Get Quotes from Top Flooring Contractors in San Francisco, CA

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Flooring Contractor in San Francisco

San Francisco real estate market is booming, with the value of single-family homes at the highest in over a decade. Wise property owners in the city are using quick home remodeling projects like hardwood flooring to earn a premium on the selling price. However, whether you are installing, repairing, or refinishing the flooring in your home, it is crucial to work with an experienced flooring contractor. These top professionals will help you pick the right flooring for each room, procure quality materials on the best deal, and eliminate flooring installation errors like inaccurate measurements and poor surface preparation.

However, before you hire a San Francisco flooring contractor, asking the following questions will help you determine their proficiency to complete your job satisfactorily:

Are You Licensed to Practice as a Flooring Contractor in San Francisco?

The California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) requires flooring contractors in San Francisco to get a license before offering residents services that cost more than $500. Flooring contractors in the city are required to get a C-15 - Flooring and Floor Covering Contractors License from the CSLB. Please be aware that this license covers the installation of all types of flooring and floor covering materials, with the exception of ceramic tiles. However, to install or fix particular flooring materials, flooring contractors must first get a separate C-54 - Ceramic and Mosaic Tile Contractor License from the CSLB.

Candidates must first meet the following requirements in order to be eligible for a CSLB C-15 - Flooring and Floor Covering Contractors License or a C-54 - Ceramic and Mosaic Tile Contractor License:

  • They must be a minimum of 18 years old.
  • They must complete and send an Original Contractor License Application.
  • They must be sure that the license application form is submitted with the required supporting paperwork no later than ten years after obtaining at least four years of journeyman-level experience.
  • They must cover all license fees.

Once these requirements have been met, the CSLB will contact the license applicants and provide them with a date and venue for a licensure exam, which they must take and pass.

Contractors who work on projects with a total cost of $500 or more without having a valid license run the danger of being punished with a misdemeanor, according to CSLB regulations. The maximum fine for these infractions is $5,000, and the maximum jail sentence is six months or a combination of both. Additionally, administrative fines of up to $15,000 may be imposed on certain offenders.

You must be sure that the San Francisco flooring contractor you intend to work with is currently licensed by the CSLB. You can use the Check a License website to look up currently licensed flooring contractors. Call the Board at (800) 321-2752 for more information on the CSLB's licensing requirements and processes for flooring contractors.

How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Flooring Contractors in San Francisco?

You should always confirm their rates with them before concluding your employment contracts. Flooring contractors may bill homeowners and other property owners for their services in the City of San Francisco on an hourly, fixed, square footage, or linear footage basis. However, irrespective of the type of invoicing your preferred flooring contractor employs, their cost typically depends on the following elements:

  • The kind of flooring that will be put down
  • The size of the space where this flooring will be installed
  • The state of the area that needs to be covered with ground
  • The length of time required to prepare this surface for flooring installation

By requesting quotes from different flooring providers, you may get an idea of what it will typically cost to install the type of flooring you want in your neighborhood. Examine these prices and steer clear of contractors whose prices are noticeably higher or lower than the rest. This frequently indicates dishonest behavior.

Flooring contractors in San Francisco earn an estimated annual wage of $73,340. The list below indicates the average hourly wages for San Francisco flooring contractors and compares these figures with the average hourly wages of floor layers in other parts of California along with other major cities in the United States:

San Francisco Flooring Contractors Average Hourly Wage
San Diego Flooring Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Los Angeles Flooring Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Long Beach Flooring Contractors Average Hourly Wage
San Jose Flooring Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Phoenix Flooring Contractors Average Hourly Wage
New York City Flooring Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Chicago Flooring Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Seattle Flooring Contractors Average Hourly Wage
San Antonio Flooring Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Are You a Member of the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA)?

After ensuring that your prospective flooring contractor has a current license granted by the CSLB, asking about any additional qualifications is a smart idea. Additionally, flooring contractors may indicate that they are members of or certified by the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) or other reputable trade groups, such as:

  • The World Floor Covering Association (WFCA)
  • The Floor Covering Installation Contractors Association (FCICA)
  • The Northern California Floor Covering Association (NCFCA)
  • The California Building Industry Association (CBIA)

Most of the flooring contractors who are members of these associations or have earned certification from them typically know more than their competitors and have more access to resources specific to the business, like better insurance policies and educational opportunities. These contractors must adhere to a rigid code of conduct when providing their services and are held to high professional standards by their respective organizations. This gives you an additional option for dispute resolution if the task is not finished to your satisfaction, in addition to assuring you that your floor installation job will be done correctly.

