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Laminate floor installation

jumpy

I'm moving and plan to install new flooring myself. Anyone ever done this before? It seems pretty straight foward so I was just wondering if anyone had any experience with this? It would be the glueless type.

 
Jun 1, 06 10:39 am
Nevermore

jumpy, its not as easy as it looks.Glueless type?..so is it going to be nailed or screwed into the floor ?
anycase, You have to take care of the edges ( meeting of floor and walls ) as well as the skirting.
If its not cut to size or properly installed there , you could screw up the entire look.
Good luck.

Jun 1, 06 11:03 am  · 
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archie

It's not that bad. Most laminate floors are floating, so I assume thats what you mean. DO NOT screw it to the floor as nevermore suggested. Just follow the manufacturer's directions- they are usually pretty good. Make sure you acclimate the material to the space as they recommend. I've had pofessional installers screw up laminate floor jobs by attaching it to the floor in a spot, not doing the expansion joint at doorways, installing too tight to the wall, screwing thru it to install casework, etc. Just follow the instructions and you will be fine. I wears really well by the way, and feels nice when you walk on it cause of the pad underneath. I've had it in my kitchen for 6 years and it looks like the day it was installed.

Jun 1, 06 11:10 am  · 
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liberty bell

Are you talking Pergo or some other plastic-laminate faced flooring? If so my advice would be to not use it as all as it is an awful product.

If you're talking a pre-finished wood or bamboo plank, I'd highly recommend calling an installer, ask if you can pay him/her a couple hours of time to come out and advise you on the difficult spots etc. and show you a few pointers. Installing it is easy, installing it well enough that you won't look at it every day and notice all the annoying little faults is not easy.

Jun 1, 06 11:55 am  · 
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Nevermore

archie...

I NEVER suggested screwing or nailing . I thought jumpy was implying it when he said glueless type.

Jun 1, 06 11:59 am  · 
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Nevermore

P.S - * Screwing or nailing the laminate into the floor.

Jun 1, 06 12:00 pm  · 
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jumpy

I was looking at maybe a lock and seal type product. It would be floating and I'm on a tight budget so it has to be affordable. I was kind of curious I to how tricky it can be installing all the transition and expansion joints around the doors. It would be floating with no screwing or glue. Also, anyone seen or installed laminate on stairs.

Jun 1, 06 12:03 pm  · 
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el jeffe

Make sure you clean the edges (both tongue and groove) before installing to remove any small chips that can cause local stress.

Be very gentle with the hammer when locking the planks together. It can be very easy to cause the opposing joint to swell permanently if you apply too much pressure.

Forget about using a floating floor on a stairway.

Jun 1, 06 12:41 pm  · 
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i installed about 1300 sf of pergo laminate by myself about 2 years ago... it was easy enough, although it still took much longer than i expected... all of the previous tips are pretty good... unless you can easily remove whatever baseboards are in your rooms, you will need to come back with some quarter-round moulding to cover up the expansion space... you will definitely want a nailgun for this, as it is nearly impossible by hand...

i also installed pergo on my stairs... in this case you actually do glue the floor down... and the stairnose mouldings are rather expensive... the only thing that i don't like about the stairs is that the stairnose mouldings are screwed down and the filler that you put over the screws does not match the wood close enough... given this, if you do the stairs be really anal about where you drill the pilot holes for the screws so that they all line up... actually come to think of it, i ended up replacing all of the stairnose mouldings after i did it the first time... the second time around, instead of screwing the mouldings down i used a finish nailgun and lines all of them up...

while it's not terribly difficult to install, having done it once, i don't feel the need to ever do it again... next time i'll hire someone to do it...

Jun 1, 06 1:40 pm  · 
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one more thing...

as it describes in the instructions, be sure to run the long edge of your joints in a direction that is perpendicular to your major source of natural light...

in other words, the rays of light from your window should be running parallel to the long joints... this will help minimize the appearance of the joints...

for some reason artificial light doesn't seem to make the joints visible, but a natural light source raking across the joints makes them stick out like a sore thumb... this is really my only complaint about the system... and i think that it is something that really only i notice, because having put it down myself i know precisely where every small imperfection is...

good luck...

Jun 1, 06 1:46 pm  · 
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matteo

Once I did it myself, alone, I put down like 500 sf of laminated floor all by myself, I did it in my spare time, like from 2 pm to 4pm, because I had no light installed and it was winter, and i took 2 weeks to finish.
It was actually fun.
Once you get started with the first rows, you can go on forever.
Be carefull with the hammer, you can make damages at the joints and the overall looking.

Jun 3, 06 5:28 pm  · 
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assbackward

Also, if you're installing a lot of rows, measure regularly and make sure you've got it square with the walls.

Jun 3, 06 7:52 pm  · 
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assbackward

I haven't used the glueless type, but I did install ~1500 sf of the glued kind once. It wasn't too bad. Seems like the glueless kind might make alignment easier, since they positively snap together.

