Am I out of my league? :-) (Laminate Installation)


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Old 07-11-06, 02:53 PM
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Question Am I out of my league? :-) (Laminate Installation)

I'll try and make this concise. I'd appreciate any advice y'all could give me, as time is of the essence.

My wife and I have been talking about remodeling our kitchen for quite some time. She left today for a LONG vacation in Hawaii with her family, so I have roughly 30-35 days to complete this remodel as a surprise for her. I would like advice on whether you experts think this is doable.

The three things we want to do are:

1) Replace our white 8" Mexican tile kitchen floor (along with some attached family room carpeting) with laminate flooring.
2) Replace our white 4" tile countertop with granite or silestone.
3) Paint our walnut colored cabinets white.

I expect #2 is beyond me, so I will hire a professional. #3 is something I can do, but I'll post in the correct forum for that. Which leaves #1.

We've owned this home since it was built (12 years ago) and we picked out the tile flooring. So I've seen the underneath of it, but not since the day it was finished. I would need to replace approximately 400 sq. ft. of tile with laminate. I'm going to use the Costco Harmonics laminate that is on sale at Costco right now. I plan to lay it diagonally. I have done several woodworking and light construction projects, and consider myself moderately competent at this kind of thing, but no expert by any means. I have never dealt with flooring before.

My question is: do I have a chance in heck of taking on this project and finishing it myself in about 2-3 weeks of time?

Some weak points in my understanding of the tasks are:

- I have no idea how to remove the tile -- I imagine I just get hammer and chisel and begin chipping it out, right?

- Will it be reasonably smooth underneath, or will I need to shave it flat somehow? Is this a big task, if it must be done?

- How do I deal with the baseboards of the cabinetry? Same for the carpet (i.e., how do I edge the carpet to the laminate)?

- To lay diagonally, I assume I'll need to miter cut most of the laminate using my compound miter saw -- is there anything unusual about this material?

- Aside from following the instructions, using the "installation kit with padded role" and being careful, do I need to be unusually concerned with any other part of this project?

Thanks much!!!
bruce
 
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Old 07-11-06, 04:23 PM
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Welcome to the DIY forums

Laminate wood right?

First of all, I am not a pro but I have learned all I needed to know from the pros and other members here. I have installed laminate wood in my home.

Originally Posted by RemodelNovice
My question is: do I have a chance in heck of taking on this project and finishing it myself in about 2-3 weeks of time?
I believe you have a chance...it is possible but seriously unknown-about the 2-3 weeks time. Basically because when you get your laminate flooring, it will need to be acclimated in your home. You must follow the manufactures installation guidelines. A LOT of people mistakenly go by # of days, but keep in mind it is not the amount of days or a timing thing that the flooring acclimates to you home. Also, consider the time from when you order the laminate and when you get it. Read this previous thread:

This thread is from when I started doing my floors and knew absolutely nothing!

http://forum.doityourself.com/showth...od+acclimation

Originally Posted by RemodelNovice

Some weak points in my understanding of the tasks are:

- I have no idea how to remove the tile -- I imagine I just get hammer and chisel and begin chipping it out, right?
Yup. Is your subfloor concrete?

Originally Posted by RemodelNovice

- Will it be reasonably smooth underneath, or will I need to shave it flat somehow? Is this a big task, if it must be done?
Possibly, but most times not. As I have dealt with this before it was NOT smooth and you may have to sand it out or scrape or chisel or rent a tool (that would help a lot). It really is a pain in the butt to do...but very possible.

Originally Posted by RemodelNovice
- How do I deal with the baseboards of the cabinetry? Same for the carpet (i.e., how do I edge the carpet to the laminate)?
You can use quarter rounds in front of the baseboards.
What kind of carpet do you have?

Originally Posted by RemodelNovice
- To lay diagonally, I assume I'll need to miter cut most of the laminate using my compound miter saw -- is there anything unusual about this material?

- Aside from following the instructions, using the "installation kit with padded role" and being careful, do I need to be unusually concerned with any other part of this project?

Thanks much!!!
bruce
You can read this about diagonal cuts:

http://forum.doityourself.com/showth...=diagonal+cuts

I think you will just fine as long as you follow EXACTLY what the manufacture's instructions say. The most important part (not that any other part is not important though), be sure your acclimate correctly and make sure your subfloor is level. Read the directions/instructions over and over and over again. (I did). If you can get a video - that helps a lot. (It was cheesy and funny to watch but well worth it). Use this forum for all the help you need. Read as much as you can. Research. Anything you are concerned about search, read or ask.

You can use the search engine to find a lot of previous threads/posts about flooring.

Now that I think about it...I think it might take more than 3 weeks but then again...will you be working all day all night???

Check back on this thread as the pros will probably have some things to say.
 