Before accepting any accreditation claims or participation in trade groups made by flooring contractors, it is crucial to confirm them to avoid dealing with fraudulent characters or imposters. Always request evidence of this, then confirm it with the relevant institution.

How Much Do You Charge for Floor Repairs?

Given the daily leg traffic on it, you should anticipate that your floor will eventually wear out. However, certain situations and conditions, in particular, might seriously harm your flooring. These consist of:

  • erroneous installation
  • incorrect or inadequate upkeep and attention
  • scratches caused by pets' sharp nails and other comparable objects
  • mud and litter from foot traffic

One or more of the significant floor cross-sections listed below may be impacted, depending on the type and severity of the issue:

  • Floor Surface: The floor's surface is the area that receives the most traffic, and dents, scratches, inappropriate cleaning techniques, and sun fading are the most common causes of damage to this area.
  • Subfloor: Subfloors are the materials positioned beneath the flooring to give support and create a smooth surface. Subfloor degradation is commonly brought on by water problems.
  • Joists: Under the subflooring are the joists, which support the floor's weight and the space above it. Joists play a crucial role in the structural integrity of dwellings. Therefore, any damage to them needs to be addressed right away.

It will serve you well to ensure the flooring specialist you employ to repair your damaged floor has the required tools and adequate experience managing the particular type of floor damage in question. Before the flooring contractor starts the repair operation, you should estimate the cost of these repairs and come to an agreement on it.

The following are the price ranges for various floor repair services provided by qualified flooring contractors in San Francisco:

Estimates based on flooring material per square foot:

$2.50 - $4.50
$7 - $30
Engineered wood
$7 - $30
$7 - $15
$3 - $10
$3 - $9.50
$12 - $19
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Estimates based on the type of damage:

$110 - $1,150
Squeaky floors
$250 - $1,050
$270 - $770
$270 - $3,100
$270 - $3,100
Water damage
$1,500 - $5,600
Uneven floor
$2,200 - $20,100
Sagging/Sunken floor
$2,350 - $20,100
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Estimates based on repair solution:

Floorboard repair (per board)
$110 - $450
Flooring replacement (per square foot)
$5 - $75
Floor patching (per patch)
$260 - $1,600
Floor surface repair (per square foot)
$5 - $40
Subfloor repair (per room)
$270 - $1,600
Subfloor replacement (per square foot)
$5 - $17
Floor joist repair/replacement (per joist)
$570 - $2,650
Floor refinishing (per room)
$950 - $1,650
Floor leveling (per room)
$1,450 - $19,650
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Estimates based on floor location:

Bathroom (for 35 – 75 square foot floor)
$370 - $2,250
Mudroom (for 40 – 75 square foot floor)
$410 - $2,250
Kitchen (for 100 – 200 square foot floor)
$580 - $6,290
Foyer (for 100 – 200 square foot floor)
$650 - $6,350
Living room (for 300 – 400 square foot floor)
$1000 - $10,050
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Kind of Flooring Services Do You Offer in San Francisco?

A fundamental step in ensuring your flooring project is successful is learning what flooring projects a flooring contractor specializes in. San Franciscans have a variety of flooring options to choose from, with the following being the most popular:

  • Hardwood flooring: This is frequently seen as beautiful, enduring, and simple to maintain. San Francisco offers a variety of hardwood flooring options, including solid hardwood, engineered hardwood, finished hardwood, and unfinished hardwood. A critical drawback of hardwood flooring is that it is susceptible to scratches, especially from animals.
  • A range of woods, including common species like cherry, maple, oak, ash, walnut, mahogany, and bamboo, as well as uncommon species like teak, mesquite, and jarrah, are used to make hardwood flooring.
  • Laminate Flooring: Laminate flooring is a far less expensive option for homeowners who want their floors to have the same aesthetic appeal as hardwood or tile flooring. Compared to hardwood, this type of flooring is more resistant to scratches from pets and furniture. However, laminate flooring could be harmed by moisture.
  • Carpet Flooring: There are two main varieties of carpet flooring: carpet made of natural fibers and carpet made of synthetic fibers. Carpet made of natural fibers is more environmentally friendly than carpet made of synthetic fibers. They are more expensive, more harder to clean, and less stain-resistant.
  • Vinyl Flooring: Vinyl flooring is popular in places like kitchens and bathrooms because it resists damage from moisture and spills. These floorings are cheap, highly durable, and need minimal maintenance, but they are also incredibly challenging to repair. The three primary varieties of vinyl flooring are sheet vinyl, luxury vinyl planks, and luxury vinyl tiles.
  • Tile Flooring: Alternatives in this category include ceramic, porcelain, and engineered tiles. Since tiles must be laid uniformly on entirely level surfaces, with few to no faults, tile flooring installation demands a lot of specialized skill.

