Get Quotes from Top Flooring Contractors in San Jose, CA

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Flooring Contractor in San Jose

Seven in every 10 homeowners who get new or remodeled floors report feeling an increased sense of satisfaction and enjoyment. Besides the interior upgrade, professionally installed floors also have a 100% cost recovery rate and can increase property resale value. However, to avoid technical flooring issues, like inaccurate measurements and installation errors, and poor service delivery, you should ensure your preferred contractor is licensed, experienced, and can answer the following questions satisfactorily:

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

It is mandatory for contractors offering flooring services costing more than $500 in materials and labor to obtain a C-15 Flooring and Floor Covering contractor license from the Contractors State Licensing Board (CSLB). The CSLB regulates these contractors and ensures compliance with license eligibility requirements. Some of the requirements prospective applicants must comply with include:

  • Being at least 18 years old
  • Obtaining at least four full years of flooring experience within the last ten years, and this experience must be at the journeyman level.
  • Passing the relevant licensing examination
  • Providing a qualifying individual
  • Posting a bond
  • Satisfying insurance requirements
  • Paying applicable application fees.

Prospective applicants who satisfy these requirements can submit their applications to the CSLB. They can do this either online by mailing a filled-out application form to the mailing address on the form or by requesting an application form by mail and submitting the completed form by return mail. At the request of the CSLB, an applicant may need to forward supporting documents, such as evidence of work experience, insurance, and payment of the application fees to process the application. Interested persons can contact the CSLB at 800-321-CSLB (2752) for more information on this application process and related requirements.

Offering flooring services above $500 without a license is an offense that attracts serious penalties. First-time offenders risk a six-month jail term, a statutory $500 fine, or both. There may be added administrative fines, which range between $200 and $15,000. Subsequent offenses are punishable with a $4,500 fine or 20% of the project cost and at least a 90-day jail term. To confirm if your preferred contractor is licensed, you can utilize the CSLB License Check portal.

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

While it is crucial that your preferred contractor is licensed, it is equally important that this contractor is skilled. There are several indicators of a contractor's expertise and skill, but a credible indicator is association membership. In this regard, an example of a reputable association in the flooring industry is the National Wood Flooring Association.

These associations offer membership benefits that help improve their members' service delivery, knowledge of the job, and client satisfaction. Some of these benefits include training on specific tools, procedures, and styles, networking opportunities, connection with credible manufacturers, insurance discounts, and exposure to new regulations and best industry practices. Accordingly, members of these associations are likely more skilled, exposed, and versed than their non-member colleagues. Also, they are likely aware of better approaches to flooring needs, cost-efficient methods that meet client's expectations, and the right manufacturer for a proposed project. These associations also enforce specific professional standards of behavior to ensure their members do not bring them into disrepute.

As such, members tend to act professionally and not engage in practices calculated to cheat or defraud clients. In addition to these benefits, these associations typically have a report and disciplinary system that unsatisfied homeowners can utilize to report shady contractors. This way, you have an additional complaint mechanism if things go wrong.

Other credible flooring associations include:

  • The Northern California Flooring Association
  • The World Floor Covering Association
  • The Floor Covering Installation Contractors Association
  • The National Association of Floor Covering Technicians

However, ensure verification of any claims of association membership by requesting proof of such membership or contacting the relevant association for verification.

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

Different factors determine how much a flooring contractor may charge for their services. While the type of flooring project is a major factor, other factors include:

  • The size of the floor
  • The locality of the house
  • The flooring materials to be used
  • Labor and equipment considerations
  • The experience of the contractor

Flooring projects in San Jose can cost as much as $9,000. Besides taking note of these factors that may influence your project cost, it also helps to note the pricing structure of your preferred contractor. Pricing structures popularly used by flooring contractors in the San Jose area include the per square footage, per hour, and per project structures. Knowing this will assist you with keeping track of your total bill and avoiding overbilling.

The flooring project's cost can vary widely by contractor, especially when considering these different factors. Therefore, project owners are advised to compare estimates with at least three different contractors during the bidding stage for their projects. When you compare estimates, you find out the average cost for your project and can spot scams like overbilling or cost padding. It can also help you determine whether a contractor understands your desired service, as you get to see listed materials, equipment, and labor costs.

