Easy-To-Install Flooring for the DIY’er
Easy Installation makes Homeowners happy.
By Matt Weber
Wood floors that require air-nailers, staples and construction adhesive for installation can intimidate would-be DIY’ers and prompt them to call up a contractor. However, many of today’s easy-to-install floor systems make it simple for even first-time DIY’ers to renovate a room with only a few basic tools. A variety of user-friendly flooring products now give home enthusiasts the ability to outfit a room with the look of new wood in just a few hours. Here’s a look at three different methods currently on the market.
One of the most popular choices for DIY installation is click-together laminate flooring. Laminates are manufactured from high-density fiberboard planks covered with decorative sheeting and a clear plastic wear layer. The flooring comes in a vast array of wood appearances, such as oak, cherry, walnut, beech and tons more options. Many new laminate flooring lines show remarkable attention to detail with realistic textures on the top surface, from the look of worn, rustic wood to high-gloss finishes.
Compared to solid wood flooring, laminate flooring is notably less expensive. Durability is another key feature. Many laminate flooring products are impervious to most stains and very resistant to scratches. The boards are prefinished at the factory and often feature a built-in sealant to help protect against moisture absorption. Some laminate flooring manufacturers even offer a lifetime wall-to-wall warranty against wear-through, stains, fading and water damage from everyday spills and damp mopping.
These floating floor systems are typically installed with tongue-and-groove boards that connect along the edges at a slight angle, with the plank then folded downward to “click” the joint together, locking the boards into the floating floor. No nails or glue are used to fasten the boards to the subfloor; instead, the completed floor floats like an assembled jigsaw puzzle, held stationary by weight and friction.
Installers will need a circular saw for cutting the planks and a jigsaw for notching out obstructions, but the majority of the installation can be completed with little more than a hammer and block to nudge together the tongue-and-groove joints.
A similar product to laminate flooring, engineered flooring features a layer of genuine solid wood roughly 1/8-in. thick atop a fiberboard core instead of the decorative sheeting. The engineered products offer the unique grain character of real wood, plus they can be sanded and refinished (usually only once). These products install just like laminate floors but are generally more expensive.
The EHT staff recently installed the Kensington Manor laminate flooring from Lumber Liquidators. The most unique feature of this flooring line is its hand-scraped finish texture, giving the surface of the floor a beautiful rustic look and feel. We chose the “Warm Springs Chestnut” color tone, and Lumber Liquidators backs the flooring with a 30-year warranty.