We had a first this past week. We were working with a client who was using her own decorator. The designer told us exactly what she wanted, not just the look of the carpet but the exact style and color. We ordered the carpet based on her specification, but when we arrived to install it, the client did not like it, because it did not look exactly like the picture on the Internet. Neither she nor her designer had ever seen the sample. We worked through it and all is well now, but our bad, it never occurred to us to ask if they had seen the actual sample. Lesson learned: don't assume.
Selecting your new floor from pictures on the Internet is definitely a flooring DON'T. Here are some others that we have accumulated over the past 30 years:
DON'T forget to inquire about upgraded padding options. Many times a small investment will help your carpet keep looking "brand new" for many, many years and will more than pay for itself in the added lifespan of the carpet. This is also true for other upgrades, for example, stain resistant grout and the padding used under floating hard surface floors.
DON'T think you have to use a small tile in a small space. Larger format tiles expand the area visually and make a small room feel larger. This also applies when deciding the width of hardwood flooring planks, too.
If moisture and cleanliness are your big concerns, DON'T forget about good old sheet vinyl. These seamless floors (in most rooms) are impervious to topical moisture and can be cleaned very aggressively. We install a lot of sheet vinyl in pet rooms.
DON'T put too much emphasis on the warranty in your decision making process without requesting and reading the printed warranty. Pay close attention to the exclusions. If something that you are very concerned about happening, for example damage to hardwood floors from high heels, is excluded, the 50 Year warranty from the manufacturer won't be real helpful, will it?
DON'T select your new floor from a tiny sample swatch. Ask to see the largest sample size available, or multiple small samples. There may be a nominal charge for this, but seeing more of the color or pattern or variation always helps you know what to expect your new floor to look like once installed in your home.
DON'T put your house on the market without taking a critical look at your flooring. If the carpet is worn or smells bad (or both), replace it with a neutral color. Same with vinyl and hardwood. It may be expensive, but you will get it back in a higher price and a faster sale.
DON'T paint and then try to find the perfect floor color. There are thousands and thousands of paint color choices, but nowhere near that many flooring color choices. Make both decisions at the same time so you do not give yourself a much harder task when choosing your new floor.
Please DON'T wait til the last minute to decide you need new floors. This happens all the time around the holidays. Someone decides the Monday before Thanksgiving that they want new carpet installed that week. The best companies are already booked up and will have no installation openings, and in times of high demand, it is very common for there to be product shortages and delays in getting the floor you selected.
DON'T use just anything on your hardwood floors. Always read the label carefully before you buy a new product. Words and phrases to watch out for include Polish, Finish, Glo or Glow, Fills in scratches, Shine, Protects from water damage, Leaves a long-lasting brilliant shine, Oil soap, Wax, Refresher, Rejuvenator. These words and phrases are telling you the product is more than a cleaner. There is some type of wax or dressing in the product which will almost certainly cause problems. Either it will not adhere (will peel or flake off) or there will be an unattractive residue on the surface of the floor. Please only use cleaners made by wood flooring manufacturers like Armstrong, Bona, or Mohawk.
DON'T think that do-it-yourself carpet cleaning is the same as a professional cleaning. The warranty on your new carpet requires hot water extraction cleaning by a professional at least every 18 months. And be sure to keep your receipts, as they are required if you ever need to file a warranty claim on your carpet.
DON'T use the wrong products on your granite countertops. Do not use bleach, glass cleaner, degreaser, vinegar, ammonia, lemon or orange cleaners. You can cause damage (etching) to the stone with these acid or alkali cleaners. Use neutral cleaners made specifically for granite and stone. And is water no longer beading up? That means it is time to seal the stone.
DON'T ruin your wood or vinyl floor by moving the refrigerator out to clean behind it. First lay down a sheet of plywood and roll the refrigerator onto the plywood.
DON'T believe everything you read on the Internet. There is a lot of misinformation about flooring on various websites, and also conflicting and confusing information. We sometimes have clients come in with very strong opinions about something, like prefinished wood floors are not real wood, and when we ask why, we are told that's what it says on the Internet. The Internet is a great source of information, but take the time to educate yourself and learn facts versus opinions.
If ease of maintenance is a concern, DON'T choose the very lightest or the very darkest color available. It is logical that snow white carpet is hard to keep clean, but really dark colors provide their own challenges. Dust, lint, and pet hair shows more easily, and scuffs and scratches are more visible, on dark hardwood floors.
DON'T forget to protect your flooring investment with specialized window treatments designed to protect from sun fading.
DON'T use a steam mop on your hardwood or laminate floors, ever. Think about it---wood and steam---this combination can ruin your floor! Plus many manufacturer warranties are void if you use one on your floor. These mops are OK to use on vinyl and ceramic tile, but never on wood.