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What’s The Difference Between A Flooring Contractor And A General Contractor?

flooring contractor

When researching home renovations, it can be difficult to understand your options if you’re unfamiliar with the jargon. What’s Pantone (they predict home colour trends)? What are your eco-friendly flooring choices? What’s the difference between a flooring contractor and a general contractor? 

As far as we are concerned, there is no such thing as a silly question. Knowledge is power. And it is understandable that this question would come up for homeowners trying to acquaint themselves with the renovation world! Couldn’t you just hire a general contractor to do all the work? The answer is yes, you could; however, flooring is not their specialty. So, if you want your new floors to look professionally installed and done in a timely manner, then read on as we outline the key differences between these renovation specialists: the flooring and the general contractor.

Define Flooring Contractor And General Contractor 

General Contractor (GC) A GC is the “jack of all trades” regarding renovations. GCs have all the mandatory accreditations, such as being licensed in Ontario and carrying liability insurance. The role of GC is to participate in the renovation project as a planner and orchestrator from start to finish. Not only are they involved in the conceptual process, but they can also do the required work or hire subcontractors when necessary.

Flooring Contractor (FC): An FC specializes in flooring installation. In the same way that a GC orchestrates all the components of a renovation, the FC does the same in flooring projects. In addition, reputable flooring contractors are also licensed and carry liability coverage. According to the Government of Canada, these are the requirements of a flooring contractor:

  • Completion of high school
  • Completion of a multi-year apprenticeship or four years of practical experience
  • Trade certification is optional in Ontario, so certified flooring contractors are a great way of whittling down your options
  • Red Seal endorsement (an exam) is optional but also a marker of a reputable FC


View unit group – Canada.ca (esdc.gc.ca)

When To Hire A Flooring Contractor

Not every renovation project would benefit from an FC. For instance, you wouldn’t hire a flooring contractor to drywall your bedroom, but you may want one to lay that expensive natural stone tile in your kitchen!

These are the instances and services flooring contractors offer that will inform your decision as to when you should consider hiring one:

  • Removal: If you have old or worn floors that need to be disposed of, this is a great reason to enlist the help of a flooring contractor.
  • Repair: If you have hardwood or any long-lasting flooring material that requires sanding and refinishing or some TLC so that it can last longer, this is an excellent reason to bring in a flooring professional.
  • Installation: Whether you need help deciding which flooring material to buy, laying it, or a combination of both, you’ll need a flooring contractor. This also includes adding tile backsplashes!

Benefits Of A Flooring Contractor

Aside from the greatest benefit of hiring a flooring contractor, which is that they help you with your flooring needs, there are other equally boastworthy reasons to hire an FC over a general contractor.

  • Product Warranties: First, flooring contractors are well-versed in correctly installing all flooring materials, as their knowledge is the key to upholding the flooring manufacturing warranty. For instance, if your floors are installed professionally and the flooring material unexpectedly wears or breaks without reason, you can contact the manufacturer for compensation. If this stands out to you, remember to check before you buy that the flooring material has such a warranty.
  • Advice: Flooring contractors live and breathe flooring. They can assist you if you have a question about flooring or the flooring process. This also applies to popular flooring trends; they can advise you which styles are traditional and will last forever or which are in style. They can also direct you to eco-friendly floors or help advise which material is best for your space. Lastly, many FCs offer free consultations. You can bring in a professional and get their opinion on anything related to a flooring project.
  • Installation Warranty: Reputable flooring contractors warranty their work. They are so confident in their experience that they will guarantee it. If you like the sounds of this, when you’re shopping around for a FC, ask if they offer a warranty and details.
  • They Specialize In Floors: Because it needs to be repeated, if you have a flooring project, the best person for the job is always the one most qualified to do it! Sure, a GC can get it done, but if their background is in plumbing, then certified or not, a flooring specialist is almost always better suited to do your floors. You wouldn’t go to the doctor for a toothache sure they can help, but it isn’t the same as going to the dentist who specializes in teeth!

Final Thoughts

We all have a profession or trade, whether a doctor, plumber, general contractor, or flooring contractor. And every profession has its own skillset. For instance, a GC is a “jack-of-all-trades,” meaning they dabble in anything to do with home renovations. Yet, they are unlikely to specialize in flooring (unless this is their original trade before becoming a GC), which means the better-suited profession to tackle your flooring needs is almost always a flooring contractor. 

Of course, an argument can be made that certain floorings require neither and can be done by a proficient DIYer, like laying sheet vinyl. The critical thing to note is knowing when to hire a flooring contractor. For instance, we strongly advise using a flooring contractor when installing exotic woods, natural stone, or other costly materials, as professional FC can install these floors correctly without damaging them.

Finally, if you’re ready to embark on a flooring project and are in the market for a flooring contractor, don’t forget to give us, the Brothers Flooring, a call today! We offer free consultations and are always happy to answer any flooring-related questions you may have!

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