Sunday, January 24, 2010

Haz Floor!!

We put the finishing touches on our new kitchen floor right before Thanksgiving. We've been admiring our handiwork ever since. There were actually a couple of days that I got a stiff neck from looking down every time I was in the kitchen.

We bought the flooring last spring, when it went on sale for $.99/sq ft. This was a wise move as the price has been $1.29 and higher ever since. I also knew that if I didn't buy the flooring our kitchen floor would get put on hold for another year.

This is Tarkett flooring from the Boreal line, with a 25 yr wear warranty. We originally decided that we wanted oak-colored flooring, since we plan to stain our cupboard doors a darker shade. When Z and I went to buy the flooring we looked at the oak color, then we looked at each other and said in unison: "That looks like a gym floor." There just wasn't enough pattern or grain in the oak flooring, so we chose the walnut instead.

The reason we decided on laminate was because it's a "free-floating" floor. This means no glue or nails, and it can be installed over your existing flooring. When your floor wears out, you just dismantle it and install new flooring.

After watching many online videos and home-improvement shows, we thought that one person could lay this floor. After spending a Saturday prepping the room, we decided to start installing the flooring on Sunday. We then planned on individually working on the floor during the week, while the other one was at work. WRONG! This wasn't a tap together flooring. It was a new, "interlocking" flooring. Unfortunately, Tarkett enclosed instructions for the old-style, tap-in flooring.

We quickly discovered that the flooring strips had to be assembled, end-to-end, for the entire width of the room before the whole strip could be snapped into the previous row. We also learned that the ends have to be snapped together perfectly, or the strip wouldn't lay properly. This revelation destroyed our plans for a one person installation. There were places in our kitchen that required all 3 of us to snap a 15 ft strip of flooring into the previous row. Later in the week I went on Tarkett's website. The website has the correct installation instructions.
Note to Tarkett: You wanna try putting the correct instructions in the box of flooring?!

The first two pictures show our progress on that first Sunday. Our kitchen has a LOT of goofy angles to cut around which slowed us down considerably. The rest of the week we carefully walked around the flooring we had laid so we wouldn't chip the "interlocking" edge. The following weekend we put in 10 hr days and finished laying the 170 sq ft of new floor.

Because the floor is "free-floating", we had to leave a 1/4 inch gap around the entire floor to allow for expansion and contraction of the flooring to prevent buckling. I covered this gap with 3/4 inch cove molding. When I went shopping for the molding, I found solid mahogany molding that perfectly matched our flooring...AND it was cheaper than pine molding! This meant that I didn't have to stain the molding. All I had to do was apply 3 coats of floor polyurethane to the molding and I was done. It took me a week to cut the molding into all the goofy angles in our kitchen. Fortunately we have a compound miter saw, which is the BEST $69 investment we've ever made!


Here's a picture of Hairry with the finished product.
As we were laying the floor, we discovered that the flooring matched Hairry perfectly. Now we laughingly tell everybody that we bought the flooring to match the dog....doesn't everybody?

14 Comments:

At 1/24/2010 11:54 AM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

Hey, it looks great - as does Hairry enjoying all the fruits of your hard labour! These things are NEVER as simple as you expect them to be are they? Bit looks totally worth the hassle!

 
At 1/24/2010 12:50 PM, Blogger Jeannie said...

Looks great! We put laminate flooring in the downstairs bedroom - it was great for our son's use - any other floor would have been destroyed. It was the tap in type I think - and my husband did it alone. It's been quite a few years now and I don't think there's so much as a scratch anywhere on it.

 
At 1/24/2010 2:44 PM, Blogger Vancouver Voyeur said...

Congratulations on tackling a typically annoying home improvement project. The floor looks great and Hairry seems to approve as well. We have vinyl or linoleum in our kitchen. M has already warned me that she and her buddies are ripping it up over Spring break. We have at least a 1/2 inch of multiple floor coverings before you get down to the original wood floors in the kitchen. Our hope is that the original wood floors will be salvageable. We won't know until we tear everything up. Fortunately even though I'll be on Spring break from teaching, I will still have to work at the law firm, so I won't be able to assist in the rip up job. Awww. :-)

 
At 1/25/2010 10:22 AM, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

LOL!
It does match Hairy.

 
At 1/25/2010 4:00 PM, Blogger SME said...

Very very nice. Now you have to post some pics from the new camera!

We realized when we moved in here that the floor and walls matched the hamsters - coincidence.

 
At 1/25/2010 6:23 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

WC, it WAS worth the hassle, even though it took my knees 2 weeks to recover.

Jeannie, we would've preferred the tap-in type. I'm happy to hear that it wears well. Hairry's claws can be tough on flooring.

VV, actually Hairry is scared of the new floor. That rug is his safe island in the kitchen.

I would also be happy to skip the rip up job, not fun! I hope the wood underneath is salvageable.

ZS, of course it does! ;p

SME, now you need to paint your place gray, to match Sophie. Grandpa would love it. ;)

I got some good shots today with the DSLR today, so maybe I'll get them posted soon.

 
At 1/25/2010 9:15 PM, Blogger Shawn said...

Wow! I'm always impressed with your amazing projects! It's so satisfying to puzzle out how to do things, set to it and then have a finished project. It's stays enjoyable for so much longer than just paying to have things done...not that that wouldn't be nice too.

 
At 1/26/2010 2:35 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Thanks Shawn.
I think we really appreciate this stuff more when we do it ourselves. However, it would be nice if we could afford to hire someone to side our house. *sigh*

 
At 1/26/2010 8:42 PM, Blogger Grizzly Mama said...

The floor looks beautiful! I hope that Hairy gets used to it.

 
At 1/28/2010 12:56 PM, Blogger tweetey30 said...

That looks so cute.. Hope all is well with you guys.. I need to run today and get a few things.. But otherwise we are good..

 
At 1/31/2010 3:22 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Thanks Grizz!
It's been 2 months and Hairry still sneaks across the floor like he's walking on eggshells. He always looks so relieved when he makes it to the living room.

Tweets, stay good! ;)

 
At 1/31/2010 4:50 PM, Blogger Squirl said...

I love the part about the stiff neck from looking at your work. Not only does it deserve it, but I remember it took me a few months after I painted and we put in the carpet before I stopped openly admiring it.

You guys work so hard on your place. And it shows.

 
At 2/03/2010 5:54 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Squirl, that's just one of the hazards of DIY. If we're not going to admire our work, why do it?

 
At 2/15/2010 1:07 AM, Blogger Cherie said...

Hey, you did it!! Now we both have new floors and the holes are long gone.

It looks fantastic, Tshs!

Good job!

(Hairry is a very effective model.)

 

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