WE HAVE FLOORS. We bought 12 boxes of click together, no bevel, 8″ plank laminate flooring and it installed really quickly and easily. We had exactly the right amount, with just a board and a bit of scrap left over. J and I make a good team and created very little waste and the install looks really good. Now to cover the edges with new baseboards and casings… I picked up some 8′ lengths of beveled door casing today, which we will then paint with the white gloss and install. Things are speeding right along!
We removed the temporary laminate I installed in the pantry and now it connects seamlessly with the hallway and office! Niiiiice.
I have self-installed a laminate floor a few times now and I’ve learned a few things that I’ll pass on.
- If you can’t decide between the cheap stuff and the more expensive, just go for the more expensive/higher quality. You’ll be glad you did. And don’t forget the underlay… this is a small extra cost that is essential; installing boards right onto a plywood substrate or concrete pad will be really noisy. Especially if you are in an apartment, the people below will hate you.
- Get the click-together kind. Glue down is tricky/aggravating to install properly.
- I, personally, would avoid the kind with a bevel on the boards. It creates a very tiny groove between each piece which looks ok until you sweep the floor, then it just fills with dirt!
- Avoid super dark colours. The floor I installed in my old loft was black and it ALWAYS looked dirty. So dirty. It also had a bevel, so when I swept all the dirt would get stuck in the groove, so I then had black boards with white/light coloured grit in the grooves. No good. Vacuuming makes this easier, but I prefer to sweep hard surfaces so it was a total pain.
- Measure twice and cut once. Seriously.
- Ensure all boards are snapped in properly. Maybe you’re near the end and you’ve put the last few boards in place and they aren’t quite as tight as possible, and you think “Whatever, I’m done now.” I guarantee the little gap will drive you mad later. Do your best work during the install, it can’t be fixed afterwards.
- Laminate flooring will be wrecked by water! Don’t put pet dishes down on it or large planters with drainage holes in the bottom. When wet the pressed backing of the board absorbs liquid and swells up, and this can’t be fixed without replacing the boards. If you have pets put their water dishes into a tray with a lip to catch spills, and cover any drainage holes in the bottoms of your planters with drip trays.
- Laminate floors can also be chipped if you drop something on them, damaging the laminate layer and exposing the substrate. You can try to colour match the chip with a marker or pencil, but it’s often still noticeable. I use rugs to protect the laminate floor in higher traffic areas… but let’s be honest I’m sure it will be covered in chips soon enough because I’m a total spazz.
- When calculating the amount you should measure your space accurately and then add 10% to the total square footage to account for mistakes or waste. I always add a little extra just to make sure… having too much laminate is ok, having not enough to finish a project is crappy! Even if you can get more of the same stuff, it is possible for it to be of a different batch and the colour can be slightly different. Always over-estimate.
- Don’t make the boards too tight to the walls, there should be a small gap of 1/4″ or so between the end of the board and the drywall. This will be covered by the baseboard (so don’t make it too big!) and allows space for the floor to expand and contract during different weather systems. When it is warm the boards tend to expand, and if they are tight tight tight against the walls you could end up with a buckle in the flooring which would just be silly.
- Edges that can’t be covered with baseboards (boards in door jambs, for example) can be filled carefully with caulking.
- Pretty sure that orienting the board lengths any specific direction will not make your room appear bigger or smaller, that’s just a myth 🙂 Just make it the same direction in all rooms; don’t change direction between the hallway and bedroom, for example. Same direction for the whole floor, wherever it goes. Putting the boards the “short way” in a hallway looks pretty dumb though, IMHO. Hallway boards should be long, and this often dictates the direction for the whole project.
^ look at this amazing man who does all these jobs without complaint and with plenty of enthusiasm 🙂 I’m glad we are both so project oriented and MOTIVATED to complete projects on the go! Makes a big difference!