Thank-you for considering Olive Tree Flooring for the installation of your new hardwood floor. In order to eliminate any potential misunderstandings that may occur once installation of your new floor has begun, we have decided to outline a few important points at this stage in the process.
Our experience has taught us that a new hardwood floor is only as good as the substrate it is installed on. As such, sub-floor preparation is often required in order to ensure that your new floor will perform as expected. Unfortunately, in most cases at the time of the estimate the sub-floor is covered by an existing floor covering and cannot be assessed for potential repairs. It is not until the work has commenced in the home, and the existing floor covering is removed, that we can determine whether any repair work is required. Please note that more often than not, some repairs are necessary. Sometimes it is minor and may take only a few hours to fix; usually however the issues are more substantial and may take multiple days of work to rectify (depending on the issues involved and the overall square footage of the installation).
The primary issue we are concerned with is whether the sub-floor is level enough for the proper installation of the new floor. Generally speaking, our goal is to get the deviation to approximately 1/8” over an 8’ span. This is the ideal, and is not always feasible without re-building the entire sub-floor; our intention is only to get the sub-floor level and structurally sound enough that we can guarantee the performance of the hardwood floor being installed over top. After the repair work the sub-floor may still appear, or feel, to be not perfectly level, but we will have corrected it to the point that we can warranty our work.
When working on a concrete surface, or when your hardwood floor is being glued directly to the plywood, the primary means of leveling the sub-floor is the use of self-leveling compound. This is a light-weight cement product and it is billed at per bag basis. This cost includes the primer, levelling compound and labour. Occasionally, grinding the concrete may also be used alone, or in conjunction with, the leveling compound. This work is billed out at per hour, plus tool rental (if required).
When working on a plywood sub-floor, the type of work that can be employed to fix the issues is more varied and depends on what the problem is. It may involve screwing the floor for squeaks/looseness, sanding the plywood to minimize high spots, removing the plywood and shimming the joists or installing new door skin or plywood to try and level out the surface. In extreme cases, the entire sub-floor may need to be replaced. Any of this type of work is billed out at a cost per hour plus materials required.
If we are installing hardwood on stairs, we have to ensure that the treads the staircase is constructed of are made from plywood and not 2”x10” dimensional lumber. Dimensional lumber treads have a tendency to twist, warp, cup etc. and are not a suitable substrate to install a new hardwood on. If the treads need to be changed from dimensional lumber to plywood, the cost will be per step. This cost includes labour and new plywood.
We often get asked before the work has begun how much the levelling will cost. We are unfortunately unable to give an exact estimate because every home is different. That being said, based on many years of work we have calculated that when we are working with self-levelling compound only, we need an average of 1 bag compound per 100 square feet of floor area. As an example, a 1000 sq.ft. installation would on average require 10 bags of self-levelling compound. Of course this is an average, some homes will require more, some less. Please however be prepared to budget for at least the average, unless your salesperson has specifically mentioned otherwise.
When working with a floor that we are directly nailing in plywood, and no self-levelling compound can be used, the costs for levelling/repair vary widely. We have not been able to determine a long-term average on this type of repair. This repair will be charged at per hour basis. Again, some houses end up needing no repair, while others may need the entire sub-floor replaced.
If you have any further questions that relate specifically to your installation please do not hesitate to ask. Please remember that before any preparation work begins you are always welcome to have a professional leveling company provide a second quote on the levelling. Our experience has been however that these companies tend to be very expensive ($4-$5 per sq.ft.) and the homeowner is often much better served by using our services instead.