The San Jose area flooring contractors earn an average of $77,540 annually. The list below shows the average hourly wages of San Jose flooring contractors compared with their colleagues in other parts of California and major cities in the United States:

San Jose Flooring Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Los Angeles Flooring Contractors Average Hourly Wage
San Francisco Flooring Contractors Average Hourly Wage
San Diego Flooring Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Santa Cruz Flooring Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Houston Flooring Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Phoenix Flooring Contractors Average Hourly Wage
New York City Flooring Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Pittsburgh Flooring Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Boston Flooring Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Much Do You Charge for Floor Repairs?

Flooring maintenance involves several considerations, including repainting, refinishing, replacement, or repair schedules. Repair schedules are typically one of the easier ways to ensure your floor's maintenance. These schedules may be occasional and depend on the extent of damage your building's flooring may have sustained. However, in certain instances, immediate repairs may be necessary, and such instances include:

  • Discolored wooden floorboards
  • Warped floors
  • Loose or disjointed floorboards
  • Shattered or broken flooring
  • There are several scratch marks from pets or dragging heavy objects
  • Squeaking floorboards

During these repairs, necessary fixes may be done across different flooring cross-sections. Some of these cross-sections include:

  • Floor Surface: This refers to the part of the floor covering other foundational parts, such as the subfloor and joists. It is the flooring exterior and also serves as a walking surface. Accordingly, the floor surface bears the brunt of walking traffic and requires more maintenance than other cross-sections. Project owners can use several materials for making a flooring surface, such as carpet, hardwood, and vinyl.
  • Sub-floor: This is usually beneath the floor surface but above the joists. Subfloors and the joist perform structural support roles for the floor surface. It serves as the base for installing a floor surface and helps it sustain traffic without caving.
  • Joist: This is the foundational part of a flooring system, especially for buildings with suspended parts, such as basement and storeyed buildings. Joists perform structural support functions largely by transferring a floor's weight load across installed support beams. The arrangement of these beams differs by building type and flooring material.

Before hiring a contractor for your flooring repairs, you should confirm how much they charge for the kind of repair service you need and which flooring cross-section may be worked on. This will help to guard against strange charges, as you know the rate you are paying and what you are paying for.

Note that many factors, such as the flooring material, affected cross-sections, and the extent of the damage, typically influence repair costs. Nevertheless, below are some cost estimates for certain flooring repairs in San Jose to help with your budgeting:

Estimates based on flooring material per square foot:

$3.5 - $8
$5 - $12
$1.5 - $4
$2 - $5
$3 - $7.5
$9 - $12
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Estimates based on damage per square foot:

Warped floors
$2.5 - $6.5
Sunken floors
$5 - $9
$3 - $7
Buckling floors
$4 - $20
Water damage
$2 - $8
Uneven floors
$5 - $10
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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

One way to gauge your preferred contractor's competence is by confirming their area of expertise. Flooring services are wide-ranging, and some flooring contractors prefer to specialize in offering a service type. Areas of specialty in the flooring industry include floor installations, maintenance, replacements, removal, and repairs. Similarly, some contractors are only familiar with specific types of flooring materials. Flooring materials you are likely to find in the San Jose area include:

  • Carpet: Known for its pattern, design, and color varieties, the carpet material is typically made of woven natural or synthetic fiber. The fiber type of the carpet material determines its utility to an extent. For example, natural fiber is softer and more comfortable than synthetic fiber, while some synthetic fibers are more durable. The carpet material is also popular for its sound absorption and slip-resistance. However, this material type holds moisture and dust, making it difficult to clean and requiring constant maintenance.
  • Vinyl: The popular variants of vinyl flooring are vinyl tile flooring, sheet vinyl, and vinyl plank flooring. This material is synthetic and offers the elegance of other flooring material types but at a cheaper cost. It is easy to maintain, water-resistant, and easy to install. However, it is not recyclable and has a relatively short lifespan.
  • Hardwood: The hardwood flooring material offers a classic and elegant look while also being durable and low maintenance. Homeowners who prefer this material type also have varieties to choose from, including finished, engineered, and solid hardwood, depending on their aesthetic preferences and flooring needs. However, the disadvantages of this flooring material include its expensive costs and how it is easily damaged by scratches and moisture.
  • Laminate: Although affordable, low-maintenance, and easy to install, laminate flooring is easily damaged by moisture, cannot be refinished, and is not recyclable. Nonetheless, they are aesthetically appealing and a good option for areas in your home with less traffic.
  • Tile: This is another flooring material known for water resistance, durability, and design versatility. While available in several designs, tile flooring has two main types: porcelain and ceramic. Each type further has unique features. For example, ceramic tiles have more design options, while porcelain tiles are more durable. Nonetheless, the tile material is generally affordable and aesthetically pleasing. The downsides of this flooring material include that it is relatively susceptible to cracks and may have gout issues.

