Finding a qualified carpet installer can be
quite difficult. Especially when you consider that some carpet installation jobs are
much more difficult than others and require a more experienced installer to do
the job right.
example, installing a heavy and expensive carpet in a custom home requires much more
expertise than does installing a light-weight apartment-grade carpet in a rental unit.
deserve their carpet to be installed correctly and hiring
an installer with minimum of 5 years experience is where I would draw the line
with a simple installation job. So, if you plan to buy a more expensive carpet or
your job is more difficult or tricky, then you should hire an installer with a more
years of experience.
Much Experience is Enough?
was trained up by three master craftsmen to install various types of flooring
including carpet, vinyl, hardwoods, ceramic tile and more. I remember how I felt after
having just 5 years of experience as an installer... I often questioned my own
capabilities, especially when I was sent out to do a big job or to install an
expensive or high-grade product. I feared making a costly mistake, or not installing it
properly, or afraid the job would end up looking bad.
are so many things that can go wrong when installing flooring and the installer
is always held financially responsible if the job is not done properly. But
after installing floors for about 10 years I felt much more confident and not as
nervous about making mistakes, but as they say a little fear helps keep you on
your toes! Remember to measure twice, cut once...
It takes a lot more time,
knowledge and expertise to
properly install a high-quality carpet than an apartment-grade carpet. I believe that it takes at
about 10 years before most carpet or flooring installers can truly begin to master their trade.
In fact, it's an ongoing learning adventure since new products and
installation methods are constantly changing. Follow my recommendations below to help you determine if
the installer you plan to hire is qualified enough to install the carpet or
flooring product you plan to purchase!
type of installation experience do they have?
is an important factor you need to consider when
looking for a qualified flooring installer. Here is what I mean:
There are four basic levels of experience with carpet
The experience of this type of carpet installer
is obtained from installing lower grades of carpet in unoccupied apartments
and rental property.
They have limited experience with installing carpet on stairs, and limited
experience with difficult or tricky installations. They generally use lower
quality installation products (glues, seam tape, tack-less strips,
transition metals) in order to save money. ]
Property owners and managers
often do not thoroughly inspect the quality of work performed by installers doing
apartment work. Many have become carpet installers as a result of being
hired as a carpet layers helper and few are formally trained or have
completed an apprentice program. This is not to say that you should not hire
them, but you need to be aware that many may lack the experience to perform
all types of carpet installations. Installers who do apartment work are
generally paid the least amount per yard.
New home construction.
Installers with the bulk of their trade
experience from new construction will have increased knowledge of installing
different types of stairs. (carpet can be very difficult to install on some
types of stairs) They will have more experience with various styles of low
to medium grades of carpet, but not much experience with higher-quality
Installers always have to satisfy the builder and the
new homeowners with their performance, which makes them pay closer attention
to detail. Homebuilders usually pay flooring installers less than the standard
going "residential" rate, but the trade-off is that there is a greater volume of work
Custom Homes and Residential Remodels.
By far, installers with
experience derived from installing carpet and flooring in "Custom Homes or
Residential Remodels" have the
widest degree of knowledge and expertise. They are qualified to perform the most
difficult installation jobs using all types, styles and grade levels.
these installers have had some type of formal training or were trained by
someone who was a master craftsman.
You can expect to pay more to hire this
type of carpet installer, but the quality of work you receive will be well
worth it. It is often difficult to find flooring installers with this amount
of experience because they rarely need to advertise to get work. Their good
reputation keeps a steady flow of work coming their way.
These are a
different breed of installer. These installers are trained to do huge jobs
in supermarkets, theaters, museums, hospitals, airports, offices and retail
stores. They are usually a part of a large crew designed to install a large
amount of flooring material in a short amount of time. They often travel all
around the country to install flooring for specific corporate entities such
as Costco, Wal-Mart or McDonalds who prefer to use the same installation
crew for all their locations.
By determining the type
and amount of experience that a flooring installer has, you can better gauge their ability to
install your flooring job properly and better understand the range of prices they may charge for their
You can also lower you installation costs by hiring a less experienced
installer if you have a simple job that a less experienced installer could
Local retail carpet
stores generally will not allow you to hire their "in-house"
installers, however some carpet dealers have a list of local flooring installers
they will provide to you if you ask. These are dealers that cater to
do-it-yourself (DIY) homeowners and have many rolls of carpet in-stock and ready
to load into your pickup truck.
These carpet resellers usually have tell-tale
names that identify them as a cash & carry retailer like "Bob's Carpet
Outlet", "Wholesale Carpets" or "Discount Carpets".
Most cities have Floor
Covering Distributors that provide flooring installation tools and supplies
to local carpet installers. You can call these companies and ask them what
carpet installers they know of and who they might recommend.
Some will have a
list of names they can email to you. Most have a cork board with installers
names and business cards posted. You can find these businesses by searching the
internet or your local phone book under the headings of Carpet Sundries, Carpet
Layer Supplies, Flooring Supply, Floor Covering Tools, etc.
Some cities have a Carpet
Layer's Union that you could call. Union members are paid "by the
hour" instead of "by the square yard". Still, they may be able to
give you some names and numbers of local carpet layers you can call.
Hiring a Certified
Carpet installer is a good way to go and there is a website that you can visit
that have lists of Certified installers. Click here and enter your zip code to Locate
a CFI Certified Flooring Installer near you.
You can also call
the CFI main office for a recommendation at (816) 231-4646
Call to Verify
References and Credentials Before You Hire
many states, Carpet and Flooring Installers are required to have a Contractor's
License, Surety Bond and Business Liability Insurance. These are safeguards
designed to help protect the homeowner from issues such as; shoddy workmanship,
unfinished work, jobsite injuries, accidents, negligence or oversight to name a
I have a created a useful web page where homeowners can learn more about State
Requirements for Installers and how to verify any installer you might
consider hiring. This page also includes information homeowners need to know
about Worker's Compensation Insurance Coverage.