Progress report: Installing the first parts of Erin's computer room floor
I have an update on how we're doing with installing laminate flooring in Erin and Tom's computer room. A big section of the new floor is down and it looks wonderful. It totally changes how the room feels and makes it much brighter, actually. I was surprised by that.
Here's what we've done so far.
First, we taped down a plastic underlayment to cover up the asbestos tiles. The people at the flooring store said duct tape would be fine, so that's what we used.
We then started laying planks of flooring against the longest wall in the room.
Instructions I read said the floor needed to be spaced from the wall the same amount as it is deep. So, I had the brilliant idea of using spare planks of flooring taped to the wall in order to make that spacing happen. The only problem was, they're too heavy for painter's tape and kept falling. Rob suggested duct tape - you can tell he didn't spend much time painting in that room!
We heard that the first three rows would be the most difficult, and boy, that was so true. The problem with floating floor is that it floats - so even though it interlocks, when we added the third row, the first row popped apart. It went on like that for a couple hours until we took a break to get pry bars to wiggle the first row back in place, without displacing the new planks we just laid. We also made good use of the rubber mallet we borrowed from Rob's sister and brother-in-law, who've put in floors themselves and recommended the tool.
Once we carefully worked our magic with our pry bar and mallet, we were able to get the whole interlocking floor thing down to a science. We had trouble snapping each plank into the one to the left or right of it, because once we did that, it was really had to snap into the floor we'd already laid.
Because there were so many of us working on the floor, we ended up joining a long, narrow row of planks. Then each of us would support a joint or two while we snapped that one long piece into the floor we'd already laid. We also found that it takes a significant amount of firm wiggling to get each piece into place.
(Also, this method does not come up in any instructions I've seen online, so unless you're desperate like we were, I'd stick to the manufacturer's instructions.)
And here's Milou, helping. Seriously, want us to come over and work on DIY projects at your house? Invite our dog and we'll be right over.
We laid the bulk of the floor a week ago Saturday (sorry, this is a delayed blog post) and Rob and Tom trimmed out most of the smaller pieces for the main area the next day. They also used an oscillating saw to cut off the bottom of the trim around the doors in the rooms, to allow the floor to float underneath.
We still need to finish the floor in the bathroom and underneath a large shelf nook in their room, and figure out how to replace the thresholds to two exterior doors to allow for the floor to float underneath. Anyone have advice on that?
Despite the unfinished nature of their floor, what's down looks great and I'm pretty sure it left us all feeling pretty accomplished.
All photos by Erin Lippitz.