I finally started my first home renovation project! Let me tell you, it was an adventure. Ok, it’s still ongoing – I’m not done yet.
After fighting to shove my front door closed for too long, I finally decided it was time to install better flooring in front of the door.
I bought some self-sticking laminate flooring from a local hardware store that was going out of business. I got 3 boxes for only $8 each!
We live on a slab and instead of a wood sub-floor, we have concrete flooring underneath our carpets. This caused a slight issue when installing our floor as opposed to having a wood sub-floor.
- It was a cold day and our door was drafty. Adhesive doesn’t like to stick when it’s cold.
- The concrete kept chipping off when we were taking out the tack strips and nails in the concrete, which caused bits of debris to get in the way of being able to lay the flooring flat.
We are working on installing the same flooring in our front closet, but for now, we have held off. I want to run the flooring the opposite way (horizontal when looking into the closet) so we are on the hunt for the right size transition piece for the closet doorway to transition between the two different layouts of the flooring.
Laying the Laminate
Follow along below for the step-by-step of how we installed some super affordable self-stick laminate flooring onto our concrete sub-floor! Stay tuned for the second part of laying, caulking transition pieces and installing quarter-round in the gaps of the trim.
- Laminate flooring
- Utility knife
- Multi-use floor adhesive – optional. We used it because the adhesive on our flooring wouldn’t stick to the concrete
Prepare The Floor
- You need to get rid of your preexisting flooring. We had brand new carpet installed before we moved in, so this part was really nerve-wracking for me. My dad cut the carpet out because I didn’t trust myself to cut a straight line. To find out how long we needed the cutout to be, we simply opened the door all of the way and added 2 inches to the end of the door. This was done so our transition piece didn’t get in the way of opening the door completely. It’s very important to take this into consideration!
- Once the carpet and carpet padding (hopefully you lucked out like us and didn’t have any staples in the sub-floor to rip out) are removed. Take a flat head screwdriver and a hammer and start knocking out any tack strips around the edges. Simply put the end of the screwdriver under the lengthwise edge of the tack strip and whack your hammer at the screwdriver until it breaks off.
- We also had some nails drilled into the concrete, so we tried hitting the nail heads at an angle so they’d break off. Eventually it worked, but resulted in a lot of debris around the area.
- Vacuum up all of the debris. Every last bit of dust, dirt, carpet fiber and wood need to come off. I also took a wet rag and ran it across the area a few times to clean it off even more. Let the area dry before moving onto the next step.
Installing Your New Laminate Flooring
This step is really best explained using the photo below. The box recommended you measure to the center of the floor and lay your first piece of flooring there and work outward. We didn’t do that.
- This was a small space, not a whole room.
- We wanted to ensure that we didn’t lay our first piece crooked, which would result in everything being crooked, hence we started in a corner.
I outlined each piece of laminate with a black outline in this photo for extra clarity.
- We used multi-use floor adhesive on the concrete flooring to help ensure that the floors stuck. Lay a thin layer of the adhesive down using a trowel and lay the first piece down.
- We then measured how long we needed for the second piece and added two inches (this part will be under the carpet) and laid it down.
- Be sure that any edges you cut yourself are not the edges that you line up with your next piece. Each edge that we cut was hidden under the carpet, so we didn’t worry if they weren’t 100% even.
- The remainder of piece #2 became #3, and was put underneath piece #2. We then cut piece #4 (which had to be cut funky around some trim edging) and used the remainder of piece #4 to become #5.
- We went from there, alternating the pattern like so: right piece long, left piece short, left piece long, right piece short, etc.
- Pieces 11 and 12 were actually the same piece of flooring, just cut in half lengthwise.
Now, hopefully you’ve lucked out either your trim was installed correctly with room to slide the front door under the bottom edge of the trim, or you’re ripping out the trim anyway.
We weren’t so lucky. Two pieces of the trim were installed correctly, so we didn’t need to make any special cuts. Two other pieces were not cut right, and we had to make an odd cut in the flooring to fit around the trim.
The best way to do this is to take a piece of paper and slide it under the trim piece, trace the outline with a pencil and use that as a stencil for the cut on the flooring.
Once your new flooring is down, let it sit and adhere for at least 24 hours before running around on it.
Stay tuned for part two of the story: Installing transition pieces, caulking edges and installing quarter-round.
DIY flooring projects are a lot of work. Lucky for you, we have lots of flooring professionals who can assist you with any flooring needs!
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About the Author: Kristina Barbee shares her DIY adventures on her blog My Own Home.