DIY laminate floor

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  #1  
Old 03-04-16, 06:19 PM
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DIY laminate floor

Yea I know they sell the floating 'click and lock' laminate flooring as a DIY project, but unless you are doing a perfect, small, square room with one door, it's more of an Advanced DIY project!

I wonder how many people get drawn in by the simple DIY marketing some flooring stores use only to find themselves in over their heads?

I wonder how much time, care and detail some professional installers use on a job?

I've been a DIY'er my whole life but this floor installation was a challenge. Of course doing 1100 sq ft and a hallway with 7 doors and avoiding transition pieces between rooms added to the challenge.

Just hoping after all the work the flooring lasts until I'm ready to sell.

I could write a book after this DIY project and one chapter would be entitled 'Home Builder Shoddy Workmanship'

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  #2  
Old 03-05-16, 04:42 AM
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I know you have a question somewhere, but can't find it. Yeah, laminate has it's own challenges and going from room to room without transitions may bite you in the end due to expansion and contraction issues. Back laying in closets is also a challenge, since you can't reverse it like normal 3/4" flooring. Good luck with the install.
 
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Old 03-05-16, 05:53 AM
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Reminds me when I installed flooring for my kitchen remodel. I bought the floating laminate at a flooring store and asked them what it would cost to have it installed by them. The salesman talked me out of it saying it was a breeze to install and why spend the money? I can see why he did not want to send his guys out. It was a bear to install and my kitchen had many entrances and cutouts for cupboards at odd angles. Fortunately the wife and I did a super job of installing. Better than any professional would've done. When I look back at my kitchen remodel the toughest part of the job was scrapping the ceiling of that popcorn and laying the floor. All the other work including electrical, plumbing, carpentry and installing cupboards was breezed by comparison.
 
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Old 03-05-16, 06:21 AM
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I've only installed laminate flooring once and thought it was pretty DIY friendly. What kind of problems are you having?

The floor held up for 10 years until we did a gut remodel of our kitchen. One thing I suggest is an accurate adjustable protractor and a lightweight miter saw.
 
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Old 03-05-16, 06:38 AM
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To add to cw's comments. Use light weight cardboard cutouts as templates to test fit cutting around corners and doorways.
 
  #6  
Old 03-05-16, 05:31 PM
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Where is the darn quote feature in this forum??

Starting from the top, chandler, if you think of your question let me know. I know the feeling. I left plenty of expansion gap all over hoping this would prevent issues with not using transitions. Time will tell I guess. The house doesn't see big swings in humidity or temps so hopefully it won't bite me. I called tech support and while they couldn't officially okay it, the gentleman said he has done it many times with no issues. If it is a problem, I'll just add another chapter to my book!

Yea closets are fun but I also worked 'backwards' in one room with no problems. Also found going from right to left worked much better than the instructions of left to right. You can get the ends of the boards closer going right to left. Makes a big difference when you get to the wall. Not sure why the instructions say left to right and again tech support didn't either.

Norm201, I agree with you 100%. Did all the electrical, plumbing, etc too in this remodel and the floor was the biggest challenge. Used cardboard templates too.

No 'problems' per se just lots of work and planning to get things to fit and look nice. Like Norm said, my floor is turning out great and most likely much better than most 'professional' installers. We discovered 7 different patterns of laminate so we took care to make sure they were installed randomly without having the same pattern side by side.

Well I guess there were two problems, one was a terrible subfloor that almost made me give up and go with vinyl and carpet and another was a defect in some of the flooring.

I started installing one evening and when I looked at the floor in the morning, I saw a board with a 'flat' finish as opposed to the normal satin finish. It was about 3 rows in so up came 3 rows in order to replace the board. Knowing we had some defective product, we had to screen all of the boards in the daylight and found about 15% of the order defective. Still working with LL to resolve the issue.

