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Laminate flooring installation-my experience

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Laminate flooring installation-my experience

Post  roddie on Sat Nov 26, 2016 10:58 pm

My wife Lynne and I bought Laminate flooring last March from a local Lowes home-center store to do a small room in the basement; installed over a cement floor where cat-urine soaked carpet and padding had been.. (where's the stinky emoticon..) Doh!

My wife bought me a compound miter-saw last Spring to do the job. I used it for the first time this past week. It's a "floating" floor that uses a tongue/groove type joint that locks together. Each piece has an integral pad on the bottom.



Installation over cement requires laying-down sheets of moisture-barrier.



This was a first for me.. but I had a good helper with the right equipment..



Laughing The first course or two of flooring was a bewildering learning experience.. but got easier with subsequent courses and learning the technique with the installation tools. Being a "floating" floor; there are 1/4" plastic shims supplied to maintain an expansion-joint between the new floor and the walls. The staggered-shims don't provide a "solid" backboard for tapping-in the following 2-3 rows when starting. Achieving tight-joints at first, took some patience.



There are two installation tools for this flooring design. They work quite well for their intended purpose. One is a hard-plastic step-block with a lip that fits down along the top of the floor's tongue-joint. I used a heavy rubber mallet to strike it. The other tool is called a "pull-bar".. and is a 12"L. piece of flat-steel plate with 90 degree opposing angles bent on the ends. It's used at the end of a course when the flooring is too close to the wall to effectively swing a hammer to seat the end-joint of the final piece. The end piece is cut to provide the 1/4" expansion-joint.. so this tool hooks over the end.. and gives you 12 linear-inches to smartly swing a hammer. I chose to use my True-Temper "Rocket" A20R.



Here's the saw that Lynne bought me.




A table-saw is required to rip the edges of the first and last courses of flooring. One must do the math on the flooring-width and # of courses, so as not to end on the far side of the room with an excessively narrow course.

Instructions advise pulling each piece of flooring from a different box to assure color/shade symmetry throughout.



No job is without its gremlins it seems.. and this one was no exception. The closet door-casing was too low for the flooring to fit under. Too low by #$%&ing microns.. Doh! Huh... Huh... Huh... Huh...



The X-acto razor-saw did the trick.. but I might need shoulder-surgery soon. I found my back-saw.. and used it for the other side; which was still laborious. I don't own a reciprocating-saw.. and there wasn't enough clearance to use one if I did.

The finish is "Marcona Hickory"



Overall I'm pleased with the installation. It took about 10-12 hours over two successive days to lay the 144 sq. ft. including the challenges along the way.

Other helpful tools/supplies are;

A. a white "Stabilo" (grease-pencil) to mark the flooring-pieces for cut-off. It's much more visible than pencil-lead on dk. wood. They can be sharpened to a point in a std. pencil-sharpener.. and are more accurate than a crayon for finish-work.
B. a rigid, flat, chisel-tip scraper for tapping-along the top base-board joint, and break the paint/caulk-seal for removal.
C. a claw-hammer/wrecking-bar and backing wood-blocks for prying-off the base-board.
D. a vacuum-cleaner.
E. a cold-chisel to shear-off leftover nails from carpet tack-strips. (cement floors)
F. an awl to help remove expansion-shims after the flooring is installed.

"Stabilo" grease-pencils in my pencil-jar. White and blue, from when I worked at the sign company.

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Re: Laminate flooring installation-my experience

Post  Cribbs74 on Sun Nov 27, 2016 12:49 am

Next time lay a piece of laminate by the door moulding and mark where you need to cut and use a small fine toothed hand saw. You could also use a reciprocating plunge cut saw.

http://www.acmetools.com/shop/tools/milwaukee-2426-22-m12-lithium-ion-multi-tool?cm_mmc=Google-_-PRODUCTFEED-_-MILWAUKEE-_-2426-22&CAWELAID=600009240000028832&CAGPSPN=pla&CAAGID=38240588762&CATCI=pla-268284154726&catargetid=600009240005308523&cadevice=m&gclid=CP2ireOryNACFdY6gQodWTYJZw
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Re: Laminate flooring installation-my experience

Post  ian1954 on Sun Nov 27, 2016 5:09 am

I use a reciprocating saw for this task but it needs to cut into the wood. Sounds daft but it needs wood both sides of the blade - mine doesn't like taking of small slivers if that is the right term for end grain.

