Whether you’re installing hardwood floors, cork or linoleum, it pays to have some flooring installation ideas in mind before getting started. For starters, always let your new floor acclimate to the room for a few days.
It’s also wise to lay the floorboards parallel to doorways and entrances rather than perpendicular to them. This helps the boards look more fluid and natural.
Start at the Longest Wall
When laying laminate or vinyl plank, it’s a good idea to start your flooring installation from the longest wall in the room. This will give your professionals plenty of room to work with and will help ensure that the finished product looks its best.
Before starting, it’s also important to make sure that the area is well-ventilated and free of any toxins that could cause harm during the flooring installation process. This can be done by opening windows and running fans, and it’s also a good idea to keep children and pets out of the installation zone.
To begin, lay a length of your new flooring parallel to the longest wall in the room. This will provide you with a template for the rest of the floor and will allow you to ensure that there are no gaps or seams where they meet. Then, install a second row of planks perpendicular to the first, making sure to leave a 1/8 inch expansion gap around all vertical objects in the room.
Once you’ve finished installing the first two rows, you can rip the last row of planks to the appropriate width. This will enable you to finish the last two walls with a nice, smooth, and seamless transition.
While you’re at it, it’s a good idea to remove your baseboards in the rooms that are getting new flooring. This will save you the time and effort of trying to trim the edges of the flooring after it’s been installed, and it will give the room a more polished look when the job is finished.
Don’t Skip the Underlayment
When preparing to install your new flooring, don’t forget to include an appropriate amount of underlayment. It is important for moisture protection, improving the floating of the planks, sound reduction, and minimizing any gaps between your new flooring and the wall or ceiling.
You can purchase underlayment at many home improvement stores. It comes in a range of materials and thicknesses, so be sure to choose the right one for your flooring. For example, if you’re installing vinyl planks over concrete, it is best to choose an underlayment with a vapor barrier. If you’re installing hardwood floors, foam or cork are good options for cushioning and reducing noise.
In addition to the underlayment, you may also need other materials for completing your project. For example, if you’re working with hardwood, you’ll need extra wood for the stairs as well as quarter rounds, nose molding and trim. It’s a good idea to estimate 10% to 15% extra material in case you need it.
For vinyl plank floors, a thicker underlayment is typically better because it provides additional cushioning. However, if you’re installing loose lay flooring that doesn’t require glue or nails, more cushion isn’t necessary.
You should also consider the type of subfloor you’re installing your floor over. If you’re laying the vinyl over a tile or linoleum subfloor, it is best to use an underlayment with a vapor layer because these subfloors tend to be more porous. A vapor barrier will help prevent moisture from seeping into the underlayment and warping it over time.
For other subfloors, you can usually install the vinyl directly on top of the existing material without a vapor barrier. Just be sure the subfloor is level, clean and in good condition.
Don’t Forget the Transitions
When you have multiple flooring types throughout your home, it is important to include transition strips to keep the aesthetic looking uniform. These narrow strips help to connect the two different floor types and prevent tripping hazards and potential moisture issues in the future. Adding these to your project may seem like an extra hassle, but it is a small cost for a long-term benefit.
Transitions are especially important to consider when installing wood floors. If you decide to go with a hardwood flooring that is thicker than other types of floors, it is recommended that you add a transition strip between the rows. This helps to ensure that the wood does not rub against the wall and cause damage or warp over time.
Many people forget to install these transition strips when installing their new flooring, but this is a mistake. It is not difficult to replace them after the fact, but it will be a much more time-consuming and costly endeavor. It is far easier to budget for the cost of these when you are in the planning stages of your flooring project.
You will also want to add a transition strip between the floor and a doorway when you have flooring that continues into the hallway or into another room. This will help to create a cleaner look, and it will also help to protect the door jamb from wear and tear from people pushing against it.
It is recommended that you wait until all the glue has dried before trimming any excess. Use a plastic scraper or putty knife to gently remove the excess and to avoid any accidental damage to the transition strip. After the excess glue has been trimmed, it is a good idea to lightly sand down any rough edges with a fine grit of sandpaper. This will help to smooth the edge of the transition strip so that it blends seamlessly with your floor and does not have any noticeable bumps or ridges.
While the idea of gluing transition strips to your new flooring may seem daunting, it is a relatively simple process that most homeowners can do on their own. Just make sure to follow all of the proper steps and that you have all of the necessary materials before starting. By following these tips, you can ensure that your new flooring looks beautiful and lasts for years to come.
Don’t Forget the Finish
If you’re a fan of home improvement shows, you might be inspired to take on some DIY projects after watching experts turn a disaster into a show-stopping masterpiece. But flooring is not something you want to attempt without the help of a professional. It seems easy enough to lay down a few planks or tiles, but there’s actually quite a bit that goes into installing flooring the right way, especially if you want it to look its best.
For example, it’s important to give the new flooring a chance to adjust to the room’s temperature and moisture content before installing it. This process is called acclimation, and it’s recommended that you leave your new floor in the room for 48 – 72 hours. This will ensure that the material is properly acclimatized and helps prevent damage or warping once it’s installed.
Additionally, it’s important to carefully inspect the subfloor for any cracks or dips before your flooring installation date. If you find any problems, it’s a good idea to repair them before the professionals arrive. This will keep the project running smoothly and ensure that your new floors are as beautiful and long-lasting as possible.
It’s also important to remember that not all flooring materials are created equal. Some are more comfortable underfoot than others, and this is particularly important if you have rooms in your home where people spend a lot of time standing. For instance, wood floors are beautiful and durable, but they can be uncomfortable to stand on for extended periods of time. For more comfort, consider flooring ideas like cork or vinyl tile.
Finally, it’s important to use proper tape when taping seams in the underlayment. This will help to reduce the likelihood that the seams will crinkle as they settle, which can create an annoying crinkling sound and cause other problems with the finished product. It’s also a good idea to tape the seams perpendicular to the direction that your floor planks will run. This will make the seams less likely to bubble and provide a more polished finish.