Regarding the subfloor, you never know how crappy a house is build until you dig into it. I now call the project 'putting lipstick on a pig'
 
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Old 03-05-16, 09:40 PM
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...you never know how crappy a house is build until you dig into it.
Ain't that the truth! pofepgoma[-g0
 
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Old 03-06-16, 02:55 AM
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Where is the darn quote feature in this forum?
On the bar above where you type your post on the far left is a 'square' cloud - click on it to get the quote feature.
 
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Old 03-06-16, 04:22 AM
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My advice to friends who want to install their own laminate is - If you have trouble getting the boards to engage and have to use a tapping block, you are doing something wrong. Common issues include junk in the groove or a deformed section of tongue that prevents engagement. Also, a slight bow over the 4 foot length of board prevents a clean click lock. Not having a solid secure starter strip also causes headaches. I haven't used a tapping block since my very first install. I found they did more damage than good. With proper technique, laminate is probably the easiest floor to put in.

Other tips to lessen headaches:

-Always remove baseboard molding - makes it easier to supply expansion gap.
-Use shoe molding instead of quarter round for a cleaner finished look (stain to match floor).
-Under cut your door casing and door jambs
-Cut the lock part of the groove off and glue the final tongue on tricky finish rows or to provide extra strength at transition thresholds. Use a engineered wood floor glue, not elmers.
-Avoid tile look laminate as there is a substantial amount of waste compared to wood look. Wood look allows you to use your scrap at the end of one row as the starter for the next row. Tile look you have to match grout lines and therefore have substantial waste.
-Use a fresh blade on your saw as laminate will dull your blade by the end of the floor.
-Working in the recommended direction (left to right) is always easier.
 
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Old 03-06-16, 06:04 AM
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Newer quality flooring doesn't use the click lock on the ends of the boards, thus the left to right installation. The ends just lay over each other and the next run locks it all in place. Older, cheaper laminate has the click feature which is a pita. I didn't have a question, I was just trying to find what your question was in your original post. Didn't see one.
 
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Old 03-06-16, 06:06 AM
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On the bar above where you type your post on the far left is a 'square' cloud - click on it to get the quote feature.
Hmmm. I'm not new at the forum stuff but I sure don't see that 'square' cloud. Maybe I need to change something in the general settings?

I see the 'small and large A' on the far left to switch the editor setting.

There isn't a minimum number of posts I need before I can quote is it?

Great tips czizzi.

I used them all except the 'left to right' Going right to left, the tongue on the end of the board being installed can come down over the tongue of the installed board then tapped in (the gap can be 1/4".) The other direction, the gap has to be 1/2" to allow the tongue to pass by the tongue of the installed board. Kind of difficult to explain but obvious once you do it.

Makes a difference at the last board in the row when you need the 1/2" gap and room for the puller tool. Makes for a rather large expansion gap.
 
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Old 03-06-16, 06:12 AM
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As far as I know there isn't a minimum post restriction for quotes.
Look under the last post where it says 'quick reply' there is a tool bar and all the way to the left is a little squarish icon - that is the quote button.
 
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Old 03-06-16, 07:10 AM
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The thingie on the far right.
 
  #14  
Old 03-06-16, 07:19 AM
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Looks like you already found it as you used it in your last post.

Hightlight the text you want to quote, right click to copy it, click on the "thought bubble" on the far right of the edit reply header, and then click between the two quote words to put the curser in the middle, then right click and paste.
 
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Old 03-06-16, 07:48 AM
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Got it! Some forums have a 'quote' feature that grabs the reply to be quoted along with the person's name who post it automatically. That's what I was looking for but the 'quote text' works fine too.
Thanks guys!
 
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Old 03-06-16, 07:58 AM
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Newer quality flooring doesn't use the click lock on the ends of the boards, thus the left to right installation. The ends just lay over each other and the next run locks it all in place. Older, cheaper laminate has the click feature which is a pita. I didn't have a question, I was just trying to find what your question was in your original post. Didn't see one.
Oh, sorry, I mis-read your post. Yea, not a question as much as a 'poll' to see if other folks had the same thoughts.

