Sunday, January 13, 2013

DIY: Laminate wood flooring project!

We did it!  We laminated the upper level of our new house.  <swoon>  When we moved into our house, the entry foyer was vinyl (linoleum) along with the kitchen, and the dining room was.... CARPET.  Carpet in a dining room?!  Yeah.  Anyway, good ol' builder grade.

Sooooooo we decided that SOMEDAY we'd remodel that, and hardwood floor the area.  Down the road a ways.  A few years from now.  Haha.  We were making a weekly visit to Home Depot last week, for our trash drawer project, and AGAIN saw their pile of Hampton Bay laminate wood flooring, stacked so nicely in the front of the store.  And again, saw the price tag of $.99 per sq ft.

Ninety-nine cents per square foot.  After crunching a few numbers, we decided we could spend the $300~ on the project!  We called up a friend to help us DIY install it, to save some money as well.  He was happy to help, as he floored their house 5 years ago.  THE ENTIRE HOUSE.

Brian went back the next day, and bought 11 boxes of the laminate.  We bought a few misc. tools as well.  Yesterday, we got to work!  It was REALLY easy to do. We removed the carpet and vinyl first, and then all the baseboards. Eight hours of actual install time, and less than $400 later, and we have BEAUTIFUL wood floors.  With a 40 year residential warranty.  Yeah.  Happy dance!

Here's a cost breakdown:

  • 220 sq ft laminate: Hampton Bay "Saratoga Hickory" 8 mm
             ($.99 sq ft: 11 boxes @ $23 per box; ~$250 w/ tax)
  • laminate install kit ($18)
  • "QuikStep" underlayment, 1/16", 2-in-1 ($85)

Other items needed for install (borrowed or owned):
  • table saw
  • miter saw
  • hammers
  • pry bar
  • putty knife
  • nail gun
  • staple gun
We used the pry bar, putty knife, and hammer to remove our baseboards (hammer the putty knife vertically against the wall, between the wall and baseboard; do this along the length of the baseboard, and GENTLY pry off the baseboards)

I won't post a full instruction write-up for this; we followed the manufacturer's install instructions, along with the underlayment instructions included.

Long story short, you roll out the underlay; ours have a tape strip to tape to the next row.  We nailed a VERY few areas down just to hold the underlay in place.  Make sure to hammer them flush, or remove them before installing your wood.

Once the underlay is ready, start laying your wood pieces.  Ours were 6.25" wide by 48" long.  We cut smaller pieces with the miter saw, keeping them at LEAST 16" in length, and 3.5" wide. (to fit odd spaces)

Simply click the pieces together to make sure they are locked in place.  Continue through the room, finishing one row before starting the next.

Be sure to leave space for any MOLDINGS you need: at our front door, we'll need a "reducer" molding; we left 1 3/8" of space between the end of rows of wood and the molding of the front door, to install the reducer piece.

We also left 1.25" space between the wood flooring and our KITCHEN vinyl.  We'll install a T-molding there, as the heights of the floorings are the SAME.

The last row was a bit tricky, to make things fit.  Our flooring and room aren't 100% square in dimension, so we ended up with a slightly slanted last row against the wall.  Brian simply cut a 1/2" wide piece of laminate that would fill the leftover space between the wood and the wall/baseboards.

We had such a great time installing this, we're considering buying a few more boxes of the laminate, while supplies last, to floor our bedroom, closet, and possibly hallway.

Without further ado, here are some progress pics!

After peeling up the vinyl, Brian scored the pressboard underlay with a circular saw, set to the depth of the underlay.  After scoring it, he pried up the wood with a wonder bar

Floor demolition: THIS WAY!

All done!


  1. This looks great! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi Sarah, How are you liking the laminate floors? I saw this Hampton Bay sample at Home Depot and loved the color, texture and plank width. We're considering putting this throughout our home. I'd love to know how it's holding up for you. Thanks!

  3. Carrie, apologize for the delay in response! We LOVE our floors! We've had it for over a year now, and it looks as nice as the day we installed it. The one thing to note: this particular laminate DOES SCRATCH if you drop anything sharp and/or metal on it. Keys, silverware (maybe), heavy items.... we have several gouges from pointy items being dropped. HOWEVER, these gouges don't show, they are small. If you are careful, it will last for years. Oh and dog claws don't even phase the floor. It's just heavy metal sharp objects that hit the wood with a pointed end. Anyways, I hope that helps! I would recommend getting the 8mm or thicker laminate. We are considering putting in laminate in our bathroom / closet, and the lower guest bath, etc. WE LOVE IT!

  4. Thank you so much, Sarah!!!

  5. This is an older post so not sure you check comments but just in case.....I'm curious now that your floors are in and you have been using them, how you like them. Also, my parents had a laminant floor put in a while back (things have probably improved since then) that look great but when yo walk on them there is a definite laminate/plastic type sound to them. maybe even a little creaking when the pieces join. Curious if you notice any of that with your floors or if it seems pretty solid like real wood? Thanks so much for taking the time to respond!

    1. Hello! We love the floors! Have had them for 3 years and they are amazing. YES - when walking in heels, it's a higher pitched sound, sort of sounds like plastic. In regular shoes / bare foot, there's no sound. We have NOT had any creaking or squeaks in between pieces. My nephew and family have "engineered hardwood" in their house and it squeaks a lot. Very annoying! But our laminate doesn't creak.

  6. I have engineered hardwood in the common areas of my house. It is a solid glue down and doesn't squeak at all. However, in my office I'm thinking about putting down laminate, and your laminate looks almost exactly like my hardwood! Because of the rolling office wheels and stuff dropping all the time, I figured that would be the best, less painful solution and wouldn't make me crazy. Yes, I'm a little nuts when it comes to my hardwood in the rest of the house, but I really need something that I can enjoy worry-free. And yours is beautiful and knowing that it still looks good years later, really is a good referral for the product.

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