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If you’re not from the industry, it’s difficult to know how to distinguish the Good, from the Bad and the Ugly. Sourcing an installer through word of mouth is usually good. As is contacting your local Better Business Bureau. That said, there are ways to take matters into your own hands. For starters, asking the right questions. Let’s start with the obvious: “How many years experience do you have?”

This question is too general and not necessarily indicative of true expertise. While taking the National Wood Flooring Association course Introduction to Hardwood Flooring in Long Beach, CA, in February, I met many installers of varying experience. As the name suggests, this was intended to be an introduction to wood flooring installation. Yet there I was working with professional installers with 9, 11, and 15 years experience respectively. And believe me, we were all learning, asking questions and often surprised by the answers. Kudos to them for investing in themselves and their craft. The thing is, the industry is always changing; new flooring products, new subfloors, new heating systems, all of which directly affect their livelihood. As such, they continually need new knowledge. One question as relates to experience was raised throughout the course: “Does an installer with 25 years in the industry actually have 25 years experience or do they have 1 year of experience repeated 25 times?”

When sourcing an installer this questions translates into “Are you a member of the NWFA and, if so, which training courses have you participated in and when?”

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Matt Dickinson