Getting the most out of your room addition or home makeover project begins with installing new paint, furnishings and home décor. But many times, the flooring goes untouched and the tone of the room really doesn’t change. By installing floating wood floors, you can turn any room of the house into a work of art. Wood floors can cost you a fortune to have installed. With these four simple steps and a few basic tools, you can easily install your own floating floor at a fraction of the cost of the real thing.
Step One: Prepping the Area
One of the biggest hurdles to overcome is prepping the area. Before you begin any work, it’s extremely important to bring in all of the materials into the room you are going to install them in and allow them to acclimate to the area for at least one week. This way, no warping or open gaps will appear in the material after it has already been installed. Cut the top edges of the baseboard with a utility knife, and then gently pry the boards loose. Use a long scrap board to prevent damages to the walls when using the pry bar. Remove any carpet and carpet tack, then thoroughly sweep and vacuum the space. Where trim from interior doors touches the ground, you’ll need to use an undercut saw to cut out enough for the flooring to fit underneath. Take a loose floating floorboard and a piece of foam underlayment and press it against the trim. Use a pencil to make a mark around the trim and then cut it away with the saw.
Step Two: Installing the Underlayment
Once the area’s clean, roll out the underlayment against the longest wall of the room. Cut the materials so that a ¼” gap remains around the exterior against the walls. Overlap the edges according to the directions and seal the seam using the provided sealant or clear plastic tape. Ensure the underlayment is flat with no humps or overlapping pieces and you’re ready for the next step.
Step Three: Installing the Flooring
Most floating floor materials use a click-lock type design that creates a tight bond between the gaps without the need for adhesives. Start your first row against the longest wall. Shim the first row away from the edges about ¼” from the wall. When you reach the end of the row and you need to make the cut, simply flip the board over and make a pencil mark ¼” short of the overall distance between the board and the wall. Use a miter saw to cut the board and take both pieces with you. Install the first board, then take the leftover cut and start the next row with the cut. Continue snapping in boards and taking the cuts to start the next row until you reach the opposite wall.
Step Four: Installing the Baseboard and Shoe Molding
Reinstall the baseboard as it was before, but you may want to touch it up with some paint first. Shoe molding is necessary to cover the gaps that form between the baseboard and flooring. You can easily cut shoe molding with a coping saw, especially around tight corners. A little paint, caulk and wood putty will fix any holes or minor scuff ups that may occur from the reinstallation.
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