One of the easiest ways to dress up your home is to get rid of old worn out carpet or flooring, and replace it with laminate wood flooring. Even in a modest home, it can really enhance the value and give a room that “wow factor.” In the past, this type of flooring looked cheap and obvious, but the current selections that are available are not your father’s laminate flooring. They will hold up as well as any hardwood floor, are difficult to dent, and resist scratches and stains very well. They are also easy to take care of as long as you use some common sense.
If members of your family fight allergies or have breathing problems, this can also improve your overall health. Carpets can trap allergens, mites, and other things that can exasperate your allergies or breathing problems. Laying down laminate wood floor can make a marked improvement in how you feel over time.
The key is not to allow a project like this to intimidate you. If you take your time and use common sense, anyone from 16-80 can do this project, and you will have a room to be proud of.
· 20 – ¼” spacers (can be found in laminate flooring section)
· Rubber block (can be found in laminate flooring section)
· Plastic tipped hammer
· Jigsaw or other saw
· Tape measure
· Straight edge
It seems simple, but it is necessary to get out your tape measure and take some measurements. Don’t just estimate or guess. The first step is to measure the square footage of the room. Measure the width by the length and multiply in order to figure out how much flooring we will need. Once you have this number, add 10% to this number, as you must account for waste.
Most laminate flooring is sold in 25-30 square foot bundles, and this number will tell you how many bundles you will need to buy. You will also need to purchase the same amount of square footage in a pad to be placed under the flooring as it floats. Once you have that, it’s time to get started.
The first step is to remove all the bottom trim from the wall. If you don’t do this, the edges of the flooring will be visible and not seal correctly. If you want to use the trim again, be careful during the removal process.
The next step depends on the type of flooring you have. If you have the stick down flooring or flat laminate, you can lay the flooring on top of it, although personally I would remove it to get down to the subfloor. If you have carpet, pull up all the carpet and padding. Go over the floor carefully in order to ensure that all the carpet staples, nails, and stretcher boards on the floor. This can damage the new floor, or at the very least, not allow the flooring to lay down properly.
Laying The Floor
Now is the fun part we have been waiting for. It’s time to lay the floor. The first step is to first lay down the under pad across the entire floor. The rolls will be about three feet wide, and typically come in fifty or one hundred square foot rolls. Join the seams with duct tape. This will help as a vapor barrier and sound dampener, and it will also make the floor more comfortable to stand and walk on.
When laying the floor, unless the room is square, it is very important to lay the flooring lengthwise in the room. If you lay the wood across the room, it will make the room appear to be smaller and will appear odd. Laying the flooring lengthwise will actually make the room appear larger and more open.
The flooring typically comes in tongue-and-groove sections roughly eight inches by four feet. It will appear that the sections are covered in two to three inch wide slats, just like a standard wood floor.
To begin, put your spacers against the wall, and lay your first section flat on the floor against the spacers. The spacers are necessary to allow the floor to breath. Don’t worry about the exposed edge. We will take care of that later. Continue to lay the rest of the first row, using the tongue and groove to snap them together, tapping them together with the rubber block and hammer if necessary. Cut the last piece in the row to fit, allowing for your quarter inch spacer. When you begin the next row, either use the leftover piece from the first row, or cut a piece in half. Never allow the ends to finish in the same place on consecutive rows, or you create weak spots and take away from the appearance. Continue to work your way across the room, using the tongue and grooves to snap the pieces together.
Once you are done, remove all of your spacers, and the reattach the trim. Now, get yourself an iced tea, sit down, and enjoy your beautiful new floor. This job can easily be completed in a single day, and you can do this. But, if you don’t have the time or feel the job is too big for you, and if you are in the San Antonio or Houston Texas area, give ACT Services a call. We will be more than happy to put our decades of experience to work on this or any other home remodeling project that you may have.