooring team because of the installation process involved. Ask for a price comparison the next time you meet with your contractor to see the change, if any, in price.
4) Ask What You Can Do
Disclaimer: DO NOT GO OUT AND BUY SUPPLIES BEFORE TALKING TO YOUR CONTRACTOR!!!
This one is a bit of a long shot, not to mention a lot of work, but it is worth inquiring about whether or not there are supplies you can buy on your own instead of having your contractor supply everything. Not every contractor will work with materials that they don't buy themselves, but if they do you can save a bit of change by eliminating the middle man. The problem with this, in all honesty, is that you run the risk of purchasing incorrect or inferior products. Ultimately, we suggest trusting your contractor with these purchases.
5) Work the Schedule
Supply and demand is often relevant in this business, so you might be able to get a slightly more budget-friendly price from your contractor by scheduling your renovation for the off-season. Winter, for instance, sometimes leaves flooring companies a less busy. It may be chillier here in Michigan, but a winter installation might be a good option for you.
6) Buy What's Available Now
How particular are you about the exact kind of hardwood floor you want for this room? If the price tag is a bigger priority than bringing the image in your head to life, then learn to be flexible. Don't buy a particular board on special order, as it will raise the price and your wait-time. Choose from what your contractor already has available.
WHERE TO "SPLURGE"
We're only going to list one "splurge" here just because of how important we actually believe it is. Don't try to save money by choosing the least expensive contractor you find. We're not trying to hurt anyone's business, but when you spend money on a contractor you're paying for experience...for expertise. If you compromise in this area, you run the risk of compromising the quality of a big part of your home. You risk the need for premature repairs or "do-overs". Trust us, it's better to get the job done right the first time.