1. First, you will have to decide on the type of flooring you want to install. Each type of flooring requires a different type of underlayment and sub floor. Those under hard-surface flooring are often more complicated because they required more sophisticated sub floors.
2. Check under the flooring you are planning on removing. What is under your present flooring? If you are replacing carpet you most likely have cushion under the flooring. Although the cushion may look sturdy and may even have a lifetime warranty it should never be used under new flooring. No matter how long it’s been down. It's collected dirt and possible odors. It’s always best to replace it.
3. If you’re replacing carpet, then it's important check out the seam placement. If the seams are acceptable, make a drawing and bring it with you to the store. If you don’t like the seams, makes sure the salesperson is aware of your concerns. Anytime you are eliminating seams; the purchase will require more carpets and will be more expensive.
4. Always let the salesperson know what type of flooring you are replacing. The salesperson will then let you know what is required in terms of a sub flooring.
Measure the length and the width of each room that requires flooring. Remember to measure into the doorways and closets. It is always better to overestimate than under estimate. Use a metal tape rather than a cloth tape to measure; cloth tapes are not accurate because they have a tendency to stretch.
5. If you are using a different type of flooring for each room, make sure you indicated this to the salesperson. When using the same type of flooring for each room, the cost may be somewhat reduced because waste from one room can be used in another.
6. Check out the trim around your flooring; depending upon your new flooring it may need to be replaced.
7. Ask the salesperson about furniture moving and removal of your existing flooring. Although you may be able to save money by removing your old flooring, it is likely that the flooring company will change you to haul it to the dump.
8. All furniture must be removed from the room before flooring can be installed. Although you may not have much furniture, you may have items such as bookcases and China closets that require “special handling” and have to be emptied before they’re moved. If you have lots of furniture, it may be somewhat costly, and you may want to move it yourself. There will probably be a charge for this since installers are not professional movers and provide this as a service to a customer.
9. One other consideration is your doors. Changing the flooring may change the height between the doors and the floor requiring the doors to be trimmed. Since many stores do not cut doors you may have to hire a carpenter.
Being proactive and planning ahead will eliminate many cost surprises. Always remember the final cost will be determined after your home is measured by the professional.