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When we moved into our home our main level had a combination of engineered hardwood and shag carpet. Since moving in almost 5 years ago we’ve gotten a dog and had a child and that’s meant lots of spills, stains, and scratches on our original flooring.
I’ve wanted to replace our flooring with plank flooring for a while and decided that it was finally time! We don’t currently have the budget to hire a team to install new flooring so I took on the challenge of going the DIY route.
I used Tile Shop’s Luxury Vinyl SPC flooring in the color Madera Miel. These 7”x48” large-format planks are installed as a floating floor with a click-lock system. They have the look of wood flooring with higher durability and lower maintenance. They’re scratch resistant and completely waterproof.
It was important for me to find a flooring that was easy to install since this project was something I was going to do on my own. This Luxury Vinyl SPC flooring doesn’t require any special glue and can be cut with a utility knife (I recommend a jigsaw and/or circular saw for rip cuts and rounded cuts).
We hired a team to pull up our original glued down engineered wood flooring and I pulled up the existing carpet on my own.
It’s important that surfaces are dust free and properly leveled before laying down the new flooring. There were some areas on our subfloor that needed to be repaired and leveled. I used a self leveling underlayment as needed to create a smooth and level surface. If it’s not possible to get a completely level floor across an entire main floor of a home I recommend leveling each room separately and using transition strips between each room.
One of the added benefits of The Tile Shop’s Luxury Vinyl SPC flooring is that each plank has a built-in cushioned underlayment. No additional moisture barrier or separate underlayment is needed or recommended.
Most homes don’t have perfectly straight walls or 90 degree corners so it’s Important to make sure the line of your first row is straight because all other planks will follow the first row. There’s a great article published on Hunker Home with a step-by-step of how to start a first row of flooring if your walls are not straight. I used a chalk line on my subfloor to help keep my first row striaght.
Circular Saw (optional/as needed)
My goal was to have continuous flooring throughout the entire main floor of our home. I took on this project in phases working one room at a time (starting in my kitchen). I started in a back corner of the room and ran an entire row before starting the next row. I used floor spacers to ensure there was an expansion gap of at least 1/4th inch from any solid obstacle (this allows for proper expansion and contraction of the floors).
One thing that’s important to keep in mind is that the first and last planks in each row should be at least 7” long and staggered a minimum of 7”. There are full installation instructions included in the packaging.
I found it was easiest to install the flooring with the tongue of the planks facing opposite of my starting wall. To ensure the flooring planks were appropriately clicked and locked into place I connected the short end of the plank first (leaving a slight gap down the length of the board) and then used my tapping block and mallet to then secure the long end of the pank into place until it locked securely and laid flat. The pull bar came in handy when working in tight areas and along some walls.
Inevitably there were areas of our flooring that required rip cuts, cross cuts, and rounded cuts. Rip cuts and cross cuts can be done using a utility knife. Once I determined the dimensions I needed for my cuts I used my utility knife to score the underside (the cushioned wear layer) 3-4 times and then bent it until the plank snapped. For more precise cuts (odd angles, outside corners, and door jams) I used a combination of my circular saw and a jigsaw.
I installed two transition pieces for my installation. A transition strip between my living room and dining room, and a stair nose on the top stair that leads to our basement. Installation for both of these pieces was simple and outlined extensively online at https://installationadvice.com.
When installing around door frames It’s important to undercut the door jamb so that the flooring can slide underneath and create a clean look.
Once the flooring is installed it’s important to properly trim out the rooms. Opted to leave my original baseboards installed and finished my skirting with quarter round. Regardless of the route you might take when installing your flooring it is important to install some sort of skirting along the perimeter of your rooms leaving a slight gap between the skirting and the floor (this allows for proper expansion and contraction).
I moved rather slowly with installation since I installed it myself. I ultimately installed about 1,500 square feet of flooring. For large spaces it took about 45 minutes to install an entire box of flooring (about 28 sq/ft.) Tight spaces and areas with odd corners and door frames do add additional time for measuring, fitting, and cutting. With little or no distractions a standard bedroom could be completed in a day.
I am extremely happy with the final result of this installation and in the flooring itself. Our home feels much cohesive and larger now that we have a single style of flooring running through the main floor of the house. The low maintenance and high durability is something I’ve enjoyed having as well. I don’t have to worry about our dog scratching up the floor or my daughter putting in huge dings when she’s playing with her toys. I’m excited to have durable flooring that will last no matter what we put it through.