Laminate Flooring

Installing laminate flooring was our first major DIY project.  Up to this point in time, we had learned our way around a hammer and drill but had never attempted to tackle anything major.  And so began our DIY journey!  With so many choices available, Amanda and I were back and forth on the quality of flooring to choose.  Based on the fact that our kids and dog are messy and destructive, we decided to look for something inexpensive yet nice looking.  We purchased the laminate flooring from Lumber Liquidators for .67 cents a square foot!

Step one:  Let the wood acclimate.  The process of acclimating the wood allows the flooring to adjust to the temperature of your house.  A general rule of thumb is to allow 2 to 3 days of allowing the wood to sit in the room that it will be installed in.  Emma enjoyed this process as she was able to turn the multiple piles of flooring into a fun mountain climbing experience.

 

Step two: Clear the room of all furniture and remove the old flooring.  In our case we had carpet.  After the flooring has been removed you have the option of removing or keeping your existing baseboards.  We kept ours because A, it was a lot cheaper and B, we didn’t know any better.  If you keep your existing baseboards you can cover the gap between the floating floor and baseboards with quarter rounds.  Removing the baseboards is more expensive and time consuming but worth the look.  Once the new floor is installed, new baseboards go directly over the floor to create a flush, custom look.

Oldest daughter, Jocelyn pitching a hand
Oldest daughter, Jocelyn pitching a hand

Step three:  If you have carpet then the next step is to remove the carpet track and staples.  This is a long tedious process, but remember the end result is worth the effort!  We found the carpet track was easily removed with a wedge and a hammer.  The staples can be removed with a flat head screwdriver and/or pliers.  Good bye nasty carpet stains- reminiscent of our dog’s puppy days.

Step four:  Patch and level any uneven spots in the subfloor.  We used Dap Ready-Mixed Conrete Patch.

Step five: Lay underlayment.

Step six:  Remember that flooring you set aside?  It is finally ready to be installed!  Lay the first row using spacers between edge of wall and laminate.  Our first row went in great!  Whoo hoo, we thought we were going to be rolling after that…but we could not for the life of us get the second row to click in with the first row.  After several painful hours and many choice words we figured it out.  Click and lock flooring is connected at two different points (the length of the board and the width of the board).  In order to connect the click and lock to the previous rows you need to FIRST hold the board at a 45 degree angle and install the length of the board.  If installed properly the board will lay flat.  After this joint is installed use a rubber mallet and block to knock the board backwards so it slides overtop of the previously installed laminate.  This will successfully lock the flooring in both joints.  Whew!  Okay, now we rolled.

Laminate Flooring

Step seven:  Install quarter rounds/baseboards.

Step eight:  Enjoy your hard work and effort!

Before

Before

After

We used a circular saw to make the cuts for this room.  It was not easy…especially when ripping the wood.  After finishing this install we broke down and purchased an entry level flooring saw by Skil that works wonderfully.  We found this tool to make the rest of the job much easier (and probably safer too).  It can rip, make cross cuts, and miter cuts all for a responsible price of under $150.  At this point we have completed 4 separate laminate installations and the saw has more than paid for itself.

My name is Amanda and I love to write about my home and family. It’s a little chaotic here sometimes but it’s a beautiful kind of chaos, the kind where sticky little children giggle and scream and make fairy trails with glitter in the living room. I’m an RN, mother of three amazing girls, and the wife of the most hard working and loving husband, John. Follow the trail of glitter and sawdust and you might find us there.

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