I was wondering if there was a difference in product types. Your comments make sense and verify what I thought.

To be honest we went with a cheaper product (Lumber Liquidator Dream Home) since re-sale could be down the road and don't want to get too much into the house at this point. Hindsight being 20/20, maybe we should have stepped up a bit and got a little better product. Oh well, live and learn.

At least it looks great and installation is almost finished! One more room to go for now, then up to the second floor!
 
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Old 03-06-16, 09:50 AM
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The thingie on the far right
How did I get my right and left mixed up
 
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Old 03-06-16, 12:54 PM
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How did I get my right and left mixed up
My wife is directionally dyslexic at times as well. I often tell her "it is in the drawer to the left" (she reaches to the right) I say, "no, your other left". Love her to death.
 
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Old 03-09-16, 08:10 PM
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Of all the DIY projects I've taken on over the years, I think installing flooring (on a grand scale) is something I would not do again.

The flooring itself isn't a problem, it's the subfloor. I had no idea what was hiding under the carpet and never imagined it could be so bad. Pretty sure little to no care was taken to install the floor joists and subfloor and looks like the house got wet during construction probably making things worse.

I thought this last room couldn't be worse than the others but I was wrong. Several high spots mostly due to builder probably not paying attention to the crown on the joist along with wet lumber and what I think is yellow pine plywood. It is like an ocean....

After a day of sanding, it's getting close to acceptable but will never be perfect and what I hate is there is no reasonable or practice solution to a bad subfloor.

Sorry for the rant, must be the saw dust!
 
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Old 04-01-16, 06:54 PM
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Glad the last room is behind me! Had to rent a sanding edger to knock down the high spots and it was like wrestling an angry alligator all day!

Only have a small section of hallway left to do so the end is in sight. Turned out nice, the floor is a little spongy probably due to the underlayment and the fact that the floor still isn't 100% flat everywhere.

Just hope it lasts 25yrs like they say so I don't ever have to revisit it!

Anyone familiar with engineered hardwood floor installation? I was wondering how flat the floor has to be if that product is used? Does nailing down make a difference? I'm guessing a hardwood product would span low spots easier but don't know what would happen at a high spot?


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  #21  
Old 04-02-16, 04:32 AM
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Engineered flooring would be installed exactly the same as laminate if it is a floating click lock type. For nail down, you have come flexibility as you can bend the wood to some extent, but still want to be withing specs per the manf. instructions. Also steer clear of "engineered" where they recommend nailing through the groove side as opposed to the tongue side. The former are glorified laminates with HDF core material instead of true engineered all wood materials.
 
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Old 04-02-16, 06:21 AM
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Thanks, figured the requirements would be about the same. No easy way out for a uneven subfloor other than carpet and vinyl! I just wonder how many people ignore the subfloor and install the laminate in 'just a day'. Prep is always the biggest part of the job.
 
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Old 04-02-16, 06:57 AM
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I just wonder how many people ignore the subfloor and install the laminate in 'just a day'. Prep is always the biggest part of the job.
You hit the nail on the head with that statement. And one of the reasons why a professional installation costs extra. Looks like the baseboard is ready to install just waiting on your nailer. Great job, you have earned yourself a beverage.
 
  #24  
Old 04-02-16, 04:17 PM
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Thanks, there have been several beverages along the way, mainly to cope with the hassles. If/when I ever get done, there will be several more beverages!

'Professional' installation. I'm sure there are some great professionals out there, but based on the quality I got when I called on some 'professionals' I'm always leery. I'm thinking about applying for a job with a professional to see how they would handle a job with sub floor issues. Would be interesting!

Yep, baseboard is ready, come on nailer!
 
  #25  
Old 04-03-16, 03:18 AM
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That is the problem, there are so many that call themselves professionals but either lack the skill or the desire to do the job right! Culling thru the contractors to find the ones that will do the job right can be big task all by itself. There is a reason the good ones stay busy and have a waiting period for new work.

But this is a diy site and the odds are no one will care as much about getting the job right as you will!
 
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