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Friday, June 3,2011

Question: Laminate Flooring!

By Roger Zona  


I’m thinking about having laminate flooring installed. Is this a job I could do?

Answer: Not only can you install the floor yourself, but you will get requests from friends and relatives to do their floors after they see yours! Laminate is a thin, precision cut material with a printed wood pattern – much like the old standby countertop material “Formica”.

A table saw is helpful but not mandatory. An “undercut” saw is necessary when working around doors and the cost is modest - $14 to $16. A wood chisel, though not as neat, will work also.

Laminate flooring prices vary from $1 to $2.50 per square foot. But there is also the cost of underlayment (padding) and vinyl film moisture barrier and tape to factor in. All together you can have a very nice floor covering for about $2 per sq. ft.

If you organize properly and depending on the size of the room, you can complete the job in about 5 or 6 hours.

Some preparation is required but worth the effort. First empty the room of furniture, remove the old flooring and the shoe molding attached to the baseboard at the floor line. Try to salvage the shoe molding so it can be re-installed. If you have linoleum or vinyl tile, you can leave that on the floor. Next vacuum the floor thoroughly. Next, follow the manufacturers instructions which generally are clear and easy to understand. Lay the moisture barrier and underlayment, taping the joints. Be very careful not to force any joint connections. Laminate flooring is precision cut to fit together and can be easily damaged. You will use the undercut saw at the door jambs. Use a scrap of flooring as a guide next to the jamb to be cut. Lay the saw flat on the scrap and cut the bottom of the jamb. The flooring then slides under the jamb when you turn corners into closets or halls. (The hardest part is doing the closets because of the close quarters.) Last, re-install the shoe molding, touch up the joints and nail holes, and voila! – you have a beautiful, easy to maintain floor that will last for years!


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