It's pretty fun remodeling your own home, well sometimes... It's fun when after months of hard, dirty, gross work you get to complete a project that has immediate payoff. So you could I say I was super excited to get my new wood floors installed! I ended up selecting Bamboo flooring for two reasons. Firstly, bamboo flooring is sustainable because it grows so much quicker than other trees used for wood flooring. Once I realized that there was a sustainable option I decided to only look at bamboo flooring for my home. Knowing just how much waste I was creating by taking out all the kitchens and baths it felt really good to finally spend money on something that was more environmentally friendly. And secondly because when I was shopping around Bamboo consistently was the smoothest and softest flooring to the touch and I felt like it would be a delight to walk around on, I was right :).
What hardwood flooring did I use in my DIY flooring remodel?
Bamboo flooring is from Lumber Liquidators, it is a warm dark brown bamboo click and lock flooring. You will also need an underpad when installing hardwood floors and I used this Bellwood premium underlayment.
What Equipment Do You Need to DIY Install Bamboo Click & Lock Flooring?
In order to remove my existing flooring I rented a 20 lb demolition hammer from Home Depot. It took me two days to get up all the grout and tile with a lot of help from my brother!
I used this tool to sand down my foundation so that it was level and then I used these two concretes to fill the cracks in my foundation
I found that all of the above tools were absolutely necessary to complete the project.
Did you know that wood floors need to acclimate for 3 weeks before you can install them?
Before you can install the flooring you will need to let the bamboo acclimate for 3 weeks, so plan ahead and buy it before you need to install so you can give the flooring time to adjust. It is also recommended that you do a moisture test on the flooring and the foundation to make sure that there is no moisture.
Once the existing tile was removed, all the foundation cracks were sealed and any high points in the foundation were sanded down so the floor was level again it was time for install. This took me about 3 solid weekends of backbreaking work, perfect time for acclimating!
I decided to go with a floating floor with a pad underneath it instead of nailed down flooring or glue down flooring because this was the least expensive and labor intensive, win - win!
A couple of things to consider that may help you decide between the two options,
Glue down flooring is:
quieter, more expensive, less cushion, and a less forgiving installation process.
I selected the premium underlayment for soundproofing and for the ease of install. I personally found installing the hardwood floors to be my favorite project thus far and I know it would have been a disaster if I had chosen glue down instead. It was just so easy!
Choosing an underlayment padding instead of glue:
the padding underneath can get ruined if your animal pees on the floor, noisier, less expensive, and a simple installation process
The First Step in DIY Hardwood Floor Installation!
To install the padding you simply unroll the pads with the plastic side facing the ceiling and you will be layering the rolls so that the overhanging plastic on the one edge seals the tape on the other edge of the roll. Once you get to the end of the wall leave a little bit of room and then I cut it with a straight edge and a utility razor. Leave a little bit of a space between the wall and the end of the roll, this will help in case the material expands with the change in weather.
There were a couple of spots where the tape and the plastic didn't overlap or I had to cut the rolls in a way where there wasn't plastic / tape in a spot. In that case I used duct tape to adhere the two pieces together. You just want to be sure that the re is no overlap in the pads, it's better for there to be a small gap than for them to overlap. Once the flooring is down you won't notice a gap, but you will notice the overlap, think princess and the pea :).
Now it's time to lay the wood!
Once all the rolls are laid down it's time to get the boards down to hold the pad in place. I started off with a kit of trim stoppers. that are the width of trim that way there is room for the bamboo to expand / contract with the temperature. The flooring I purchased came with two different board lengths. A full length 5' board and a set of 2.5' boards. It took me a couple of tries before I figured it out but the trick is that there is no pattern. If your flooring comes like this you need to intermingle the long and short boards in a random pattern. I found it easiest to lay out a couple of boards so I could compare with the rows already laid down and just kind of adjust before cutting the ends to the desired length. I used a whole board as my starting point and then I moved on from there. I don't find it to look unnatural looking in any way. If you'd like to make a cut to your first board to start you can, but if there's no pattern to the boards no one would be able to tell if you used a whole board or not to start with.
How to join the flooring across multiple rooms different rooms?
This was the hardest part for me. The trick is that once you complete one room and are moving onto the next to make a guide line of precisely where you need your flooring to end. Then, install your flooring as normal. Get to where you cannot do another row without covering the line, and measure how much room you have left, cut the width of the boards for the entire next row using the table saw to meet the difference. This is going to be your first row. Your can either unblock all of the boards and simply start over (this is actually quick and easy if you keep them organized in their rows) Or if you have a window along the back wall, you can take a crowbar and simply "scoot" the floors forward so you can fit in the narrow first row into place. Once the first row is installed work on the next row, the first row that is combining rooms. The boards should lock into place easily the whole way down. If they do not, you need to adjust until everything is square or else it will get to a point where you cannot lay any boards down because they're no longer lining up. That's the beauty of click and lock flooring it stays square as you lay it down.
How to install the thresholds in hardwood flooring
I only have thresholds in two spots the doorway into the bathroom and the front doorway. I did not do thresholds from one room to another with wood flooring I made it continuous as described in the prior section. When I was purchasing materials the employee recommended getting a threshold if I had a spot that was longer than 30' and I do think that the depth of my house is over 30' in one spot but I knew that a threshold would cheapen the look and that it would create an unnecessary toe stubbing opportunity. So I opted out and I don't regret it one bit. I was told that if after the fact I had a boards popping up because there wasn't baseboard close enough to hold them in place I could go back and add a threshold easily and I see now that it's not a problem at all. Although to be honest I don't know how it could possibly be an "easy" fix lol, so good thing it's not an issue!
How to install baseboard molding to finish your DIY Hardwood Flooring Project
Finishing touches at last! Installing the baseboard is going to make the biggest difference in your home and will really transform and update any home. I recommend going with a very tall and flat baseboard especially if you want a modern look.
Once you have your baseboards picked out you will need to paint them. I used the same paint as I used in the entire downstairs of my home, which you can see in this post here. Once the baseboards are painted then you can start attaching them your walls. It sounds so easy right? Measure and pop them on and once you get to a corner cut at a 45 degree angle using a saw. The difference between this looking like a DIY project and really transforming your home is going to come from two things. First, you need to make sure and get molding in all those tiny places, which means not leaving any wall exposed without it, even those minuscule little sections between the wall and the doorframe. Second, once you are done attaching everything to your walls you need to go back and caulk all of the gaps between the wall and the baseboard and between each baseboard and fill in all the holes from nailing in the baseboards. Then you will paint over all the patchwork and voila you're done!
The finished result of DIY Designer Flooring
Look at that glow!!!Now I'm just dreaming of a Roomba because this cat hair is no joke!