Stephen Perrera, Owner Of Top Floor Installation Co. and native Tucsonan since 1955 has been in the flooring trade for over thirty-two years. He is licensed, bonded and an insured state of Arizona Flooring Contractor and detailed troubleshooter who performs moisture testing and floor failure analysis, installing a variety of floor coverings. Top
Why Help The DIY'er?
I posed this question on a flooring forum the other day and got some surprising answers from pros and do-it-yourself'rs. The flooring board was gracious enough to keep it posted as they are not really a "DIY" forum per se but the DIY crowd does filter in now and then. It seems like there are a billion DIY forums out there on the net. And worse yet, just as many really bad youtube videos.
As many of you know, I do frequent forums and have helped large numbers of do-it-yourselfers with problems. Mostly those problems are after the fact or if they are receiving incorrect information, that's when I might step in, reluctantly so.
Going back to some history about DIY products, I believe the first one would have been peel and stick vinyl tiles. We know how great they were. Now we have carpet tiles, laminate, vinyl plank and all sorts of click floors that are marketed to the DIY crowd via the box store "You can do it. We can help." It is they're tag line or whatever you call it. I call it annoying.
The box stores offer a clinic on installation - all being very abbreviated and simplistic in such a sense as to make our trade look comparable to say... planting a bush. That in a sense seems illogical. I can see the ease in profit potential when a consumer simply walks out with a batch of flooring. But the stores do make profit on installation as well. So essentially are they not cutting their own throats?
Also, causing frustrated consumers to come in and complain about how the floor is defective are the installation instructions that don't make sense and do not go into the lengthy installation requirements and standards as they should ie; "Go to our website for further information." And even then it is not as in-depth as near to an average Pro's knowledge. I've heard all the excuses and complaints when performing inspections. And I can't even begin to tell you how much mis-information has been given the DIY'er from box store employees. Logic and specificity is not their fine point.
After a lengthy discussion with my friend Howard on another "floorum" that's exclusively wood oriented, we decided it is not in our best interest, nor other installers best interests across the nation when we help the DIY crowd do our jobs. It's kind of like cutting your own throat, especially in hard times. And boy have we seen some hard times.
Most don't take the advice that it's too technical. Some barely understand it at all and many more likely cannot perform installation to the average skill level anyway. Then there's the dangerous aspect when they start handling power tools and saws as fingers go flying off. Look up power saw injuries and statistics. Over 400,000 power tool injuries a year and I dare to say many are DIY related. http://www.forbes.com/2009/12/21/most-dangerous-tools-business-healthcare-tools.html
So why do it? It can be detrimental to them and our fellow installers. Now if they are asking advice about certain issues and specs, I can see helping out a consumer if they plan on hiring a professional, but not the DIY. Sounds a little selfish but considering it takes food off the table of installers around the country, maybe even I'll not be helping out any time in the future.
Let's now consider the quality of the flooring products marketed to the DIY crowd. Many professionals will not touch most of them. Why? Because they know there is a higher than normal failure rate. Why? Because they are dumbed down and engineered cheaper than most quality professional grade products. Most frightening of all is that the box stores will not install many of the floors they sell for the very same reason!
I have heard installers/contractors say they offer help to "give back" to the community. That's all very gracious. But ask yourself this, would most professionals give away information to some person who just calls them on the phone at their business? Probably not. I know I can't waste hours helping every Tom, Dick and Harry that wants detailed line-by-line instructions on how to install a hardwood floor. Is it even feasible to think that a manufacturer could simply type out a couple lines that would enable a person who has never installed a floor to do a professional grade installation? Why even seasoned installers have problems as we know getting it not even perfect, but simply to industry standards or the manufacturers requirements, which by the way, are MINIMUM STANDARDS AND REQUIREMENTS! Look at how many flooring failures there are every year, BILLIONS OF DOLLARS WORTH IS WHAT I HEAR.
Would you take one of your green helpers and set him or her off into someone's home to perform an installation with only an hour or two of knowledge? I doubt it.
I remember many years ago when laminate floors first hit the nations shores. I was at a seminar for laminate at Surfaces. At that seminar was a gentleman/colleague that was sitting at the table with the three or so manufacturer reps answering questions. If you're an old-timer I believe you know this man. When the question was presented "Will you manufacturers market this product as a DIY product.?" The answer was a resounding "NO!"
Well, we see how that's faring don't we? It seems that the longer I stay in this business the more products are marketed as DIY-friendly. I think it is an abomination and a slap in the installation community's face as this practice continues. And this will certainly continue to take the professional installer and community further down a very dark road.
It's funny that we're considered a specialized trade, at least that's what they call our tools.(lol) You cannot find many of our tools at the local ACE hardware. The final result of the DIY project may look great to them. But in all reality, if a pro did the same quality job the DIY'er did, they would be whining on some forum about how he did a crappy job. Then when the day is over, the floor is not performing as promised on that flyer the manufacturer printed and promised, the inspector comes out (if your box store does not blow you off first), and the floor needs to go into the trash can. Now you need to start over, getting mad at the box store and the manufacturer for making such a worthless steaming piece of cow dung.
Free Pad? No. Free Installation? NOPE! We can do it, I can help. Just hire me. Free advice? NO, see paypal icon on contact page.
Edited by Admin 12/2/2013