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New Hampshire Flooring Contractors

Flooring products are often manufactured and sold with the do-it-yourself homeowner in mind but many jobs are too challenging or require too many specialized tools to be done without the help of a contractor. New Hampshire consumers may want to hire a specialist who will remove existing floor coverings, assist in estimating the amount of flooring product required, prepare the base floor, install the material, and clean up after the work is done.

Licensing in New Hampshire

The State of New Hampshire does not license flooring contractors so homeowners should do their homework prior to hiring someone. The New Hampshire Bar Association (NHBA) advises consumers to obtain several written estimates from companies that are well established or recommended by people they know. It's a good idea to get three references from people the contractor has worked for (and who are not related to him) and call each of them.

Don't hesitate to ask the contractor how long they've been in business and whether they have done business under a different name. Homeowners should also call the state's Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau and ask whether any complaints have been filed against the contractor in question.

Legal Issues and Complaints

The N.H. Bar Association advises that anyone doing business in the state must be registered with the Secretary of State's office. Consumers can check to ensure that contractors are registered. According to the Bar Association, prior to the start of any work on a home the consumer should "review a contract that contains a description of the work to the done, the quality of materials, starting and completion dates, and a clear statement of the total cost and terms of payment." Homeowners should also ensure that all costs associated with labor, materials, taxes, and fees are included in the contract.

The New Hampshire Department of Justice offers consumer brochures that may provide some assistance to homeowners titled: Avoid Home Improvement Fraud, Home Sweet Home Improvement, and Rebuilding Your Home After Disaster.

Common Flooring Installation Issues

Many consumer complaints regarding flooring relate to the product itself but some can be linked back to installation. In particular, moisture is a big troublemaker for floors. Using a New Hampshire contractor or one from a nearby state should enhance the odds of getting someone familiar with the local climate and any issues that it might cause.

The most common complaints about flooring contractors are in the area of service, or lack thereof. Some are unresponsive to problems and won't return phone calls, nor come back to complete unfinished work. On-line complaints about large home improvement centers appear to be as common as those for small contractors.

A number of problems can arise due to inappropriate preparation of the original surface, insufficient care in installation, or inadequate curing of the flooring materials, which is particularly true with wood. Consumer complaints include squeaky floors, moisture trapped between the sub-floor and the flooring material, and mismatched materials. Some producers - such as Pergo laminate flooring - train installers to ensure that their products are installed according to manufacturers' instructions.

Preventative Measures

The wet winters of New Hampshire mean homeowners will want to take special precautions to protect floors near entrances including using mats to protect carpets and wood floors. As part of the installation process, contractors will take certain steps to ensure the flooring materials lay flat and remain looking good. For example, carpeting must be stretched and tacked into place so that it doesn't pucker and sag with time. Wood and laminate floors must not abut the wall as expansion space is needed so that the planks don't buckle and warp. A moisture barrier must often be laid down between the subfloor and the surface material in water rooms such as kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms as well as those below ground level.

Consumer Protection

Consumers in New Hampshire have a 3-day "cooling off" period during which time they may change their minds and have the right to cancel a contract by notifying the seller in writing of their decision. This permits consumers - who may have been pressured into buying a service or a product they didn't want or need - to reconsider once they've had the chance to think over their decisions.

The cooling-off period applies only in cases where home-repair services were sold at a place other than the salesperson's regular place of business. This includes the consumer's house (door-to-door sales) or at a temporary third location such as a shopping mall or hotel. Services sold at home-improvement stores and flooring showrooms are not covered by the three-day cooling off period.

Services purchased in Maine, Massachusetts or any nearby state for installation in New Hampshire would not be covered by state consumer protection laws.

Lastly, consumer agencies advise homeowners to never pay cash and never pay in advance. New Hampshire consumers would be wise to avoid borrowing funds from the contractor. Interest rates for any kind of financing are usually better from a bank than that of a contractor or retailer.

Specialty Products Available in New Hampshire

The state of New Hampshire is 5.7 millions acres, nearly 85% of which is covered in forest. The wood and foresting industry has long been an important part of the New Hampshire economy and lifestyle. As a result, locally handmade wood flooring is a tradition that goes back many years and generations in New Hampshire and is still a proud tradition of New Hampshire's skilled craftsmen.

At Carlisle Wide Plank Flooring, for example, each floor is custom made, "one board at a time." Founder Dan Carlisle started the family business in the 1960's with historic restoration and reproduction work. Today, they "make buying easy" by offering products at a variety of price points and through design centers located throughout the country. Carlisle has its headquarters in Stoddard, New Hampshire.

Unusual Floors in New Hampshire

A unique moving floor in the Rochester City Hall and Opera House is still functional 100 years after its installation by architect George Adams. The floor could be inclined to show plays or left flat to hold meetings. A patent was issued in 1887 for his "Device for Raising and Lowering Floors of Theaters and Halls" and similar operations were installed in four auditoriums but the Rochester example is the only remaining one.


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