Jun 3, 06 7:54 pm  · 
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liberty bell

OK I need to be enlightened. And I don't mean this at all in a snarky way: I am seriously confused.

Aside from cost, what are the benefits of laminate (Pergo and copycat) floors? Those of you who have used it: why, and what do you like/dislike about it?

Here are the issues that, to me, make it a bad material: it's clacky when you walk on it, anything that drops on it (like a glass) will itself shatter because the flooring is so hard, and the flooring will crack because it's so brittle; when it is damaged, it chips rather than dents, and the chips don't look like "patina" they look like flaws, and there is no way to repair them, and (again, to me) the sheen on it looks plastic and the size of the planks makes it look fake. And a toddler hitting his head on it would hurt himself much worse than on real wood. I have never seen a Pergo floor that looked good (to me).

I honestly feel that 20 years from now people will regard Pergo as a huge material mistake along the lines of all the sheet vinyl people laid over wood floors in the 50s.

Can anyone tell me why I'm wrong, please?

Here at Thread Central is a long discussion about flooring materials in which I extol the virtues of cork flooring (+/- $5sf material cost) and complain about how I don't like the bamboo flooring I put in my house very much - in part because it reminds me too much of Pergo!

Again, I'm not trying to be snarky, I am open to being convinced that I am wrong. Thank you!

Jun 3, 06 9:15 pm  · 
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joseffischer

I've done a lot of bamboo, priced material at $1.80/SF, that looks fine for what it is. It's my cheapest flooring option for people. I also agree that laminated Pergo etc flooring is horrid looking. All the multifam is getting versions of LVT, but they're priced more than hardwood. Usually we go with red-oak at $2.25/SF + finish, or sometimes people pick a prefinished hardwood in the $3.50-$4.50 range. Again, these are all material costs. Often, when people are "tight on budget" I've convinced them that new appliances, lighting, and cleaning are all that's needed. If there's some change left over, paint the walls.

Sep 25, 18 10:57 am  · 
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Non Sequitur

Joe, responding to Donna's ghost 12 years too late?

Sep 25, 18 11:40 am  · 
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joseffischer

hah, these reposts always get me

Sep 25, 18 1:18 pm  · 
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el jeffe

the material is crap, but in our case we bought a 1967 slab-on-grade house that needed some serious remodeling. we tried stripping the linoleum and grinding the slab to stain & seal it but we realized that a concrete slab for little kids kinds sucks and could be pretty dangerous. so we figured that we'd put in a crap floor that could be beat to hell by trikes and craft projects and we wouldn't care. we're planning on replacing the stuff in about 5 years with, most likely, cork.

also, we got the stuff from costco that when purchased with their coupon gave us a price of $1.35/sf, as i recall. we installed it ourselves.

seems like a good interim solution for us, especially considering our budget..

Jun 3, 06 10:24 pm  · 
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liberty bell

As an interim solution, yes, it does seem logical. And for kids better than concrete! And believe me I understand the budget problem - that's why instead of built-in shelves along the wall of my living room I still have a long stack of unopened moving boxes, and still no baseboard anywhere in the house, and still this stupid PoMo (yes, PoMo) porch on the front of my otherwise mid-century ranch.

Thanks for responding, jeffe.

Jun 3, 06 11:55 pm  · 
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assbackward

When I installed the floor I did, it was to cover a concrete floor in an old warehouse converted to artists' studios and gallery space. The laminate flooring only covers the gallery part. The main criteria for its selection in this case were initial cost and ease of installation. The guy I was helping with this picked up the material cheaply somewhere, and a few of us installed it in a few days. (it was a large area). So, yeah... it's cheap. That was the main thing. Also the fact that we could lay it directly on the slab without laying down any additional subfloor made things easier.

I do wonder how long it'll last; you're totally right about the chips. Once it's cracked or chipped, it'd be impossible to repair (and have it look good), and impossible to replace the affected "board", if you can call it that. I also wonder how long it would take the foam underneath to deteriorate. I suppose it's not getting any UV under there, so the surface would probably be first to go.

Also, on the subject of baseboards: they're a requirement for laminate flooring installations. A gap needs to be left at the perimeter to allow the whole floating floor to expand 'n' contract as a unit.

Jun 5, 06 5:50 am  · 
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for me the main deciding factor was cost... we had just bought our first house and were upgrading a lot of the crappy developer spec stuff to something that we could live with... if i would have had wood flooring put in during construction i could only afford the first floor... for the same cost, i put in pergo's top line throughout the entire house... we literally ripped up the developer's carpet 3 hours after closing on the house and used that to replace the carpet in the house that we were renting from my in-laws... i have a much better paying job now that would allow me to put in something different (maple/birch wood, cork, bamboo, etc.), but at the time (2 years ago) the pergo was the most cost efficient choice...