Last edited by DIYaddict; 07-11-06 at 04:35 PM. Reason: more info
  #3  
Old 07-11-06, 04:35 PM
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I do on average 5 to 10 kitchen renovations a year, usually as part of larger jobs. I always try and talk my clients out of using real hardwood flooring in kitchens because the flooring gets beat to hell in front of the sink and in all high traffic areas. I would never use a laminate floor in a kitchen as this stuff is masonite with plastic on top. If you let any liquid onto this floor it will run between the boards and the flooring will fall apart. I'm not really big on using this stuff even in basements. It's draw is that it is cheap and easy to install. There is a reason that most kitchens have ceramic tile on the floor.
As far as your tops go, skip the silestone and go with granite. In a couple of jobs we did with silestone, the granite would have been cheaper and looks much better.
Anybody out there feel differently, let me know.
 
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Old 07-12-06, 10:18 AM
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Bruce,

Your success in meeting the timeline of 2-3 weeks is completely going to depend on the condition of the subfloor once you get the tile and carpet out. Laying down the laminte flooring goes fast and you will easily complete this in a matter of days....BUT...if the subfloor needs a lot of levelling it can take forever.

I put in laminate in 4 rooms in my house. Fixing the subfloor in one of the rooms took me 60+ hours. I had to screw down the existing subfloor to get rid of squeeks (hundreds of screws), level it (with roofing tar paper) and then put in an additional level of subfloor to make it level with the rest of the house. Once that was done I got all the laminate installed in about 3 days, not including t-moldings, end moldings around fireplace or baseboards. Dependind on how many corners, fireplaces etc you have in the room this can easily take another 4-5 days to complete....at least for a happy amateur like me.

Hope this helps.

Matt
 
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Old 07-12-06, 12:57 PM
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Thanks for the advice so far. I'm cautiously optimistic.

Interesting that one poster mentioned never using laminate in the kitchen. Is that a west-coast/east-coast thing? I see quite a few hardwood and laminate floors over here in San Diego. In fact, my in-laws put in Pergo about four years ago and it seems to have done very well. It was how successful that was in the kitchen that caused us to consider it here. Oh well.

To answer some questions:

- The subfloor is concrete. I haven't seen it since the house was built, but I know it's there. I suspect it's in pretty good shape, and pretty level. Some of that will depend on how much gook I have to remove after the tile gets lifted.

-The carpet is a plush shag (my terms), meaning that it's got a good thick pad and nice head on it.

- I do intend to follow the instructions exactly, and have already started the curing process. I took one pack out and laid it in the kitchen and it looks pretty nice.

Two new questions:

If I remove the tile -- which I assume is about 1/2" high -- and put down the laminate, won't that laminate be a bit lower overall in the kitchen?

Given that the kitchen is a potentially wet environment, is there anything I can do in the immediate vicinity of the sink that would improve my chances of not having any issues when water is accidently spilled?

thanks!
bruce
 
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Old 07-12-06, 01:27 PM
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Keep in mind there is absolutely nothing wrong with using laminate in the kitchen. (Or hardwood). It is just preferrably better I guess for ceramic. Just being the fact that ceramic can take a harder beating and if water were to spill on it you can leave it there for days (not that you would) and really not have a problem. With laminate as Craig 845 mentioned, water will seep through, but I assume you would be willing to wipe up spill immediately! Right? It's not that people don't put laminate or hardwood in kitchens...they do. A lot has to do with you maintaining your floor...as goes with any flooring material.

You MUST make sure your floor is level. Not, "pretty level, but level. That is very important.

You mentioned you took a pack out and laid it in the kitchen...do you mean just to see what it would look like? You may (if not already done so)...want to put all the laminate boxes in your kitchen to accumulate. (I bet it does look beautiful!)

Not familiar with harmonics but make sure you have the underlayment requirement.

You will always have an issue if water gets spilled unless you clean it up right after. I don't mean to the second but you know...water spills...you wipe it up. Don't let soaked rags or towels stay on the floor. I'm sure the manufacturer's have instructions on that and even for how to clean your floor (as you know w/laminate it is different than how you would clean ceramic).

About the laminate being a little lower than your existing tile...I'm not sure but what would be the concern about that? I think with the padding below and the laminate you should be fine.
 
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Old 07-12-06, 05:09 PM
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First of all....I'm not an expert on this so take my comments with a grain of salt

You said the subfloor is concrete....so I'm not sure the roofing felt method of levelling out the floor will work. Unfortunately you will probably have to use some type of self levelling mortar. I tried this first on my floor and I think I made it worse than what it originally was. Using felt was so much easier, faster and no messing around with mixing up the compound.

Also, since it's concrete subfloor with tile on now, I think it's safe to assume that you will end up with a very uneven surface. It might be overall level but not even.

I put laminate flooring through my whole kitchen and so far it's been great. I do make sure to wipe up any water spills immediately but I would do that on a tile floor as well so no real difference for me.