The best saw for this is a Japanese pull saw for flush cutting. The pull cut is much easier and less strain. The blade is flexible and so you can get into a comfy position.

http://www.screwfix.com/p/irwin-double-edged-pull-saw-7-17tpi-9-5-241mm-/33430?kpid=33430&cm_mmc=Google-_-Product%20Listing%20Ads-_-Sales%20Tracking-_-sales%20tracking%20url&gclid=Cj0KEQiAperBBRDfuMf72sr56fIBEiQAPFXszU1SP2SZFqewI8ZZsCXX3xL2ge1D2rSKJ263eN_n0ZwaAhEN8P8HAQ

I like the pull saws, especially the flush cutting ones, but they tend to be disposable as they are difficult if not impossible to resharpen. Then again, that is true of the newer traditional blades with hardened teeth.
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Re: Laminate flooring installation-my experience

Post  getback on Sun Nov 27, 2016 6:33 am

Where is the finished product Shocked My cousin and i laid flooring in my bedroom and it turned into a disaster , floor warping had to screw some of it down and cut out sections , still got an arch in the floor were you walk DAMMIT! Good to see you got the flooring in and a new saw Wink
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Re: Laminate flooring installation-my experience

Post  KariFS on Sun Nov 27, 2016 7:59 am

Laminate flooring is quick and easy, once you get the first couple of rows installed, and until you get to the last row... I like it because there is no sanding or painting required, but it is surprisingly demanding to the straightness and stiffness of the layer below. And it is surprisingly easy to dent the edges and corners, even though the finished installation is very tough.

I have done a couple of rooms, not my favourite job but OK I guess. I would love to have real wood floors like in my previous house (a log house built in the '50s) but this house has concrete floor downstairs, sheetrock upstairs and in-floor heating in both, so tile and laminate it is. I am a bit curious about vinyl and cork floors, vinyl is installed a lot like laminate but is less slippery and even more scratch resistant. Both of these qualities are beneficial for dog-friendly floor.
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Re: Laminate flooring installation-my experience

Post  fredvon4 on Sun Nov 27, 2016 8:12 am

Wife and I did the nearly exact same task a few years back in about the same sized, 140sqFt, bedroom... Unknown to us when we bought this house...the builder seemed to go out of his way to not make anything in the structure square and plumb...

I doubt ANY corner in this house is close to 90 degrees...makes these DYI jobs a real pain especially installing floor or ceiling moldings where every corner needs the actual inside or outside angle determined and cut for....grrrrr

On the flooring the room was wider by 1 inch on one end and none of the four walls were parallel to the opposing wall....grrrrrr

Thankfully, between her math skills, and my wood working ( and good tools ) we got it done in about the same two days.

We hired out the other three bedrooms to have tile flooring installed...

Happiness.... 21 year old carpeting finally all gone and our allergy loads reduced significantly....
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Re: Laminate flooring installation-my experience

Post  pkrankow on Sun Nov 27, 2016 9:01 am

I have done this, but it was a full nail job not floating. A vibrating saw did wonderful things for getting the door jambs properly cut (same for tile too)
https://www.lowes.com/pd/BLACK-DECKER-13-Piece-2-5-Amp-2-Amp-Volt-Oscillating-Tool-Kit/3725198?cm_mmc=SCE_PLA_ONLY-_-ToolsAndHardware-_-SosPneu,Air,RotaryShopEquip-_-3725198:BLACK_&_DECKER&CAWELAID=&kpid=3725198&CAGPSPN=pla&k_clickID=f1efeacb-b029-4507-acbc-0dafe1cc7a43

Just use a piece of scrap or put a piece of paper on top of the wood to lay the blade on. It will slowly take less than saw thick slices if needed.

We used a thin, narrow plunge saw blade for taking out the extra wood. In our case since the room was full inch thick mahogany paneling (I have never yet seen another room like it, and it was this way when my parents bought the house) sawing out the entire bottom of the starting wall ended up the best answer. Keep in mind there isn't much wall going to the floor after 3 doors and a large cold air return is accounted for. The largest section of "wall" going to the floor is about 8 inches.

I have also laid real solid hardwood. I prefer 3/4 inch thick instead of 5/16. The process is surprisingly similar other than the locking feature on the laminate products.

Phil
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Re: Laminate flooring installation-my experience

Post  crankbndr on Sun Nov 27, 2016 9:04 am

I used to buy Hitachi tools for commercial use and found them to be above average quality, also Delta and Porter-Cable but they seem to have slipped quality wise.
Nowadays Ryobi is good enough for my home duties.
Nothing like working on your knees! Get a bench and put the dust bag on! lol!

