Saturday, December 10, 2011

We're Floored!

In addition to passing inspections, we also had to get the floor finished before moving in our furniture. I bought the flooring from Ikea back in September (jumped the gun on that one, didn't I?).

It's "click and lock" laminate for around $1 a sq ft (pretty much as cheap as they come). On November 12th we starting installing it (and finished December 3rd).

We got this much done the first night (to the edge of the hallway).

I should add that under the flooring you're supposed to lay these thin sheets of foam. They are for sound dampening and also helps level the floor in case there are any imperfections or bumps under there.

Something I didn't know about "click and lock" flooring: it doesn't "click and lock".

That makes it sound super easy to put together. In reality, this tongue and groove flooring has to be lined up perfectly with the other row, then beat on the long side with a rubber mallet until it seats. Then, beat on the short side to slide it into position. I guess there's a reason they make it super tight. You don't want them shifting or coming out ever again.

This flooring is referred to as a "floating floor" because it doesn't get attached to anything (not nailed down or glued). The shear weight of it keeps it together and secure (more on the weight of it here).

Also, anything made of wood (it's not solid wood, but more like pressed wood with lots of glue) is very susceptible to changes in humidity. In the summer, wood will swell. In the winter, it will dry out and shrink. If we nailed or glued this flooring to the subfloor, and it swelled, we'd end up with wrinkles. Thus the "floating floor". We learned we're supposed to leave at least a 1/4 inch gap along all the baseboards as growing room called the "expansion gap". Then, to hide that gap, we installed quarter-round along all the baseboards.

At the end of the second day, we were here:

Here's a behind the scenes looks at the other half of the room:

That is before it got messy.

We worked our way from the front of the house to the back, doing the living room portion, then the second bedroom, then the hallway (to connect those two rooms), and on from there.

Next, came the real challenging part. What to do with the door jams and trim? So far, we've just been dealing with regular walls and baseboards. If we left a visible expansion gap, we couldn't cover it with quarter-round here because you can't put quarter-round in a door jam (the door couldn't close) and it would look stupid to have quarter-round on door trim.

After doing some research, I learned that we needed to "undercut" the door trim and jam. Either with a hand saw or a special power saw (called a jamb saw) that can get that low to the floor.

Check out this video on youtube that illustrates what I'm talking about.

We tried the hand-saw method (or rather Matt did). It was highly frustrating, so I searched for a jamb saw to buy or rent. No luck there. So, Matt called a contractor friend and asked if he had some kind of saw that would work for this project.

He did. Not a jamb saw, but a multi-tool saw thingamajig that is good for more than just this project. We borrowed his and it worked great (we should probably get our own someday).

Here is a piece going in to the first jamb.

Perfect fit. Sorry for the poor lighting.

Undercutting the door jamb still lets us have a hidden expansion gap.

That's a florescent light leaning against the door that we were working by. Drop cords everywhere!

All finished!! Beautiful right?

There was saw-dust everywhere!

The quarter-round came pre-primed, but I decided it would be easier to paint it BEFORE it was installed against our pretty new floors. It was outside drying.

We really used twice this much. Now all I have to do is patch the nail holes and do a little touch up paint (later on).

I don't have a picture of the quarter-round installed.

And just keepin' it real, here's an in progress shot of our pretty kitchen counters during this messing project.

Also covered with dust.


  1. Looks great! Just make sure you trim Lucy's nails so they don't damage the flooring... My in-laws have been there and done that.... ;)

  2. They look awesome! We just redid our own floors with engineered hardwood so trust me, I feel your pain. Great job though, and I love how you trimmed the door jambs to make the floors fit. That was my favorite part too and I love what a clean finish it gives. You can check out the beginning of our floor progress here (consequently with the same title- great minds think alike, no?)

    And then check out our Tour page and you can see the flooring in all the rooms. Keep up the good work!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...