Monday, May 11, 2009
Installing laminate flooring...
It's no secret that I loathe and abhor carpeting. I think it's nasty, vile, germ-ridden diseased fluff on your floor.
Ok, maybe not your floor.
But on most floors.
I hate it.
When I bought my house a year and a half ago (wow! That went by fast!), I swore that I would tear all of the carpet out of my house and replace it with something less horrid. I decided on laminate. I decided on this laminate from Sam's Club.
Well because zebra striped bamboo flooring was a little out of my price range. And because I wanted something neutral for when I sell my house in a few years. Oh and because it was inexpensive and something we could install ourselves.
Now I have been talking about this for the better part of the last year and a half so my brother and family were well aware that the day would come when they would all be reduced to slave labor and we'd spend a weekend (or five) tearing the carpet out of the house and laying down new floors. I'd been printing up instructional suggestions and emailing my brother informational sites for months. His response was more or less that he'd mess with it when and if we ever actually did it.
I'm pretty sure he didn't think we ever would.
Last weekend, we did.
The week before I went out and bought enough flooring to do my living room and office area and when I got home, the looks on the faces at my house were surprised for sure. After unloading almost eight hundred pounds of flooring into the house so it could "adjust to the climate of the household," I think everyone believed me.
But just because it was there didn't mean we were going to install it, right?

Last Friday I went out and bought all of the stuff one needs to install laminate flooring.
These things were:
**A laminate flooring install kit.
(This bad boy is completely and totally necessary. It was twenty bucks at Home Depot and totally worth every penny. It has tools specifically made for laminate flooring installation. If you don't have one, don't even think about trying to install this flooring. You will fail. And cry.) **A miter saw.
(You need a blade with fine teeth. I don't know anything about blades, I got a 200 because the dude at home depot said those were REALLY fine teeth. My brother said this worked but burnt a little as it cut and he wouldn't recommend using it. I think that a 90-120 would work. I read that somewhere. I take no responsibility for a 90-120 not working. I don't even know what 90-120 means. Leave me alone.)
**A table saw.
(Same blade situation as above.)
**My brother insists that you have a grinder. And since he did 99.9% of the work, I think you should listen to him. He is now a laminate floor installing god.
**Tape Measure
**Exacto-knife, pliers and pry bar for removal of the carpet
**Knee pads

Once you have acquired all of these things, you will need to recruit some children. Yours will do but if any of their friends want to spend the night, get those children too. And then make sure you have enough pairs of pliers for all of your children. I did.
The reason you want the children is two-fold. The first is to help pack up and move all of the stuff in the rooms that need carpet removal to a temporary space in another room.

Some of them may get cranky.

But some of them will be happy and willing and cheerful.

The second is to have little people to help speed along the process of removing the carpet. And if you are unlucky enough to have them, the staples used to hold down the carpet padding. Trust me, this would take a lot longer if you had to remove the 4,821,557 staples used to hold down your carpet padding alone.
A. Lot. Longer.

Here is the floor when we started.

Here is my crew all energized and ready as the carpet starts coming up.

Still happy and energized.

Amanda's taking a juice break. Notice that she is wearing her volleyball knee pads. My brother really wished later that he had knee pads.
Really. Wished.

Lunch break. You'll notice I've recruited the neighbor-boy.
He didn't last as long as the girls did.

Please ignore the fact that Amanda is wearing pink polka-dotted socks.
She owned the pry bar. She put that bad boy to good use.
She, single-handedly, pulled all of the tack strips up.

Which greatly improved her mood.

The energy level got a little low here.

You'll notice my brother, The Laminate Flooring Installing God, has awoken and is now surveying the work we women have done and grunting his approval.
And wishing he had went out of town.

The kids are tired but almost done.

Now once your carpet is out, leave.
Let your brother do the rest of the work and go have a margarita somewhere.
He won't mind.

Or stay and help.
You'll find that the only real help you can be is to hand him new pieces of flooring as you go and help with the math of how many pieces you can lay at a time and getting beers.
And my brother, The Laminate Flooring Installer God, will tell you the beer getting was really the most useful thing I did.

Here is the first line of flooring.
Notice the spacers. These are very important because floating flooring expands and... despands? hehehehe and shrinks with the weather and needs a 1/4 inch between it and the wall on all sides.

Blades are sharp. Don't stick your hands on them.

This is Noah, The Laminate Flooring Installer God, looking puzzled.

Three rows.

Pick a color Mamma.

It's dark now.
But it's still Saturday.
We got a bunch of work done for a Saturday.

Now we're going!

Now it's about eleven o'clock. We don't care. We want to get the living room part done so we can move the couches that are currently sitting in my kitchen back so we can use the kitchen again.
However, we have neighbors now and using a saw at eleven o'clock at night pisses your neighbors off a tad.

We said screw the neighbors and finished the living room by about midnight.
Here's the little slaves helpers playing on the Wii Sunday morning.
Yes, I am painfully aware that I need new couches.

It started going a little faster once we got out of the big room.
Note - Be SUPER careful not to step on the edges of the flooring while you are installing it. A few times, my brother, The Laminate Flooring Installer God, put his knee on one of the edge pieces and broke it.

That little corner piece was a pain in the ass.
I think it took like thirty minutes.
It was at this point that Noah, The Laminate Flooring Installer God, said when I put this on the Internet I needed to tell everyone THEY HAD TO HAVE A GRINDER.

Once we got out of that corner, things sped up.

It was all, snap, tap, saw, snap, tap, saw, snap, tap, saw.

I love the fluidity.

It was at this point that I realized we were getting VERY LOW on flooring and I crossed my fingers that we had enough to finish.

Uhm, we didn't.
We were about three pieces short.

Note: If you need another box of flooring at 6:00p on a Sunday from Sam's Club, I would recommend you check your Sam's Club card for Sam's Club's hours of operation. Because they close at 6:00p here. This will save you driving all the way into San Antonio for nothing.

This is my brother's sweaty back installing the final piece of flooring on Monday afternoon. You'll notice that the edges of the flooring are crooked and jagged, this is ok because we will be putting down trim.


That was fun huh Noah, Laminate Flooring Installer God?
It'll be super easy to do the rest of the house right?

Then we had to start putting stuff back.
This is the window seat/shelf that my brother built for that wall.
The turtle lives there.
And my cute "If you're lucky enough to be Irish, you're lucky enough" sign.

And here are the cast of tools. Noah, The Laminate Flooring Installer God, put his hand in there since it was one of the tools too.
Hardy har.

And that's it kiddos.
We have a hallway and four bedrooms to do but we aren't in quite as big a hurry for those as we were for the living room and office. If I plan it all out well, we should have them done by the end of the Summer.
You can see the entire set of pictures taken here.

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