You will gain a lot by ensuring that the flooring expert you hire has the skills to install your preferred flooring correctly. If necessary, you should confirm the contractor's degree of skill in each of these services because San Francisco flooring firms offer flooring removal, repair, and maintenance services in addition to new installs. The following price ranges apply to basic flooring services in San Francisco:

Laminate floor installation (per square foot, for mid-grade laminate)
$5.97 - $6.91
Laminate floor installation (per square foot, for solid-based epoxy)
$4.35 - $6.70
Vinyl floor installation (per square foot, for mid-grade tile)
$4.31 - $5.47
Linoleum floor installation (per square foot, for mid-grade tile)
$5.88 - $7.11
Wood flooring installation (per square foot, for mid-grade solid hardwood)
$9.02 - $12.66
Wood floor refinishing (per square foot)
$4.64 - $5.64
Ceramic tile installation (per square foot, for mid-grade tile)
$8.61 - $10.98
Tile and grout cleaning (per square foot, for cleaning and sealing)
$1.67 - $2.77
Tile removal (per square foot)
$4.07 - $5.40
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Do You Refinish Hardwood Floors?

Refinishing your home's antique hardwood floors is an affordable method to update them while preserving their original charm. Remember that "floor refinishing" and "floor resurfacing" are two different processes, even though many homeowners frequently mistake them for one another. Your hardwood floors' top surface will be sanded down and given a brand-new coat of stain and lacquer during the floor refinishing procedure. On the other hand, resurfacing a floor calls for the removal of old floorboards, the grinding down of any that are uneven, and the substitution of any old nails with new ones, all of which involve additional work.

In San Francisco, floor refinishing typically costs between $5.38 and $6.54 per square foot. The project's complexity and the floor's size that needs to be refinished will determine the precise cost of carrying out this procedure. Although you can refinish or resurface your floors yourself, it is usually in your best interest to let a skilled flooring professional handle this. This method is more dependable for guaranteeing that the work is done correctly. Professional flooring installers in the city typically advise that you refinish your floors four to six times throughout the course of your floors' lifespan or every seven to ten years. However, you should consider refinishing your floors if you notice any of the following:

  • It has significant dents and scuffs.
  • It is broken up.
  • It is deteriorating and vanishing.
  • It is stained with water stains or other difficult-to-clean stains.
  • Its edges are descendingly curving.
  • The flooring is stained.

Please keep in mind that there are several circumstances in which you may need to replace your hardwood floorings, such as the following:

  • It has apparent dents and scuffs.
  • The flooring makes squeaking or moving noises.
  • The wood has an evident defect.
  • There are protruding nails and water damage.
  • They've already undergone a number of finishes

Do You Offer a Warranty for Floors Installed?

Find out what kinds of warranties your chosen flooring contractors offer before making your hiring selection to prepare for installing new floors. Professional floor installers frequently provide customers with two different kinds of warranties, namely:

  • Manufacturer's Warranty: This warranty covers the flooring. The type of flooring and the manufacturer will have a significant impact on the length of this warranty, while many manufacturer's warranties typically have average coverage periods of
    • Carpet: Typically covered for 10 to 20 years.
    • Hardwood: Typically preserved for at least 25 years.
    • Vinyl: Typically covered for fifteen to twenty years.
    • Laminate: Usually covered ten to thirty years,

It is vital to remember that these warranties usually don't apply to anybody else outside the product's initial retail buyer and are usually non-transferable. However, if the new owner takes possession of the property within a specific timeframe, which typically starts after the flooring product has been substantially installed, some manufacturer warranties may be transferred from the original owner to a subsequent owner of the house where the product is installed. These warranties frequently only cover products placed for commercial usage for a short period of time.

  • Warranty for Installation: The contractor's installation work is covered by this warranty. Most reliable flooring experts provide one-year installation warranties, but some might even provide longer guarantees.

Before finalizing the employment of your desired flooring contractor, always ask about the kinds of warranties you will be given as well as their precise extent and coverage. Remember that certain behaviors violate your warranty. Such behaviors consist of:

  • A faulty or incomplete installation
  • Damages resulting from work performed by an unlicensed flooring contractor
  • Damage brought on by carelessness or negligence,
  • Natural disaster losses and injuries brought on by incorrect use of the flooring material

Will You Handle Clean-up after the Flooring Installation?

Particularly for installations performed in commercial settings, which are occasionally larger than residential areas, flooring installation procedures can frequently be filthy and produce significant garbage. Because of this, you should always confirm and make sure that your service agreement states who will be responsible for post-installation cleanup when hiring flooring contractors in San Francisco. Remember that part of the cleanup after installation should include thoroughly cleaning the flooring before use.

