Where Do You Start?
Is the vinyl floor in your kitchen looking a little outdated? Maybe you've been thinking of replacing the carpet in the family room with a hardwood or laminate floor. Purchasing a new floor is a big decision that needs careful planning.
So, where do you start? First, choose a flooring type: hardwood, luxury vinyl, laminate, vinyl sheet, vinyl tile, and linoleum. If you aren't sure what flooring type you want, use the Floor Finder tool to get ideas.
Where Do You Want to Install Your Floor?
Once you've decided on a floor type, the next step is to think about the room where your new floor will be installed. This
is an important part of the process because you want to make sure the floor fits your lifestyle and your budget.
- Which room?
- Amount of traffic?
- Which level of your home?
- Is the room moisture-prone?
What's Your Style?
Find a floor that matches your style and your room decor. You don't want to install a new floor and then realize you're going to spend more money redecorating - unless you've budgeted for it.
If you want to get a quick estimate for a floor, we recommend using the Armstrong Price Estimator. This easy-to-use online tool provides two estimates: one for the cost of your floor if you install it yourself and one for
the cost of your floor if you use a professional installer.
Professional, In-Home Estimate
You can also get an in-home estimate by a professional. Professional flooring installers will come to your home to assess your space and subfloor (the floor your new floor will go over) and then provide a written estimate.
Do Your Homework Online
Most homeowners begin their floor shopping online to check out designs, colors, costs, and installation methods. They also like to read reviews! Try these tools to find the floor that's right for your home.
- Floor Finder (interactive)
- Flooring Galleries
- Design a Room (interactive)
- Price Estimator (interactive)
- My Project (interactive organizer)
You can also order samples and find a local flooring store.
Time to Shop
Chances are, you'll shop for your new floor in one of three places: a flooring store, a home center, or online. If you are going to a bricks-and-mortar store, make a list of the things you'll need to take with you.
- Estimates - either provided by a professional installer or from the Price Estimator
- Photos of your room or a rough sketch
- Décor elements: paint charts, fabric swatches, pillows
- Floor samples
At the Flooring Store
When you arrive at the flooring store, ask questions! Your flooring store has trained sales people ready to answer your flooring questions, like these:
- Will this floor work in my [which room]?
- Can I install this floor myself?
- Is this floor easy to clean?
- I have a concrete subfloor. What floor can I put over it?
- Do I need to replace my subfloor?
Now that you've selected your floor, it's time to install it - or hire a professional.
If you're a DIYer, check out videos, chatrooms, forums, and other online sources to get tips for installing your floor. The Armstrong DIY Installation area is a good place to start.
Make sure to follow the directions that come in the flooring boxes. Don't cut corners!
Hiring a Professional Installer
If you don't plan to install your floor yourself, your flooring store will likely recommend a professional installer. They
typically have a roster of freelance installers they call on.
You can also find your own. Talk to friends and neighbors. Word-of-mouth is a good way to find a trustworthy installer. If you find an installer on your own, use an online service that offers customer reviews of local professionals.
Meet with a Professional Installer
When you find a flooring installer, call or schedule a meeting to talk about the details for your installation.
You need to agree on:
- A project timeline
- Anticipated project costs (You don't want any surprises later!)
- Satisfaction guarantee. (What happens if you have a problem with your floor after a month? After a year?)
- A firm quote
Before the Installation
Follow these tips to protect your furniture and your home during the renovation.
- Remove all furniture and store everything in a safe area.
- Seal off other rooms to keep potential odors and dust from seeping into the rest of your home.
- Identify the work zone for your family, so they can stay out of the way.
- Caution everyone to wear shoes to avoid stray splinters, nails, tools, etc.