***UPDATE!! Since writing this post, we have moved a few times… renovating as we go. This flooring is no longer available, and I’ve discovered a new, even better product! You can see all the details of that on this post: Luxury Vinyl Planks.
When we bought ‘Our House’ 15 or so years ago, the lower level was unfinished. We spent that first summer getting it finished. Since then, though I’ve changed the wall treatments, furniture and light fixtures… (a few times) I haven’t changed the flooring. (not counting rugs)
We originally purchased really good quality flooring and since it’s a lower level family room, it doesn’t get beat up like a main level floor would.
And that’s a big however! Even though it was still in great shape, I am sick of it!
The carpet part of the room is still fine. It’s super neutral and has a ‘cable knit sweater’ pattern to it that I still like. But the vinyl by the patio door, that’s a different story. At the time it was awesome, sort of retro styled, but I am just so sick of the green and pattern.
Yep! We decided to replace the vinyl with laminate, (ok… so who’s the ‘we’ in we? Yeah, good point, the other half of the ‘we’ wasn’t deciding the replace the floor… it was me and… um… my dog, I’m sure he was in favor it the change!).
Well not exactly replace, because actually you don’t need to remove anything except transition pieces, when you’re installing laminate over vinyl.
I kept thinking in the back of my head, what if someone in 50 or 100 years removes the laminate and finds the vinyl below, and thinks to themselves… “why would anyone ever cover up this treasure?” Ha ha, I’m sure that won’t happen!
Laminate is advertised to be a ‘do-it-yourself’ project… given that, I’m still very thankful that I had a son and daughter-in-law willing to spend their Saturday here to get me started! There were a lot of doorways to cut around and putzy stuff like that, that was delaying me from starting on my own.
So here are the simple steps we did to accomplish this project:
The pad gets rolled out, only one piece at a time to prevent it getting too crushed as you’re working.
This is the transition piece. The metal strip gets screwed down into your old floor, then the transition piece, which I have upside down to show you the groove cut into it, snaps into the metal strip.
We had to carefully measure and install the first metal strip at the patio door, so that we were sure as we came across with the row of laminate, it all lined up. (this was really putzy, but worth the time to get it right!)
So there you can see our first row going across and it’s fit great. Yes that’s my son’s legs and hands. He’s such a good guy to generously take care of his mom! 🙂
When installing, you have to take care to stagger your seams, as well as mix up the patterns. We worked from several boxes at the same time.
That’s the first section done, time to add another piece of padding. That thinner clear part of the pad sticks to the next piece coming on.
We removed the old gold metal transition strip that was previously on the carpet edge, I was so glad to see that go… I hated it from the day it went in! It will be replaced with a transition piece that matches the laminate.
I did the second half of the flooring by myself. My son made snapping the pieces together look so easy… it wasn’t so easy for me. I’d get almost done with the row, and realize that a piece at the beginning wasn’t snapped in, and then I’d have to undo the entire row and start over… (be sure you read the directions on how to unsnap it, or you’ll break off the snap part and the piece will be trash!)
The laminate boards are 12″ wide, so that could be part of the difficulty to get them to snap correctly, and I just don’t have the strength that my 6′ 5″ son has, so leverage could be playing a role too.
But I did get in the ‘groove’ (on the second or third try) and when I was done with the laminate floor, I put on the rest of the transition pieces, and added quarter round at the baseboard to cover up the required gap left on the perimeter of the laminate for expansion. (I painted that quarter round to match the base trim… not to match the floor. In my head, it’s part of the trim, not part of the floor.)
So the floor is all done, and I must say, I love it!
I love that it’s neutral, but has wonderful character.I love the super wide boards too!
(that sisal rug with the black border I just bought at World Market… it has some weird light colored dots on it, so instead of paying $80 for it, the manager sold it to me for less than $20! Never hurts to ask!!)
So, would I say installing laminate flooring is a ‘do-it-yourself’ project? Absolutely! Especially if you have a son generous enough to get you going!
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