Listed below are tips for the proper cleaning and maintenance of different types of newly installed floors in San Francisco:

Flooring material Do's Don'ts
  • Wipe off spills promptly.
  • Dust and wipe regularly.
  • Use soft mops.
  • Use the cleaning agents and polishes that the manufacturer has advised.
  • Always use wood-specific floor cleaners.
  • Use soft-bristle brooms.
  • Never use wet mops.
  • Never wash floors with water.
  • Do not vacuum with a beater bar.
  • Do not use stiff brooms for sweeping.
  • Do not steam-clean the floor
  • Use glides or floor protectors on the bottom of furniture to shield it from dings and scrapes.
  • Clean up dirt and grime by vacuuming or dust sweeping. Periodically mop the floor with a damp cloth, and always wipe it dry with a fresh cloth.
  • Do not use soap-based detergents for cleaning.
  • Do not use abrasive cleaners, scouring powder, or steel wool.
  • Do not drag furniture on the floor.
  • Do not flood the floor with water or cleaner.
  • Never refinish or sand your floor.
  • Sweep and vacuum frequently.
  • To eliminate tenacious dirt, mop with clean, warm water and then thoroughly rinse with new water.
  • Always use cleaners recommended by the product manufacturer.
  • Do not use a vacuum with a beater bar.
  • Do not use abrasive cleaners, detergents, or "mop and shine" products
  • Clean spills as quickly as possible to avoid stained grout.
  • Always take care to prevent leaving scratches and cracks on the floor when lifting large goods.
  • To reduce scratching, place protection on the legs of furniture and tables.
  • To increase the longevity of the floor after installation, think about caulking and sealing.
  • Never use scouring powder, steel wool, or any other abrasives that can scratch the tile's finish.
  • Do not use bleach or ammonia-based cleaners.

Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Flooring Contractors in San Francisco?

If you select an uninsured flooring contractor, you are now liable for any potential harm or injuries that may occur during your flooring project. 4,764 fatal work injuries were reported in 2020, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, with 463 of those injuries occurring in the State of California.

You should always confirm that the flooring contractor you choose has liability insurance, even though San Francisco does not have any laws requiring them to. It should be noted that California law requires all contractors who provide home remodeling services to tell you if they are protected by commercial general liability insurance. These people must also acquire workers' compensation insurance for any employees they may have and $15,000 surety bonds.

Ask to see copies of your flooring contractor's insurance and bonding certificates, then check to see if they are still valid with the appropriate authorities. To find out more about the mandatory bonding and insurance requirements for flooring contractors in San Francisco, contact the California Contractors State License Board at (800) 321-2752.

How to File a Complaint Against a Flooring Contractor in San Francisco

Both the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) and the San Francisco District Attorney accept complaints regarding questionable flooring contractors in San Francisco. By accepting complaints, pursuing legal proceedings that serve the public interest, and warning people about potential fraud, these organizations aim to protect San Francisco consumers.

According to an article published in 2016 by SFGate, a man who claimed to be a licensed contractor stole $110,000 from a family over the course of a year in San Francisco's Inner Richmond before being charged with felony grand larceny. The contractor was arrested and charged following an investigation by the California Contractor State Licensing Board. Dishonest flooring contractors may trick unwary homeowners into paying more than necessary by employing more expensive flooring materials and overestimating the amount of space that needs flooring.

When looking for a flooring contractor in San Francisco, you can guard against potential home improvement fraud by doing the following:

  • Never rely on verbal assurances. Make sure the contractor gives you a thorough, written contract.
  • Avoid unsolicited contractors
  • Before hiring contractors, check their licenses.
  • Get many price estimates for your flooring job and compare them.
  • Never put down more than $1,000 or 10% of the total contract amount as a deposit (whichever is less).
  • Use a credit card instead of cash to avoid potential problems with payment disputes.
  • Ask your friends, credible home improvement experts, and reliable internet directories like the Better Business Bureau, the National Wood Flooring Association, and the CSLB's Find My Licensed Contractor platform for referrals of flooring contractors.
  • If a contractor can't give you up to three confirmed local references, don't hire them.

Even if you follow these instructions, it's still conceivable that you'll run into a scam. If this happens, you can take legal action against the dishonest contractor by submitting a construction complaint to the CSLB.

You can also report cases of fraudulent flooring contractors and businesses to the San Francisco District Attorney online.

You can take additional action against the disputed contractor by bringing a lawsuit against them in the San Francisco Superior Court. But always keep in mind to consult a skilled attorney for legal counsel before acting.