I've found the wood (Medallion Hardwood, 3/4 inch, oak plank) now it's time to pick the installer.
My friend recommended an independent contractor (custom home builder) who did many jobs in her home, including flooring. She was very happy. He will install for 2.25 square foot with extra charge for moving furniture and putting hardwood where there's vinyl flooring. The area flooring stores will install for 2.00 square foot.
The contractor has visited my home and already noticed potential problem areas. Unlike other areas of the home, the family room is not above the basement and, according to him, not vented properly. He also suspects no insulation under it, but says he'll have to check that.
These are things that I believe a flooring store might miss. However, with a flooring store you have recourse if you're not satisfied with the installation or there are problems later.
Any ideas on whether the benefits of having a custom home builder do the work out weigh the security of having a retailer do it?