Preparing for New Floors? Here’s Your Ultimate Home Prep Checklist!

Man installing new laminated wooden planks for the floor remodeling
Picture of Written by James Alekseenko
Written by James Alekseenko

Owner of Golden River Construction

Installing new flooring is an exciting home improvement project that can significantly enhance the beauty and functionality of your space. However, proper preparation is crucial to ensure a smooth and successful installation. By taking the time to prepare your home and follow a few key steps, you can help your installers work efficiently and achieve the best possible results. Here’s your ultimate home prep checklist to get your space ready for new floors.

1. Clear the Area:

Removing furniture and personal items ensures the installers have a clear, unobstructed workspace, which speeds up the installation process and prevents damage to your belongings. Take out all furniture, rugs, and personal items from the room where the flooring will be installed. If possible, move larger items to another room or to a storage area. For heavy furniture, consider using furniture sliders to prevent damage to your current floors while moving them. Ensure that any breakables or valuables are safely stored away.

2. Clean the Subfloor:

A clean subfloor provides a smooth surface for the new flooring to adhere to, reducing the risk of bumps and imperfections. Sweep, vacuum, and, if necessary, mop the subfloor to remove any dust, dirt, or debris. Check for any nails, staples, or adhesive residue that might interfere with the installation. If there are any uneven areas or damage, consult with your installer on how to best address these issues before installation begins.

3. Acclimate the Flooring:

Allowing the flooring materials to acclimate to your home’s environment helps prevent expansion or contraction after installation, which can cause gaps or warping. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for acclimating your specific type of flooring. This typically involves placing the unopened boxes of flooring in the installation area for 48-72 hours to adjust to the room’s temperature and humidity. Spread out the boxes to allow air circulation around them.

4. Plan for Disposal:

Properly disposing of old flooring ensures a clean and organized workspace, which helps the installation proceed smoothly. Discuss with your installer whether they handle the disposal of old flooring. If they don’t, arrange for a dumpster or another disposal method in advance. Make sure you understand any local regulations for disposing of construction materials. If recycling is an option, research nearby facilities that accept old flooring materials.

5. Check for Obstacles:

Ensuring doors, baseboards, and fixtures won’t interfere with the new flooring installation helps avoid delays and additional costs. Examine all areas where the new flooring will be installed. Check that doors can open and close properly over the new floor height. You may need to trim the bottom of doors or remove and reattach baseboards and moldings. Plan for any adjustments and discuss them with your installer ahead of time.

6. Protect Adjacent Areas:

Protecting nearby rooms from dust and debris helps keep your home clean and reduces the need for extensive post-installation cleanup. Use plastic sheeting or drop cloths to cover doorways and areas adjacent to the installation site. Seal any gaps where dust could enter other parts of your home. Consider temporary barriers for high-traffic areas to minimize dust spread.

7. Review the Installation Plan:

Going over the installation plan with your contractor ensures everyone is on the same page and helps avoid misunderstandings during the project. Sit down with your contractor and review the installation plan in detail. Confirm the layout, direction of the flooring, and any specific patterns or designs. Discuss how transitions between different flooring types or rooms will be handled. Ensure that all your preferences and any special requests are clearly communicated.

8. Prepare for Noise and Dust:

Being aware of the noise and dust generated during installation helps you plan accordingly, ensuring minimal disruption to your household. Flooring installation can be noisy and dusty. Plan for children and pets to stay in a different area of the home or with a friend or family member during the installation. Consider staying elsewhere if the project is extensive or if anyone in your household has respiratory issues. Close off other rooms to contain dust and noise as much as possible.

By following this comprehensive checklist, you’ll ensure a smooth and efficient installation process, resulting in beautiful new floors that you’ll love for years to come. Proper preparation not only helps the installers work more effectively but also protects your home and belongings, giving you peace of mind throughout the project.

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