When Should I Hire a Home/Flooring Inspector?

The goals of this article are to outline inspector services, provide some key links to industry associations, and suggest when an inspector can add the most value to your project. We’ll focus on flooring inspectors for now but many of the same principles apply across other renovation categories.

Inspector Services

Inspectors are highly trained flooring professionals and carry association memberships (see below) and certifications specific to your application.  Most homeowners first request an inspection when there has been an installation issue or potential product failure.

** Note:  Regardless of who pays, an inspector’s report will allow you determine the installation issue and proceed with a remedy.  Inspectors are not working for either party whether it be the supplier of the product or the homeowner/installer. They have one objective:

  • To detect what is the route cause of the issue at hand (site related issues/installation errors or product defects/issues) and provide an 100% unbiased report.

Typical services include documenting site conditions (moisture, relative humidity, sub-floor or concrete slab conditions, environmental concerns etc), failure analysis reports, or repair feasibility and suggestions.  They can act as expert witnesses in a legal proceeding by providing background specific to your case or comparing claims to industry trends and standards.

Key Associations for Flooring Inspectors in North America

The following links will help you to find a local inspector in North America:

Association Services
NWFA National Wood Flooring Association Wood Flooring Inspection
WFCA World Floor Covering Association Wood, Tile, Resilient Flooring Inspection
FLRR FloorReports.com Wood, Tile, Resilient Flooring Inspection
NICFI National Institute of Certified Floorcovering Inspectors Wood, Tile, Resilient Flooring Inspection
NLFA National Laminate Flooring Association Laminate Flooring Inspectors

 

When Should you Work with a Home/Flooring Inspector?

Inspectors add value at the beginning of a project where documenting site conditions is imperative.  This is extremely important when starting a DIY installation as they’ll have the right equipment to look at moisture content of the sub-floor or slab and acclimatization requirements. They can also review other site conditions or local environmental factors.  At this point, they can recommend installation techniques or products to ensure a long-lasting installation.

Note:  A certified installer can complete most of these activities as they are taking responsibility for the outcome of your flooring project. Some installers will subcontract the initial inspection to ensure conditions are adequate to proceed.

The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA.org) suggests that if you encounter an issue with your installation, “your first call should be to the company that installed the flooring.”  Your second call should be to the product supplier (escalate from retail -> distributor -> manufacturer). If you can’t resolve the issue directly or if there is differing opinions on the cause of the issue, it is a good time to involve an inspector.  NWFA has written an awesome article on What to Expect During an Inspection too…

In most cases the consumer is responsible for this expense (around $500) until the cause of the problem has been verified.  If you use a reputable inspector (from one of the associations above) check to ensure that your installer or supplier will respect the opinion in the report and reimburse you if they are found to be the cause of the issue.  If they will not reimburse you, you will need the independent report for insurance purposes (typically flood or fire damage) or for legal proceedings anyways (note: litigation is beyond the scope of this article – seek local legal advice if working towards a fair resolution has stalled).

TopInstallers.com is an educational resource and installer network, but we are not directly affiliated with any of the professional contractors on our site.  Conduct your own due diligence before hiring any installer.  Check out “How to Choose a TopInstaller” for more information.

 

 

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