I carried that True-Temper hammer for decades than they were gone. Is a vintage classic.
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Re: Laminate flooring installation-my experience

Post  fredvon4 on Sun Nov 27, 2016 9:36 am

About 5 years ago my son Xmas gifted me the Rockwell version (Lowes) of one of the vibrating saws and when I opened it I thought it an odd tool and wondered where I would ever use it... surprisingly this was just before the laminate floor job and the room did have three doors with casing to the floor...superb tool for near zero space slicing....

there are many blades and I have used it to de grout tile, remove thinset off concrete after tile removal, sanding in tight places, lifting tiles, plunge cutting large tenons, put a dowel plug in a hole and slice off flush, removing left over Liquid nails from paneled walls after pulling the paneling off...I actually use this tool a lot for many DIY home tasks... son and his friends have all "borrowed it" and occasionally I have to ask for it back... funny how I was skeptical when I got it and now find it one of the must have tools in my KIT of stuff

Very highly recommended tool....I have no brand recommendation....my el cheapo Rockwell tool seems well made and takes a lot of abuse...I would not hesitate to buy the Harbor freight version if I needed a replacment
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Re: Laminate flooring installation-my experience

Post  roddie on Sun Nov 27, 2016 2:09 pm

Yes, the vibrating saw that many of you mention, would have been key.. had I had one. One thing we should have done before painting the room.. was to remove the baseboard. Now.. after the fact; there's a ridge where the top of the old trim was, that will need sanding/filling and repainting.. because the replacement baseboard will sit lower by approx. 1/4". The old baseboard was 3.5" high.. and the local home-store stocks 4.25".. so I'll buy a few pieces of that size. 12' runs are expensive.. @ $17 to $21 each! Shocked
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Re: Laminate flooring installation-my experience

Post  rsv1cox on Sun Nov 27, 2016 2:59 pm

A couple of years ago Lumber Liquidators was selling laminate flooring made in China that caused all kinds of concerns after 60 minutes did a story about carcinogenic compounds from the formaldehyde used in the manufacturing process being released into the air. They have since stopped sourcing from China.

This house has Pergo laminate used throughout, padded up stairs, un-padded down. Takes some getting used to after years of carpeted flooring in Florida.

I used left-over laminate to surface my work benches. Works great, but it ate up the finish blade on my miter saw. I also used it to make engine stands for my Enyas and others.





Great job roddie!
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adding music...

Post  roddie on Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:08 pm

Thanks Robert! It's been a while.. but this weekend was chosen to move the piano (digital) into the newly-floored/painted room. Lynne and I used to do music here at home pretty often.. but it's been on the back-burner for WAY too long.

I rehearsed with the band earlier today.. but was home by mid-afternoon. Lynne has been wanting to move the piano into the room.. so we did it.

some pics..

the space...



the move from our other basement-room; terribly over-crowded with "catch-all"... look at the dust.. my bad.



lots of wires to disconnect before moving. Not just the piano.. but also powered-monitors that we use to sing through. Then there's the mixing-console.

Lynne had a beautiful mirror that she wanted to hang over the piano. It's a 25-30lb. mirror.. so I needed to hang it right.

It was made in Rusty and Eric's part of the USA..






The powered-monitors (speakers) atop the piano are "Mackie" HR 624 THX certified jobbies.. Laughing Their designed for "critical listening".. which means that all of you should have a pair. Laughing
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Re: Laminate flooring installation-my experience

Post  roddie on Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:40 pm



The mixer is also a Mackie product (CFX12) which I've had for 15+ years.. (same as the monitors) It's an analog mixer. Today's high-end mixers are digital.. and can be completely controlled via Wi-Fi. They're simply amazing. When performing "live".. any band-member possessing a smart-phone can down-load an app to control their monitor mix. A soundman can control the entire mix using a tablet from anywhere in the room within Wi-Fi range. This really helps to get a good "overall-mix" by listening to the main-system from alternate points in the room. Behringer; a pro-audio company that became a player 15+ years ago, entered the market as a cheap bargain-brand producer of amps and effects-processors. They undersold EVERYBODY. Their products were affordable for the low-budget/working-musician.. and appealed to "parents" of kids that were trying to get a band together. They copied (pirated) circuit-designs of the high-end offerings.. and sold enough units to offset the cost of the legal ramifications involved. Years later; they bought "Midas".. who was making some of the best studio and live-sound mixing-consoles in the world. Brilliant marketing....

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