Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Autumn Project

Autumn is approaching, and so too is my desire to get back to some home improvement chores.

We've decided, for a variety of reasons, to take up all the carpet on the second floor of our home. The carpet was never really very nice. It was contractor-quality carpet that was installed when we built our home. The carpet is now eleven years old, having lived through the toughest toddler years of our children. It is riddled with stains that won't come out, and sags and creases that don't look nice. Plus, every allergist in the nation will tell you to remove your wall-to-wall carpeting as the first step in improving your allergies. In short, it's time to get rid of it!

We did a fair bit of shopping around, and finally decided on a laminate flooring. The laminates have come a very long way in the past decade. Most of the higher quality laminates are almost indistinguishable from real wood. What's more, laminates are more durable than wood and don't require refinishing every ten years or so--a major chore we just completed on our first level.

The laminate flooring we chose was a brand called Witex™ Town and Country "Honey Oak". This one, manufactured in Germany, has an AC4 rating and comes with a 30 year residential warranty. We got a fairly good deal by purchasing it from FastFloors.com. The total cost of all materials is just about $4500 for over 1000 square feet. Not bad, really.

We chose this color as the closest match to our existing first floor hardwood flooring. Becky and I liked some of the more exotic choices, like "Old Hickory", but the smartest thing to do was to choose something almost identical to our existing oak flooring. We didn't want someone who walked up our stairs to see the contrast and remark, "Oh, Laminate!" Mostly, we just want to floor to disappear into the background.

As to the installation, that we will do ourselves.

The process should be fairly straightforward. First, we move all the furniture and rip out the carpet and padding, removing the tack strips along the walls.

Then, after smoothing and patching any problems in the subfloor, we lay down the acoustic padding (which reduces the "plasticky" clicking sound of walking on the laminate and provides a moisture barrier to the floor below).

After this, it's fairly simple to begin snapping the pieces into place, leaving a 10mm expansion gap around all the walls. Door jambs will have to be trimmed so that the laminate can slide under them, and I will have a variety of complex miter and jig-saw cuts to fit into the odd nooks and crannies.

Finally, we install quarter-round on all the baseboards (to cover the expansion gap), and add the threshold pieces interfacing with the tile, attic carpeting, and the wood stairs to the first level. Hopefully, it should take no more than a single weekend.

When we're done, the floor should look something like the following, though this is not a photo from my house:

4 comments:

mom said...

You are so "Grandpa Guier" in your home improvements. You give all the details. Come to think of it, most of the Guier's are detail oriented!Moi included!

I'm sure the floor will look lovely. I'm eager to see how it wears - since it may be an option when we get our retirement house. I do love the Old hickory look too!

mdautrich said...

We put laminate down in our old house & I loved it. The trickiest parts were the transitions from room to room - Jimmy had some crazy jigsaw cuts to do. He was getting ready to install one of the weirdest pieces & needed my helpt to get it in place. I told him to hang on a second while I went to the bathroom & I would help him....aparently I was not fast enough & he tried doing it himself, very unsuccessfully (it snapped). Of course his impatience ended up somehow being my fault.

Can't wait to see the end product! We're going to do wood or laminate again sometime soon. Our carpet is nasty from the kids & dogs.

Adolfo said...

I wished I live closer. I'd be happy to help you installing it.

Scott said...

I wish you lived closer too!

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