UPDATE: You can read about what we think about our laminate floors 2 years later in THIS post.
When we moved in we were 98% sure we wanted to rip the carpet out.. .. . . . It took about 5 months for us to get around to ripping it out and around a week of frustration, sweat, blood, tears, and anger to get the new floor in. But it’s completed (minus the thresholds and baseboards)!!!
Here’s a shot of the before carpet:
We had about 860 square ft to install… It would have cost us around $1720 to hire somebody to install it .. We spent about about $300 on installation tools/material (we bought way to much of some stuff). In the end we are VERY happy that we installed it ourselves. We learned a lot, and would feel confident tackling another flooring project in the future.
We went with Country Manor, Black Maple made by the T&A Supply Company:
- Table Saw (Could have used a circular saw, but the table saw is easier)
- Caulk Gun
- X-acto Knife
- Tape Measure
- Tapping Block
- Pull Bar
- Rubber Mallet
- Jig Saw (We used our Miter Saw)
- Laminate Flooring
- Sheathing Tape
- Tongue & Groove Flooring Glue
- Floor Leveling compound (only if you need it)
Step 1: The Easy Part
Step 2: Floor Prep (The Worst)
- Pull up carpet staples (so terrible)
- Pull up carpet tack
- Use floor leveling compound anywhere needed
NOTE: We had read not to install vapor barriers over wood subfloor.. However, the directions on our flooring said since we have a crawl space that we needed to.. We called our flooring manufacturer and confirmed that we did indeed need to install the vapor barrier.
Step 3: Figure out of your room is square
Step 4: Make Spacers (don’t buy them)
Step 5: Trim the first row
You could do this with a jig saw or circular saw . . .. But the table saw made this soo much easier. This was actually our very FIRST time using our table saw!! Up until this point we’ve always made cutting tracks for our circular when we needed long straight cuts.
Step 6: Figure out your pattern
This was the beginning of our adventure up the STEEP learning curve. . . We started off thinking we’d go with full plank, half plank, full plank, half plank, etc… . . The guy who came and picked up the carpet from us (who happened to be a general contractor) . . Told us in a VERY nice way that that was a terrible idea, and told us his method which was starting the rows off 2/3, 1/3, Full, and repeat.
Step 7: Start laying floor down!
TIP: After pulling up our work a few times (because of gaps) JG remembered reading somewhere that using painters tape helped stabilize the board joints (to keep them from separating). We desperately started taping boards, as far as we could tell it worked… But it’s hard telling if it was the tape, or if it was us being more careful.
We had one more major hiccup before things started going smoothly (see below photos).. After we got about 1/2 way through the big open area (about 1/3 days work) we noticed a gap about 3 rows back… Not wanting to rip up 2-3 rows of hard work we decided we would try and hammer from the end of the row that had the gap. . DO NOT DO THIS!! Pounding from 1 end caused MORE gaps 5-6 rows back. . . . DEVASTATING!!! Instead of pulling up 2-3 rows we ended up pulling EVERYTHING we had put down that day. SO DEVASTATING. It was awful. We can honestly say this was the last HUGE frustration. It went rather well after this. When you see a gap, pull the row up. Don’t try and fix it by pounding from one end. It is NOT worth it.
Example of a terrible Gap:
After we were over the learning curve things went much faster, and became much easier.
We glued boards together anywhere that had potential of getting wet aka the door and the kitchen. We used this glue.
We used a miter saw and table saw for most of the cuts. The majority of the cuts were straight forward. Below is the toughest cut we made. It was terrible, and took us 3ish times to get right… Don’t judge.
The finished product: