You can read part one of laying a floating floor HERE. It shows how we stripped the carpet and installed the underlayment. Today, I’m going to talk through how we installed the actual floor. As I said in part one, we’re not professionals at this, so this isn’t meant to be a comprehensive tutorial, but more of a testimony of our experience.
I was a very good blogger and took lots of pictures as we ripped out the carpet and installed the underlayment and then I got tired and the sun set (so my natural lighting went away) and I just wanted to finish, so this was the last picture I took. When we lay the floors in the bedroom, I’ll take more.
As I said in part one, laying the floor was the easiest part of the project. Since it is a floating floor, there is no gluing, nailing or sticking…just locking each piece into place. We have nailed and glued floors before and this is definitely my favorite method of installation. That’s a big bonus for the interlocking floating floor. You will still need a table saw and a chop (mitre) saw. You can probably get away with a pull saw instead of the chop saw and a circular saw (along with clamps and a straight edge), but it will make your life easier and the job go faster if you have the proper tools.
The most important piece you’re going to put down is the first one. This should be in the most visible starting place in the room. In our case, it was the threshold that connects the family room to the kitchen. The reason for this is that your room (or my room) might not be perfectly square. Even if the floor is perfectly square where you started, it might end up looking crooked when you get to the other side of the room. If there is a crooked edge, you want it to be as hidden as possible. The first piece needs to be square, straight and firmly in place, since all of the other boards will go off of that one. If it’s crooked, your floor will be crooked, which will look especially bad if it runs the length of a room. I can’t stress enough to take your time with this piece and get it right. Once it’s in the right place, tack it down with a couple of nails to hold it in place. We hid our nails under the lip of the threshold (which we haven’t installed yet.)
Another thing to keep in mind is that you need to leave about 1/4″ perimeter around the entire floor. Wood expands and contracts as the humidity changes and you want to give it some space to do that. You can cover this gap with baseboards and/or shoe molding (quarter round.)
Once that first piece is installed, you can start clicking the floor into place…
You can see the layers of the engineered hardwood floor. Hickory on top, MDF in the middle and thin plywood on the bottom.
Here are some other tips…
- Have your chop saw in a place that’s easy to access. You don’t want to have to run to the basement every time you need to make a cut. (Well maybe you do, but I didn’t!)
- Save the waste you cut off of boards at the end of the one side of the room and use it to start the next row. This will give you irregular lengths to start your regular sized boards off of, staggering the joints.
- Lay the floors how you read. Top to bottom, left to right (as you’ll looking at the board, not the room.)
- Stagger the joints. It makes the floor stronger and it looks better when they are staggered. The pattern should be intentionally random. I know that’s an oxymoron, but if it’s totally random, you might have seams line up.
- Know that some areas are going to be time consuming. The area around our bar took forever, because we had to rip (cut lengthwise) the boards and make some angled cuts around the peninsula. Don’t get frustrated when you’re stuck on a section. Once you hit open flooring, you’ll fly.
- Use a scrap piece of flooring or wood and a hammer to tap the boards tightly into place. Don’t ever hit the floor directly or you could accidentally mar the finish or dent the wood.
- The nice thing about a floating floor is it’s very forgiving. If you mess something up, you can pull up the boards and redo it. It should be a low-stress project and this type of flooring is a good option for a beginning DIYer.
I hope that helps!
You can see the full room reveal HERE
Right now, I’m in my hotel in Houston! I’m getting a bit of rest before a milk paint demo and book signing tonight at Altar’d. Can’t wait!