Jun 5, 06 7:54 am  · 
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archie

It does not have to look like fake wood. You can get it in squares that just look like a texture and make a design with the squares, or just lay it for the texture and color. It also makes a forgiving floor because of the pad under it. Things bounce, they do not break. It is easier on the feet than wood or ceramic. If you buy the good stuff, not the cheap home depot special, it has a 10 year guarantee for commercial, 15 or 20 for residential, and in my experience after 6 or 7 years, still looks perfect. There are also some distinct install advantages: you can go right over an old VAT floor without abatement. You can install it yourself. You can now buy laminate that has a waterproof core for basements and wet areas. Dog toenails don't scratch it. High heels don't dent it. It never has to be sanded and sealed. Clean up is super simple- basically a damp mop.

Jun 5, 06 9:08 am  · 
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liberty bell

Thanks everyone for responses. I can imagine a gallery floor looking appropriate with the Pergo, especially in contrast to an adjacent rougher concrete studio space, the pergo/white GWB would look nice and clean.

I think everyone's points are valid, of course, though I imagine laminate is only easier on your feet than wood if it is installed on a pretty spongy underlayment. But archie, your comment about high heels just drives home for me my dislike of the material: the way it sounds. Every laminate floor I've walked on sounds clacky. To me clacky sound = cheap, I just can't get past it. Even my bamboo floor, which is "solid" bamboo boards on an 1/8" cork underlayment on slab on grade, doesn't sound as solid as I'd like it to. It's like when you knock on a porch column and instead of the solid thunk of wood you hear the thin sound of Fypon - I feel like people read the quality of a material through all senses, a strong one being sound (though I've never licked a building.) and pergo et al just won't ever sound right.

And one more time I'll say how utterly wonderful cork flooring is - as you mentioned with laminate, archie, it doesn't need to look "like" wood or anything else, it can just be a texture and color that doesn't reference anything. And so soft, so warm, so forgiving....wonderful stuff.

Jun 5, 06 9:43 am  · 
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lb, we'll maybe have to go around licking some buildings in a few weeks - stopping short of licking floors maybe.

Jun 5, 06 9:52 pm  · 
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...just thought about it. i think i have licked a building.

Jun 5, 06 9:53 pm  · 
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liberty bell

I *have* licked art. And definitely not just touched but caressed buildings.

What building did you find lickable, Steven?

Jun 5, 06 9:56 pm  · 
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it was limestone. it was in new orleans. i was young.

Jun 5, 06 9:57 pm  · 
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liberty bell

Well, New Orleans is a good place to have a first time experience, I reckon!

Jun 5, 06 9:59 pm  · 
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jh

a flooring material i have been considering is OSB subflooring. sand it and wax it and i think you would have a badass looking floor - at least it wouldn't be plastic. BTW i can't imagine pergo on stairs - that shit is slick. before you start letting your budget determine the design, explore some alternatives. i saw a wood floor that used strips of plywood on edge (so that you saw the plys) that was beautiful, but i can't image the fool that had to rip a 4x8 sheet of plywood into 3/4" strips. at the same time it must have been a test in patients installing that sucker.

Jun 6, 06 12:29 am  · 
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the new flooring test: wouldja kiss it?

Jun 6, 06 7:17 am  · 
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D7mY

i used to know an old man who used to work in construction...he said one of the ways to check out ur tiling work.....is to take another peace of tile put on the surface....kick it make sure it doesn't stop untill it hits the wall...

Jun 6, 06 7:41 am  · 
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jh, i've seen pictures (or maybe a show on HGTV) that used OSB as a finished floor... it looked really nice... i think that i've convinced a friend that is opening a coffeehouse to try it out in his space... we'll see...

Jun 6, 06 8:03 am  · 
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freq_arch

A friend of mine cut MDF into 'tiles' and glued them down. He pre-finished them (various stains plus several coats of hard lacquer). Looked cool - can't speak for the wear, though (that's the last time I saw it).

Liberty, is your bamboo flooring the type that's got the edges exposed or the flat exposed (both are made up of about 3/16" laminations, right?). I just looked at bamboo for my basement, and I quite liked the one where you see the edges.

Jun 6, 06 10:01 am  · 
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liberty bell

freq_arch, mine has the flat exposed, and it is the very light blonde color. My parents' house has the edge exposed, in a caramel color, and it looks significantly nicer than mine. (good job, mom and dad!) Yes, both are made up of thin laminations, though it is called "solid", the material is too thin to be used any way but laminated.

Architphil, my experience with exposed OSB flooring (4x8 sheets, metal trims at seams, clear finish) was that it showed wear quickly. This was in a cafe installation, so the path from door to ordering counter saw a huge amount of trafffic. Looked very cool when it went in, like crap 3 months later. Sorry. But maybe the high-traffic path could be one material (maybe rubber,or epoxy on slab), less-intensive use areas the OSB?

Jun 6, 06 10:11 am  · 
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