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Install Laminate Flooring Part 2: The Finishing Touches

Last week, our resident DIYer told us about her experience installing self-stick laminate flooring in her home – her first home renovation project! Kristina Barbee is ready to share the finishing touches on this now-completed project. Here’s what you need to know in order to finish this DIY project and make your new floor look perfect.

A few weeks ago I shared with you guys the step by step process for installing laminate flooring, and today I’m finally sharing the finishing touches to this project!

Supplies:

  • Door and trim latex caulk
  • Carpet trim
  • Wood filler
  • Stain
  • Polyurethane
  • Quarter round

First things first, let’s catch up! At this point, the laminate flooring is all down and should look something like this:

laminate-flooring

Cleaning Up the Imperfections

If you remember from the last post, I shared a photo of some of the imperfections in the trim. These are easy to fill, so don’t worry you’re pretty little head over them!

We ran to the nearest hardware store and picked up some latex window and door caulk – in brown – and filled in the gaps and imperfections in the flooring around the edges of the trim and any gaps between the planks. For the tough spots, I used a Q-tip to apply the caulk and let it dry for a few hours.

laminate

Ok, so the corner shown above was bad, really bad! We tried filling it in with the caulking, but it didn’t look good at all, so I just cut a small piece of flooring and squeezed it in the gap. Then I filled in the remaining gaps around that piece with the caulking.

Obviously, I know you can tell there is a bit of “patchwork” in that corner, but no one is really going to be inspecting this super close and you can barely tell it is there when you come in the door and look at the flooring.

Ideally, I would have not had to do this, but the trim was too low to slide the flooring underneath, so we had to work with what we had.

The next step is to find some carpet trim.

Carpet Trim

carpet trim

We chose the more expensive wood trim instead of the metal trim you can buy. One part was because our carpet was really thick and the metal trim wasn’t thick enough to work on our carpet. Another reason was that the wood trim looked so much nicer, which came with a higher price tag.

  • Our carpet was really high, so we cut the carpet padding out from under the carpet (we cut about 3 inches of the padding out) before installing the carpet trim.
  • Once the trim is measured and the corners are cut to 45 degree angles that meet up, hopefully perfectly, we used liquid nails on the laminate flooring and the carpet to attach the trim to.
  • It’s really easy: squeeze a good amount of liquid nails on the bottom side and down both ends of the trim and lay it down where the carpet and the new flooring meets. The side of the trim that is notched goes where the carpet is and the side that is thicker goes on the laminate flooring.
  • Afterward, you’ll need to set a lot of weight on the trim while the liquid nails dries for 24 hours. We had lots of paint cans to use.

Very important tip: Make sure the weight is evenly distributing to avoid any warping of the wood! We had that happen and had to reglue the end down again due to the warping. This put a big dent in our timeline of finishing this flooring!

  • Once the trim was glued down and ready to go, grab some wood filler for where the corners meet, let dry, then sand the trim down nice and smooth.
  • If you look in the top photo, you’ll see the bottom edge of the trim is showing some glue, we just cleaned it up and covered it with the brown latex caulk.
  • We still had a bit of an issue with the trim meeting up evenly, so we sanded the corner down. To fix completely, we would have had to rip the trim off and buy a new piece, but it is barely noticeable.
  • I picked out a cherry stain for the trim, did one even coat, sanded down any imperfections, then added another layer of stain.
  • Once it was all dried, we added a layer of satin finish polyurethane and waited another day before moving on to the next section.

carpet-trim

Quarter Round Molding

quarter-round

The final step to perfecting your floor trim project is to add some quarter round to cover the new-found gaps between your trim and new flooring!

This step couldn’t be easier: simply measure the length of trim that needs covered with the quarter round, cut the pieces to size, and apply the quarter round to the trim with more liquid nails.

To ensure the trim stayed while it dried, I taped it down while it dried overnight.

The real last step, if needed, is to touch up your trim, sweep and clean up the mess, and then sit back and enjoy your amazing flooring!

Let’s soak it in with some before and afters, shall we?

beforeandafter

Ain’t it grand?

More in DIY

DIY: Install Self-Stick Laminate Flooring

DIY: Refinish Your Hardwood Floors

About the Author: Kristina Barbee shares her DIY adventures on her blog My Own Home.



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