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The Importance of Floor Surface Preparation

Whether installing hardwood, vinyl, laminate, tile, or any other type of flooring, we cannot stress the importance of floor preparation enough. At Atmosphere Flooring in Chilliwack, we take the time to clearly communicate the floor surface prepration process with all of our customers.Unfortunately, not all flooring stores do the same.

At some flooring stores, there are sales people that will shy away from telling customers about floor prep simply because they want to make the sale. Only later do they tell the customer that it will require thousands of dollars in prep to make the floors work in their space. The reality is, if you are switching from one flooring type to another, you will almost always require floor prep. We recommend that all of our customers factor in this preparation cost when estimating the cost of new floors.

What is floor surface preparation?

Floor surface preparation is the general term used to encompass any labour or material that is required to bring the subfloor up to the manufacturer’s requirements for the install of their product.

This can involve levelling, scraping, grinding, sealing, cleaning, or replacing the plywood altogether. If the proper preparation steps are not taken, it can lead to further problems that include uneven floors, poor adherence of adhesive, peeling, bubbling or lock system failure. If any of these problems occur and it is a result of the prep work not being done correctly, there will be no warranty from the manufacturer and you will be stuck with the bill to replace it.

The most common floor prep cost we see is levelling or patching that occurs when the carpet is taken out. Carpet flooring is the most forgiving flooring type and can be installed over some pretty rough subfloors. Lots of houses are built with the idea of putting carpet in so that the builders don’t take the extra steps required to make the subfloor ready for a hard surface. Even subfloors in new houses that are receiving hard surface flooring are rarely smooth or perfectly flat.

How likely is that you will need floor preparation?

When customers request their carpet floors be removed and replaced with laminate or vinyl plank, the probability of them needing floor prep is over 99%.

To prepare for the flooring install, we level and grind out the ridges and dips in the subfloor. These ridges and dips likely went unnoticed as they were covered by carpet. If these ridge and dips are not addressed, they will show through the soft vinyl, or cause the locking system between the planks to separate or break at the joints from the pressure.

One of the biggest challenges with floor prep is that it is difficult to determine what prep is needed until the carpet has been removed. Thankfully, an experienced floor installation estimator will be able to provide a clearer picture of what is needed.

When customers visit our flooring shop in Chilliwack, we always make them aware of the potential challenges and labour involved in changing from carpet to hard surface flooring. That way they can decide ahead of time if it’s a cost that they want to take on.

Other things to consider with floor preparation

Another important thing to remember is that, when installing new floors, existing flooring will need to come out and be disposed of. If the flooring is glued, nailed or stapled down, it probably won’t come up pretty or easy. For example, particle board subfloor has to be chipped away in pieces and can often be nasty to remove. Picking out the staples left behind from the carpet pad, or removing paint from concrete is not much fun either.

While it can all be done, it is important to take these things into consideration when replacing any type of flooring. Before purchasing new flooring, we recommend speaking with an expert and having an experienced estimator come evaluate the job.

Here, at Atmosphere Flooring, we care about the details. If you have any questions regarding the replacement of an existing floor, please visit our flooring showroom in Chilliwack or give us a call at 604-795-5577.