Installing Concrete Floor Coverings: Contractor Cons to Avoid

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Third Party References

The biggest thing to avoid, especially when you’re buying a floor, even residential garage flooring, is taking the installer’s word for it as far as what concrete floor system’s right for what area.

You really need third party reference, like a manufacturer and an experienced sales representative who does consulting all the time to help you decide on the proper selection of flooring materials.

Be Wary of Low Bid Quotes

It is very easy for someone to walk in who says that he installs floor coverings for concrete floors and speak to someone who does have knowledge of floor installations and say, “Oh yeah, you’re job’s going to be two dollars a square foot.”

Because he’s going to go in there just to get the job at a cheap price, with a cheap concrete floor covering system, even though it’s not going to hold up because it’s not really the correct system for that area.

Best Price May Sacrifice Best Floor System

So it’s not that it’s a scam, but I guess you could say it’s a scam.

It’s an installer coming in and trying to price to get the job instead of picking out the system that’s best for the concrete floor job that gives the customer the best benefit over time.

This happens over and over and over again.

A contractor  who has the best interest of the customer will do a thorough review of all interior concrete, including not only interior floors but also vertical surfaces such as coving and other wall surface needs that may require attention.

Negotiating the “Right” Price for the “Right” Floor System

Once a contractor gets the wind that all someone cares about is the price, it’s really the time for him to walk away. But there’s a whole layer of contractors that feed on this situation.

They say, “This guy wants price, so we hit him with the low price, give him the cheap job for the concrete floor covering, who cares if it only lasts a year?

He got what he asked for. He got the low price.”  Now this is when a customer would be cautioned to come in with a reasonable price for the right system and the right price.

Find the right contractor to do the right job at the right price.

Quality Versus Quantity

It’s a completely different mindset. But, you can’t change people’s mindset. Some people are cheap. They’d rather buy five times every year and pay twice as much for it than doing it once right.

These kinds of people who don’t even figure in ancillary costs with shutdowns and other contingencies, usually get what they pay for.

Floor coverings for concrete need to be thoroughly evaluated to be sure the right product is selected for the job.

A manufacturer needs to be consulted by the customer but this step is quite often ignored and it is always at the customer’s peril.

Future Considerations

The contractor isn’t even thinking about coming back in the future, they’re thinking about getting the job today, lining their pocket today.

At times the contractor can be more adept at installing tile floor covering or laminate floor covering.

He could be more familiar with concrete basement floor covering.  Remember, a basement floor covering is not the same thing as epoxy flooring.

Recognizing “Trigger” Words

Question the contractor carefully about his experience and be sure that his experience not just in the area of concrete garage floor coating,  or “concrete floor paint” or someone who “does concrete floors”.

These “trigger” words, if used by the contractor, should be a trigger to drill further into the contractor’s experience to be sure you have a good match for the job intended.

Product Value is Relative to Contractor Experience

A valued contractor with an excellent reputation will get the job today and come back too, but they’ll come back on an additional flooring section because the other floor worked out so well.

But again, right system, right area. It happens over and over again. “Oh I paid a lot of money for that epoxy floor coating.” It doesn’t matter.

You think you paid a lot of money for it; according to whom?

“How much did you pay?” Oh, three bucks a foot.” “Well it should have been eight.”

When a Quick Turn-around Isn’t Always Better

One customer was complaining about the material used for a covering concrete floor, claiming it was no good and “junk material”. “It’s horrible, it didn’t work, blah, blah, blah, blah.”

It was disgusting, in fact. It was the worst workmanship for code work you could imagine. “How much per square foot did you pay for this job?” “Eight dollars a foot.” “Well the job should have been 15 a foot.”  “What do you mean?”

He was told again that the job should have been $15 a square foot.  The customer had a problem because the minute the contractor walked into the customer plant he was losing money.

And he was running from the minute he started until the minute he left.  He didn’t have any time or any money to do the job correctly.

Shoddy Workmanship

How to get it fixed, the customer wants to know. Now it’s going to cost $20 a square foot. Because now all of the bad floor has got to be removed and then it’s got to be done the right way.

The customer didn’t have just one 200 square foot bathroom, he had 20 of them.  You can only do three at a time and must do the necessary mobilizations.

Remember, these 3 bathrooms have 600 sq. ft. with literally 200 lineal feet of code in, out, up, around, very detailed work in a residential setting.

Lessons Learned…The Hard (Costly) Way

Concrete floor coverings come in many stripes and the buyer must be aware of what he is buying.  This should have been premiere work.

This should have been a premiere installer and they hired a hack. Why? Because everybody that was good was $15 a square foot and he didn’t want to pay the money. This customer, unfortunately, learned a valuable lesson.

Materials List

Sometimes a contractor doesn’t put down the specified thickness so they can save some material for another job.  Well, that’s very dishonest.

The only way you can guarantee that is through third party verification.

That’s where you actually have a reputable manufacturer who provides the materials list indicating how much material should be used for that job plus X amount of overage.

After the job completion you would actually ask, “What was your overage? What was your leftover? How much did you use?”

You’d actually have to get a break down per coat to verify this and nobody does that. It’s one of the easiest ways to rip people off …

…tell them you’re giving them a quarter inch floor, but only give them an eighth = half the material cost; half the amount of mixing.

Find reputable people that don’t rip you off.

The Nuts and Bolts

I’ve definitely seen people not prep enough and I’ve definitely seen people put systems on too thin for what the person was paying for.

I’ve definitely seen them leave off latex and top coats, not do a urethane top coat. It’s all nuts and bolts.

It’s time number one, but if you know you’re going to do the system half as thick, you can’t prep as deep anyway, because a deeper prep leaves a deeper profile so it’s more likely to telegraph through.

So it’s kind of like a lot of it gets wrapped up into one.

Proper Floor Preparation

Concrete floors require specialized preparation. It’s so much more than applying “floor coverings over cement”. When we’re doing a nice hybrid system it’s a quarter of an inch thick when complete.

You can press that floor deep and aggressive because you’ve got a quarter inch coating on top of it.

After a typical self-leveling cementitious urethane you’ve already got 3/16″ on the first lay down. it’s smooth as a carpet.

You’ve taken out all the texture of the floor preparation phase; it’s gone.  If the customer pays for an eighth inch system and the contractor applies  a sixteenth”, then any little ripple in the floor shows.

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