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?