What’s under your feet (or how you get around) is as important as anything when it comes to the house. That’s why this fall, we collaborated with The Home Depot on an A-to-Z guide that will give you the confidence to make the flooring choices you’ll love. Read the manual from A to Z here.
If you’re used to finding or doing home improvement projects on your own, knowing when to ask for help can, uh, be a challenge. But a small mistake or ignored warning sign could potentially snowball into a much bigger problem on the road, which could not only derail your project but put your whole home in jeopardy, especially when talking. of flooring.
Home depot has a team of licensed flooring installers who can help you with everything from carpet to hardwood. But it helps to know what situations can constitute a red flag – here are 5 issues to consider that might require expert help (be it an exterminator or a contractor).
Problem: you are removing potentially dangerous old flooring
Many types of flooring and flooring adhesives common in the mid-20th century did not follow today’s environmental and health practices. This is especially true when it comes to black asbestos putty: a type of adhesive well used until the late 1970s that contained a fibrous material (asbestos) which can cause mesothelioma, a type of cancer.
If you are removing old vinyl, tile, or linoleum and you see a thick, black adhesive, do not try to scrape, rub, or grind it. Instead, ask an expert to come and assess the situation. If it is black asbestos putty, a professional will probably advise you to leave it in place – do not remove it! – and cover it with putty and new flooring.
Problem: your house has serious structural problems
Ah, old houses: they are full of charming details and enough character that we can overlook their minor imperfections – until those flaws turn into major problems. If you are preparing for a flooring job and notice any of the following, it is best to bring in an expert:
- A sloped or sagging floor, which may indicate weakened or broken floor joists
- Doors and windows that stick when you try to close them, which can indicate issues with the foundation of the house
- Blistering paint on walls, which can indicate excess moisture in places it shouldn’t be, such as walls and floors
- Major cracks in existing tiles, which could signal fundamental problems
- A chimney that slants significantly or has cracks in the external mortar
The tie rods can be a once in a lifetime chance to make an existing, possibly historic structure entirely yours, but if the bones in the house aren’t good, you may suffer from future headaches.
Problem: you notice creepy crawlers
No one likes to think about the little critters that come home, but when it comes to flooring projects, certain types of bugs are more important to check out than others. Namely: termites. If you see collections of tiny, translucent wings around the perimeter of your home, tiny holes in your lumber, or “mud tunnels” through damaged wood, termites have likely made their home and need to be dealt with quickly.
Problem: you don’t understand the instructions
Most flooring materials – laminate, vinyl, grout, you name it – come with extremely specific instructions on how to complete a proper installation, and must be followed exactly or you risk losing your warranty. (oua!). If you feel completely lost after delving through the instruction manual, don’t do a “try it and see!” approach. Seek an expert consultation before making a mistake that cannot be easily corrected.
Problem: you have water problems
Water damage is a homeowner’s nightmare, especially when it comes to flooring. If there is a history of water damage inside a home (basement flooding, slowly leaking refrigerator line, etc.) or if you notice signs of water damage – water rings on the ceiling or walls, a moldy smell in the room where you plan to work – it is better to have an expert assess the situation before laying the first tile.
Problem: your safety is at risk
If there comes a time when you feel over your head – a tool a little too unfamiliar, a material that has become unmanageable, or you encounter a potentially dangerous unforeseen problem (like incomplete electrical wiring or rough renovations already done? ), call an expert to help you. You don’t have to try to be a hero.