The instructions for my laminate said to caulk the expansion gap around the whole perimeter of the kitchen where spills could occur. I used the recomended caulking and sealed the whole perimeter. The instructions for you laminate should say what the recomendations are for your specific brand.
 
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Old 07-15-06, 10:46 AM
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Laminate is a great choice of flooring; I did my whole upstairs, including stairs. I am not familiar with the brand you have chosen to use, but if I where you, get some opinion on this particular brand before you buy it. Reason why am saying this, I used Pergo myself (almost the top of the line they sell), and it installed great, w/o any problems. Then not to long ago, I helped somebody installing a different product (like a no name brand sold by a store similar store where you are getting yours). It installed somewhat 'ok', but by far not the quality as what I used from Pergo. Since you are using it in the kitchen for only 400 Sq Ft, I would consider buying a good quality, especialy since kitchens are concidered high traffic areas. Take of the baseboards, and reinstall new ones when you have the floor in, the result is so much better, and makes install easier as well. Don't forget to undercut any doorjambs if necessary. Since you work on a concrete floor, you will need a moisture barrier, you can buy this at Lowe’s or HD. Laminate flooring is not difficult, but study it before you start, so you know what you are going to do. You will need a table saw preferably with an ~80 teeth blade. As far as the transition to other types of flooring (i.e. carpet), you can get special moldings which you can adapt to different heights, so I would be to concerend about the height of you tile vs the laminate. If you laminate doesn't have a foam underlayment (soundbarrier), buy one for it. Good luck!
 

Last edited by DIYaddict; 07-15-06 at 02:31 PM. Reason: Discussions should be kept in this forum to benefit everyone.
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Old 07-15-06, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Frenzy
you will need a moisture barrier, you can buy this at Lowe’s or HD.
Yes you can, but you should use the moisture barrier according to the manufacturer...not just any brand.

Originally Posted by Frenzy
You will need a table saw
You can use a miter saw and a jigsaw as well.

Originally Posted by Frenzy
If you laminate doesn't have a foam underlayment (soundbarrier), buy one for it.
I don't know if this would be necessary. Read the manufacturer's instructions and install as required and/or as desired.

Sorry Frenzy...I was just trying to "add" more information about what you said.
 
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Old 07-16-06, 03:36 PM
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Laminate flooring

Installing laminate diagonally will be a problem. How will you get a grip with the puller tool at the end of each course? This tool is made to be used on square ends.
 
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Old 07-17-06, 06:00 PM
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You are looking at a lot of pain getting the tile up. Get a good moisture/noise barrier to use underneath according to the manufacturer. Speaking of, I've use Pergo, Mohawk, and a second rate brand.
Take my advice and dont use the cut-rate stuff. a good bit of it will have chips on the edges straight out of the box,from rough handling, and cheap packaging. More will chip as you get the pieces snapped if you use the snap kind. I wasnt happy with this brand. It was called Top-lok, I think it came from a top rate german manufacturer, but this was their "B" grade stuff. I've used the glue-type and the snap-type. No problems with either, but the glue type can be messy.
If it was me putting it in my kitchen I would use the glue type which may help protect against seepage in a spill, but as everyone said " Make sure you wipe up the spills quickly".
Remember, Dont use the cheap stuff. Spend a nickel or dime more per foot and
get a quality brand. Go to a flooring warehouse place, they have good prices. Lowe's Or Home Depot will stick in in ya on the price. They charge double to triple what the warehouse charges just down the street here.
I was tempted to buy a brand from Sam's club once but I'm glad I didn't, a freind did and he said it was junk.
 
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Old 07-17-06, 08:36 PM
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Definately use the good stuff. You will end up throwing out alt of the chipped stuff.

I put laminate throughout the house and it is very durable. I put it in the laundry room, ended up taking it out of there when the machine spilled and caused the whole floor to "ruin".

Also did a bathroom and the water line for the toilet would "sweat" and the condensation ran down on to the floor and caused that floor to have to be replaced as well.

It is easy to work with though and looks good when done.
 
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Old 07-18-06, 10:49 AM
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most laminates can be laid over tile (and linoleum). see this thread.

read your manufacturer's specifications for acceptable subfloors. you might not have to remove your tile at all. only do it if it says it's acceptable, only use the recommended underlayment and do your prep work & installation exactly as specified. otherwise you'll void any & all warranties. check for flatness with a 6' straight edge. you'll want to remove all baseboards & reinstall last for the most professional appearance, undercut all door jambs & shorten any doors.

also, one of the pro's here recommends a solid vinyl plank (Amtico) that he says looks exactly like wood, for wet areas like kitchens & baths. see this thread for pictures. there's also another one called iCore, made specifically for wet areas. of course, they're going to be more expensive.

good luck & post back with your results!
 

Last edited by Annette; 07-18-06 at 11:16 AM.
 

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