Essentially, you have to consider several things when determining how competent your contractor is for your flooring project, such as the contractor's area of specialization and whether they are familiar with your preferred flooring material. Consumer platforms like Yelp and Better Business Bureau are helpful, as you can check reviews from those who have previously engaged your contractor. You can also check out your contractor's previous projects.

Besides confirming your contractor's competence, you should also have a budget. Below are cost estimates for some flooring works in San Jose:

Porcelain tile flooring installation (per square foot)
$7 - $15
Carpet flooring installation (per square foot)
$5 - $10
Ceramic tile flooring installation (per square foot)
$8 - $12
Tile removal (per square foot)
$3.5 - $6
Carpet flooring removal (per square foot)
$0.35 - $0.95
Laminate flooring installation (per square foot, for labor and mid-grade laminate material)
$6 - $8
Vinyl flooring installation (per square foot, for labor and mid-grade tiling material)
$4 - $7
Hardwood flooring installation (per square foot)
$6.5 - $10
Hardwood floor refinishing (per square foot)
$4.5 - $6
Linoleum flooring installation (per square foot)
$5.5 - $7.5
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Do You Refinish Hardwood Floors?

Refinishing your hardwood floors is one of the many to maintain them. It involves sanding down the floor surface, cleaning any dirt or debris, and applying your preferred stain and lacquer. While refinishing may be labor-intensive and involve refurbishing the floor, it is not a total makeover. A total flooring makeover refers to floor resurfacing, which is more labor-intensive and extends beyond the floor's surface. Floor resurfacing may also involve fixing structural issues and extensive flooring damage.

There are different situations when refinishing and resurfacing hardwood floors are each appropriate. Situations when refinishing is a better maintenance option include the following:

  • There are splinters on the floorboards
  • The floorboards have a poor appearance, either due to discoloration or color fading
  • There are scratch marks or lines across the floor
  • There are stains on the floorboards.

Instances when resurfacing is a better maintenance option typically have to do with when the floor is in terrible condition or is an injury hazard. These situations include:

  • Unbalanced floorboards, especially in basement or storeyed buildings
  • Extensively damaged floorboards
  • When there is a trip or cut hazard, such as when the floor has nails that stick out
  • When there are structural defects.

Note that it is advisable to occasionally refinish your floorboards to reduce wear and tear and maintain their elegance. Ideally, you should refinish your floorboards once every seven years. However, be careful not to refinish them an excessive number of times, as this may affect their quality. Refinishing hardwood floors costs between $4.5 and $6 in San Jose.

Do You Offer a Warranty for Floors Installed?

Floor warranties are one added benefit to look out for before hiring a floor installer. It is an assurance that your flooring project will be done according to specifications and with standard flooring materials. Warranties are usually in writing and may either be in the work contract or a separate warranty document.

Types of warranties include manufacturer and installation warranties. Manufacturer warranties guarantee that the materials you purchase for your project are suitable and not defective. This warranty is usually between the manufacturer and the buyer of the material, which may not necessarily be the project owner. However, some manufacturer warranties are transferable, but make sure to confirm with the relevant manufacturer. In the event that the material under warranty is unsuitable for use, the warranty document typically contains remedies and options available to the warranty holder.

Likewise, an installation warranty guarantees that the work to be done by the floor installer will conform to your specifications and meet professional standards. This warranty typically covers problems that the floor installer is responsible for, such as misalignments or structural issues. Installation warranties are also between the floor installer and the project owner and are rarely transferable.

Warranties are available for a fixed period, which depends on the flooring material and the manufacturer or floor installer, as the case may be. While installation warranties mostly last for one year, the average time period for manufacturer warranties is:

  • Vinyl: 1 - 5 years
  • Tile: 1 - 15 years
  • Laminate: 5 - 10 years
  • Hardwood: 10 - 30 years
  • Carpet: 10 - 20 years

Note that specific actions or situations may void a warranty. While such actions or situations are typically stated in the warranty document, examples include:

  • Causing damage to the flooring by attempting to do DIY fixes
  • Damage from pets or careless conduct on the part of the project owner
  • Engaging the services of an unlicensed flooring contractor or not engaging the services of a manufacturer-certified contractor
  • Refusal to maintain the flooring.

Check your warranty document for specific actions and clarify any confusion with the relevant manufacturer or floor installer.

