To master the art of laying laminate flooring whilst retaining all senses and body parts. Also, we will be entering the process with the knowledge that this is NOT the cage from Mad Max.
8x Boxes of Nirvana V3 8mm Havana Mahogany Laminate
But to recreate this experiment with your own materials, you basically need enough flooring for the entire area (your local manufacturer/distributor can asssist you with calculating this based on the square footage that needs to be covered).
1x roll of Moisture Barrier/poly sheeting
This is necessary when laying laminate flooring on top of concrete subfloor. We did not need to purchase any additional foam underlay as the laminate flooring already had a 3mm foam attached to it.
6x Bags of Levelquik Self Leveling compound
Once again, whether or not you will need this for your specific project will depend on what kind of base you have to install your flooring on. If you have concrete flooring and it was poured by a professional, you may not have to do this at all
We already had one of these, and its basically just used to help push the self leveling compound around so that it can find its home.
1x bottle of levelquik latex primer
This gets scrubbed over the floor before the self leveling compound is applied
1x mixing attachment
Trust me when i tell you, mixing self-levelling compound by hand is not. fun.
100% necessary when working with tongue and groove laminate flooring. We worked without this for about two days. This made all the difference.
So i guess the number one rule here is measure 5 times and cut once. Or maybe twice, depending on the type of flooring you have
So here we were just over a year ago- gotta love that white carpet (installed throughout mind you) and the AWESOME placement of the washer and dryer unit.
So the first step was waiting for a day at home alone so that I could rip up all the existing carpet and tackboards without disturbing anyone else with my (colourful) language.
The carpet actually came up very easily as it was apparently laid down by professionals so I was able to grab a corner and just pull. Using a utility knife i cut down several sections of the carpet so that I could roll and bind for easy disposal as I went. Sometimes this brain works….sometimes it doesn’t Once the carpet was up, I took my handy hammer and pulled up all the tackboards. Luckily those look like they were left over from the 1970′s so they popped right out.
The other thing I decided to do before moving on to dealing with the concrete, was to take some silicone and run it around the entire perimeter. This room leads directly out to the backyard and once the carpet was pulled up I was definitely noticing a lot of “cool” breezes as I moved around the room. The silicone caulk did the job perfectly and still allows for slight shifting of the house in the future.
Three or four rounds of sweeping and vacuuming got up most of the whateveryouwanttocallit from the concrete. As we were left with two totally different sections of concrete, we also had to take an additional step of mixing and pouring self-leveling compound to (hopefully!) level the floor and allow for a nice non-sloping finished product.
Each of these bags covers about 40-50 sq. ft. depending on how thick it needs to be. We needed seven bags to cover our entire area and for the record – thanks Home Depot for not having anyone able to help me lift seven 50lb bags into a cart. Appreciated.
The process for the self-levelling compound is pretty straight forward. It’s not necessary to work at lightening speed….but you do need to work steadily and keep moving. The Wee-b and i split up the work, so that I was constantly mixing a new batch of gunk while he was pouring and “assisting” the spread with the trowel.
This part of the process took about 1.5 hours to complete….and we only had *just* enough self-levelling compound to get it done. I had based my estimate on 6 bags, knowing that we had 275sq. ft. to cover. Next time I would play it more safe and purchase the seventh bag.
Next comes the actual laying of the flooring. Measure the width of the room again. Twice. Read over the instructions one more time and make sure you follow them With our flooring, we were instructed to measure the width of the room (I measured from the far wall to the pantry wall as that was the first wall we were going to hit) and then cut the width of the first row to make sure the last row laid is at least 2″ wide. Get that?
While the Wee-b was slicing the first row of planks, I started rolling out the moisture barrier and tacking it to the walls to allow us to lay the first row a little easier. You are meant to leave about 2″ of the poly sticking out and this is then folded and tacked under the quarter round when the finishing touches are added to the floor. The moisture barrier we used was SUPER wide, so I ended up rolling it out with one side left folded in so that we weren’t constantly walking all over it while we were getting the first row of flooring laid.
So as the Wee-b was cutting our lengths, i was bringing them inside and slowly laying them down the length of the room, using some of the cut-off lengths of board as shims around the wall to meet our 8mm gap that is necessary for expansion.
BIG TIP: After spending 5 hours laying the first three rows, my advice to you is the following – piece your first three rows together AWAY from the wall and then slide into place. Until you get into your “groove” you will find a lot of the flooring will pop in and out of place for the first couple of rows – this allows you to skip this annoying stage.
The instructions that came with the flooring, gave some suggestions on how to lay the boards (they came in three different lengths) so that the following rows would be offset. I followed these instructions for the first couple of rows and then started making it up as I went along.
Once we had the first couple of rows in, we found that it was much easier to work as a team and start “working” 2-3 rows at a time. The Wee-b would work one row and as he got 3-4 planks in, I could come in behind him and start working the next two rows. By staggering the planks it is very easy to do this. This also meant that we could finish 2-3 rows at a time as the Wee-b could cut the plank for his row, by which time I would have caught up and measured my last two pieces for cutting aswell.
The best thing we bought to help with this process was the pull bar. Not only did we use this bad boy to pull the last plank of every row into place, but we also used it to tap all the boards along the row into place. We really didnt run into any issues using the pull bar all the way along, as long as you angle it right on the edge of the board i can’t see it causing damage to the lip.
As we moved away from the doors, I started pulling the boxes of flooring with us as the weight helps the floor “settle” into place.
Note: I’m skipping over the issues we had with our concrete mountain – let it just be said…don’t pour the remainder of the self leveling compound on the floor at 8pm at night, if it’s not necessary. It will not self-level and you will have to spend a month chipping away at concrete.
Once we got to the first wall, the rest of the job was like icing a cake…mostly easy and super sweet. The good news here is, my triple measuring at the beginning of the job (for the first row of planks) got us to the last row with no issues. We didn’t have to trim the width on any of the planks for this section. I will point out that the pantry wall is not 100% straight and we had to add a small width length – but the majority of that piece will be covered by the quarter round and was not really necessary.
Part 2 – Quarter round coming to a screen near you soon!