In the past year, I have seen an increased demand in our local Hillsboro area for installers. Specifically for installers with the knowledge and equipment to install, sand, and finish a hardwood floor. Similarly, there seems to be a lack of local people to refinished older wood floors. In part, I believe that this local lack can be blamed on the cost of equipment needed for the job, alternative styles of flooring that are very popular right now, and just a plain old lack of workers.
It is understandable why younger installers who are just getting started would not have the resources available to invest in the proper pieces of equipment needed to efficiently install, sand, and finish a hardwood floor. There is a large upfront cost for work that can be very tedious, sporadically needed in our small town area, and can be very hard on the knees and back. In addition to this natural deterrent for young installers to get involved in the world of unfinished hardwood flooring, there are new competitor flooring options on the market that do not involve such a lengthy install process.
Vinyl plank flooring is one that has seen huge popularity in the last couple of years. It requires minimal equipment to install, goes together quickly, and is relatively low maintenance for the homeowner. However, as with all things, it has its down sides. It does not have the longevity of hardwood flooring. Unlike a piece of solid wood flooring that can be refinished with age and heave use, vinyl flooring does not hold up well to everyday wear and tear and can chip easily with use. It is simply a new fad that will be outdated in a few years. I think it will truly be the modern equivalent of linoleum "tile." Homeowners will be looking to replace it a few years after it is put in.
Finally, it is difficult to find good installers simply because of the lack of people who are willing to do the work. This is an issue that is most certainly not isolated to installation. Almost every part of the work force in our local area is desperate for good help. There are hiring signs in many of the local businesses, and it is a problem that is only escalating with the long-term effect of the events of the past couple years.
Despite this lack of trustworthy installers, there are still a handful of people in our local area that we often recommend to questioning locals. These few installers are typically booked out months in advance, and travel many miles to fill the needs of our rural area. We should be thankful for the group of people willing to do this work, and be hopeful that a new generation will want to learn this somewhat dying art.