Will You Handle Clean-up after the Flooring Installation?

Flooring projects are known to produce a significant amount of dirt and debris. This is more likely in commercial spaces since such spaces are typically larger and may involve more materials and labor. Therefore, post-installation cleanup is essential when planning a flooring project.

Since specific cleaning equipment, expertise, and experience may be necessary for post-installation cleanups, flooring contractors sometimes handle the cleanup process, although they may charge separately. However, ensure to confirm this with your contractor and include this in the work agreement.

While post-installation cleanups are best left to professionals, you should ensure the subsequent cleaning and maintenance of the floor, especially if you have a warranty. You can do this by contracting a cleaning company or by yourself. If you choose the latter option, below are tips for properly cleaning and maintaining different types of newly installed floors in San Jose:

Flooring material Do's Don'ts
  • Wipe off spills promptly.
  • Dust and wipe regularly.
  • Use soft mops.
  • Use appropriate polishing material and cleaners recommended by the manufacturer.
  • 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 floor protectors or glides on the bottom of furniture to prevent scratches and abrasions.
  • Remove dirt and grime through dust mopping or vacuuming. Use a damp mop occasionally, and always wipe the floor dry with a clean 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.
  • Mop with clean, warm water to remove stubborn dirt, and rinse thoroughly with fresh 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 precautions when moving heavy objects across the floor to avoid scratches and cracks.
  • Cover furniture and table legs with protectors to minimize scratching.
  • Consider caulking and sealing the floor after installation to extend its lifespan.
  • 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 Jose?

Some of the licensing requirements flooring contractors in San Jose must satisfy are bond and insurance requirements. These contractors must file a $15,000 with the CSLB and have valid workers' compensation insurance if they have employees. Besides ensuring your contractor has complied with professional rules relating to their craft, hiring insured contractors is in your best interest, so you are not held financially liable if an injury occurs during your project. In 2021, 17,000 nonfatal injuries were reported among specialty trade contractors, which include flooring contractors. Therefore, the risk of injury during your project is something to factor into your plans.

While flooring contractors are required to post a $15,000 bond and have workers' compensation insurance, they are not generally required to have general liability insurance. However, looking out for contractors with general liability insurance is advisable, as it covers damage and injuries to property and third parties.

An effective way to verify if your contractor is insured is by asking them to provide proof of insurance. You should take this a step further and confirm with the relevant insurance provider.

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

Complaints regarding a flooring contractor can be filed with different agencies at either the state or city level. Some of these agencies include the Contractor State Licensing Board (CSLB) and the Santa Clara District Attorney's Consumer Protection Department.

Generally, residents in San Jose are advised to be vigilant and conduct due diligence before hiring anyone for their home improvement needs. This is due to increasing home improvement scam reports and the enormous amounts involved in these scams. In late 2018, a couple running a home improvement business was arrested after reportedly taking over $800,000 from homeowners and using the monies for personal gratification without doing their jobs. The CSLB has always taken cases of unlicensed or fraudulent contracting seriously. In mid-2021, a CSLB county-wide sweep in the Santa Clara County area resulted in over 70 arrests, especially for unlicensed contracting and failure to have required insurance.

Taking certain steps as a project owner or resident is crucial to avoid these unscrupulous and unlicensed contractors. Helpful steps include:

  • Always verify your contractor's license
  • Hire only insured contractors
  • Compare estimates from at least three different contractors before choosing a contractor.
  • Never make full payment for the project until it is completed. Advisably, only pay a deposit of $1,000 or 10% of the project cost.
  • Confirm your preferred contractor's expertise and specialty. In this regard, you can request evidence of previous jobs or check websites like Yelp and Better Business Bureau.
  • Turn down unsolicited bids and do not hire door-to-door contractors
  • Do not make all your payments in cash; always get a receipt when you pay in cash. Use other payment options you can track, such as checks and bank transfers. Also, avoid contractors who insist on receiving payments only in cash
  • Have a record relating to the project, from payment records to estimates, bids, and the work contract.

If you end up hiring a deceptive or untrustworthy contractor that cheats you, you can report this contractor through any of the following ways:

  • By submitting a consumer complaint to the Santa Clara District Attorney's Consumer Protection Department. You can contact this Department at (408) 792-2880 for more inquiries on submitting this complaint.
  • By filing a construction complaint with the CSLB. The Board is reachable at 800-321-CSLB (2752) and addresses questions on filing this complaint.