Installing flooring is a complex task. The right tools, materials, and precise installation methods are essential for a professional-looking result.
Unlike traditional broadloom carpet, luxury vinyl planks are simple enough for a homeowner to install themselves. But even if you’re comfortable using power tools, there are a few tricks to know that will make your DIY project go much more smoothly.
If you have a plan in place, it’s much less likely that a mistake will cause your new flooring to fail. Flooring professionals know how to install floors and will factor in any repairs into their quote. You can save money by doing your own flooring installation but it’s important to take your time and follow instructions carefully.
Vinyl sheets and some laminate floors can be installed by DIYers with ease but even these floors require careful planning. Take the time to lay out your planks to acclimate them to the room. Use proper tools like a sharp utility knife for clean cuts and precision fittings. Plan for transition areas in doorways and between different types of flooring using matching pieces if possible.
Carpet tiles are the easiest flooring to install yourself but regular old broadloom carpet should be left to the pros. If you’re installing carpet in a space that contains large electronic appliances, it’s recommended to have the appliances disconnected prior to flooring installation.
Don’t Start With the Longest Wall
Many homeowners are hesitant to take on flooring projects because they fear it will be too difficult. However, installing flooring is actually a very straightforward project and can be completed by most people with minimal DIY skills.
Using a stud finder, locate the studs on your wall and mark their locations. It is important that your wall has adequate studs to support the weight of your new flooring. It is also a good idea to remove vents, outlets, and trim prior to installation.
Start your first row of flooring with the tongue side against the wall. This will help frame the area and establish a straight line. Be sure to leave an expansion gap between the flooring and wall – this is very important and will allow your floor to flex as it expands or contracts throughout the year. It’s a good idea to use spacers in this gap to ensure it is maintained. The size of the gap varies by flooring type.
Start at a Doorway
Installing new flooring in your home can make a huge difference. However, it is important to remember that a good floor installation project relies on proper planning and preparation. If you’re not comfortable or confident in your DIY skills, it might be a better idea to work with a professional flooring contractor.
If you are installing a laminate floor that is not floating, it is important to start at the doorway and place wooden spacers between your laminate and walls. This will allow for expansion and prevent damage to your walls as the laminate settles.
It is also important to install a transition at any doorways that lead to rooms with different floors. This will create a clean appearance when walking from one room to the next. Transitions are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they snap into place easily. To find the right transition for your floor, consider its thickness and height.
Make Cuts for Your End Rows
When you reach your end row, you will need to make a cut. It is a good idea to scribe this cut before starting, so you know exactly where to install it. To scribe, simply set full boards directly on top of the last row installed and mark where they meet with a pencil. It may help to use a straight edge or another piece of flooring lined up with your pencil marks.
For lengthwise cuts, you can easily snap together a section of four or five planks, then slide it against the wall and mark the outer edges with a pencil line. If you need to, you can shim the space up to create the proper expansion gap.
Try to stagger the seams in each row, rather than having them all line up evenly. This will help to ensure a more visually appealing installation. Staggering the rows also helps to prevent wavy flooring in the future.