Preparation is a vital component of flooring installation. Your contractor needs to ensure that ideal conditions exist on the subfloor, providing a clean slate for adhesives and flooring materials. Every project requires minor floor prep and the installation price should cover those costs, but major floor prep may be necessary for a durable installation, driving your installation cost higher and extending the schedule.

Basics of Minor Floor Prep

When old flooring is removed to make ready for new flooring, a certain amount of minor preparation is required. This includes a reasonable amount of scraping and clean up to remove old adhesives and fasteners. It may involve small amounts of patching with concrete subfloors, mainly to level the surface and fill in minor depressions and dips.

Your flooring installer will expect to complete minor floor prep during the process, and consumers should not expect any additional charges for this level of preparation. More extensive, time-consuming and complicated preparations incur extra fees.

Basics of Major Floor Prep

Major prep includes anything above the ordinary, as well as any prep work that requires more than hand tools and basic materials. Think about it this way – minor floor prep can be done in a few hours with scrapers, mops, trowels and a small amount of concrete patch, while major prep requires a few days of work and heavy-duty tools.

Instead of hand-scraping the subfloor to remove adhesive build up and smooth out ridges, major prep work involves mechanically scraping the area, often with a power sander or grinder, depending on the subfloor material. Bead blasting is another process included in major prep.

When leveling of the substrate involves more than a few quick patches, it is considered major floor prep. Your contractor may need to apply a leveling agent or remove and reinstall plywood subfloor to create a level surface. This process is often necessary when installing new flooring over an old ceramic tile.

Major floor preparation also involves sealant application. Whether your rooms require a latex sealer or specialized moisture remover, this process incurs additional charges. Some older homes need to have a sealer applied to the existing subfloor in order to eliminate cut back or other potentially harmful reactions.

Filling cracks in concrete subfloors is another process included under the major prep umbrella.

How Much Does Major Floor Prep Cost?

Although minor floor prep is included in standard installation costs, major floor prep drives the price higher. In general, your contractor cannot forecast or even estimate the cost of major prep work until the existing flooring has been removed. At that point, an assessment of the subfloor dictates the amount and type of preparation required.

Ask your contractor to inform you about additional costs as they arise, as opposed to handing you a large bill at completion. This allows you to discuss prep issues beforehand and provides consumers with an appreciation of the importance of flooring prep work.

Wise consumers go into this home improvement project with knowledge about the processes involved. Think about whether your rooms will require minor floor prep or major floor prep and be prepared to invest in this vital process to ensure a beautiful finish.