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How to hire guide: Domestic Floor Installers

The National Institute of Carpet and Floorlayers (NICF) shares its tips with Which? Trusted Traders on what to look for when choosing someone to install a domestic floor.

Checklist for hiring a domestic floor installer

Often we live with old carpet or vinyl for so long that we don't really see it anymore. Our floors take some hard wear, particularly in high-use areas, such as hallways and kitchens. Adds pets and children into the mix and you really need something tough underfoot. So if you've reached the point where you want to refresh your flooring, the National Institute of Carpet and Floorlayers (NICF) shared this checklist with us to help you find a reputable installer. When you're looking for an installer, ask: 

  • is the installer a member of trade association – preferably the National Institute of Carpet and Floor Installers (NICF)?
  • can they provide references from recent clients or can you find feedback?
  • does the installer hold industry recognised accreditations or qualifications?
  • does the installer carry a photo ID?
  • does the installer present him or herself professionally?
  • does the installer provide helpful and appropriate advice?
  • can the installer tell you the British Standard that applies to the product they are going to be fitting?

If you need a floor installer, Which? Trusted Traders endorses carpet and floor installers throughout the UK, provided they successfully pass our assessment process. Not all traders who apply will be successful, so you can be sure that those that are on the scheme will adhere to all the correct processes and regulations. You can also check the moderated online reviews on each traders profile page, to see other people's experiences of working with them, both positive and negative.

Check our article on how to work with your trader for general advice to help ensure a smooth process. Read on for more detail about how to hire a domestic floor installer.

Trade association membership

When searching for an installer, check to see if they are a member of a recognised trade association such as the National Institute of Carpet and Floorlayers, (NICF). If they are, details or a logo are likely to be displayed on the trader’s adverts, letterhead, business card and websites. It may be worth a quick check on a trade association website to ensure they are listed in their directory. Fraudulent claims of trade association membership are not uncommon and it is a criminal offence.

References

It is also advisable to seek references, including speaking to recent clients. Ask former customers how you found the trader's work, whether they were reliable and kept to what was agreed and how they found them to work with. Online reviews can also be helpful. You can read feedback from customers and view images of the installers work on their profile page, if they are endorsed by Which? Trusted Traders. All our reviews are moderated to try to ensure they are left by genuine customers.

Presentation

When the installer comes to carry out a site visit consider how they present themselves and their business.  Pride in their appearance and even their vehicle means they are more likely to take pride in their work. The installer should look and be professional in their approach to you and your home. This professional approach should extend to any administration. It should be easy to contact your installer either online or on their mobile.

Installers should carry photo ID and produce it if requested.

A reputable installer will talk you through the job and will recommend products for your individual installation.  

Common floor coverings: what you need to know

Carpet

Your installer should advise you about the different types of underlay available and what works for your home. If the area to be carpeted has underfloor heating, a special underlay is required with appropriate thermal properties.

The NICF strongly advise against reusing underlay. Your trader should always install new underlay when installing a new carpet. Reusing underlay will invalidate guarantees from most carpet manufacturers. 

Before starting a job, you need to discuss and agree:

  • the position of joints in carpets (if required) 
  • timescales - a start and a finish date
  • responsibility for moving furniture, disposing of waste
  • whether the installer will vacuum after fitting.

A good installer will include these elements in their quotation - check to see if that's the case. Don't be afraid to ask for a detailed quotation and ask if installations are carried out in accordance with the relevant British Standard Code of Practice. The standard for the installation of carpet is BS5325.

Vinyl

For luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) the installer should explain which adhesive they will use. Areas subjected to direct sunlight, such as glass-back doors or conservatories will require a different product. 

Floors need to be dry enough to receive vinyl tile products. A good installer will always ensure they establish the moisture content of a floor and recommend a suitable specification based on their evaluation. This is particularly a problem with concrete subfloors, which might appear dry on the surface after laying but can take months to reach a dry enough state to receive vinyl.

The British standard code for the installation of vinyl (or resilient floors) is BS8203.

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