All throughout the bonus room renovation project, my plans for the floor never really changed. We were going to be ripping up the old carpet and installing laminate flooring, but I wasn’t sure of the color. I watched endless YouTube videos and read up on the experiences of other DIYers beforehand. Since the room was so big, I was worried about what could get screwed up until I saw a floor at Sam’s that had good reviews and was not as expensive as I had expected. If it all went terribly wrong in the beginning, I would only be out about $25 in materials because it would only take one box to figure that out. I couldn’t NOT try to install a floor after we had DIY’d every other project in the room, right???
Sam’s carry’s a brand called Select Surfaces for $1.74 per sq ft. I somehow correctly measured and figured the square footage using a math FORMULA that miraculously popped out of my brain. I know….it’s an easy calculation for most, but this gal hated math and why did we need to know the area in grade school anyway???? (Eye roll!)
Even though I got mostly C’s in Math, we only ended up with about half a box of extra flooring when we finished. Thank you to all the elementary school teachers that tortured me with numbers! If the formula doesn’t come rushing back to your brain, no worries. They’ve got a handy little chart to help you out!
This flooring comes with a pre-attached foam backer and you don’t need any nails or glue to install. It was perfect flooring for a novice because you just had to use a little force to snap the planks into place. This all seemed easy enough, so I chose the Cocoa Walnut color. Select Surfaces has a wide variety of colors. Check out their website here: Select Surfaces. The only bad part about buying this product at Sam’s is having to move these heavy boxes or finding someone who can assist you in the store. FYI, you can order this product on the Sam’s Club website with free shipping. I found that out after the fact.
Here is the stack of 17 boxes in the foyer. I’m going to have to call in a heavy lifter to help me get them upstairs. I could open each box and carry a few planks at a time, but that would take forever. Help is on the way!
I read that this floor is extremely durable and the hand scraped effect makes it look more expensive. Anything would be an improvement compared to what was there before. Here is a glimpse of the old carpet after removing the first strip. That berber was about 10 years past the point of needing to be replaced. It was awful!
The sub-floor didn’t seem to have any sagging, but we soon found out otherwise. Once we started, Dad noticed the entryway sloped a bit and then there were other saggy spots around the room. I read online from other DIY installers that you could use roofing tiles to even out the floor if needed. That’s much better than trying to use self leveling compound. You’ll want to use a heavy paper in between the roofing tiles and planks so that they don’t stick to each other. The floor needs to float so that it has room to expand a bit. Here is a pic of the roofing tiles. Luckily, I just had my roof replaced and there were leftovers.
Once you get the floor inside your home, it will need to acclimate for a few days. Mine had a few weeks. HA-HA! Another thing to know about laminate flooring is that each box will contain a mix of patterns. There are about 5 different wood grain patterns and you need to group them all together so that you can be sure to stagger the planks when installing. It was a little difficult at first to recognize the pattern, but once you zone in on a particular part you’ll start identifying them quickly.
Here is a picture of the different stacks, once we opened the boxes.
You still need several tools for installing laminate. I wanted to try using a laminate cutter, but you can use a miter saw. Other tools included a pull bar, mallet, spacers and tapping block. That’s it! Not too bad. We started with the first row and it went pretty fast after that.
Ughhh, that carpet was so bad. I was glad to see it go. Remarkably, the closets still looked great and I decided to leave those carpeted. We installed the transition strips for the closets on the inside of the doors.
I had to use a throw pillow for my old knees! It’s a little tricky getting the planks to snap together in the beginning, but you get the hang of it. Hold the plank at an angle, shove it in the groove and press the plank down. You can use the tapping block to make the seam snug and move to the next plank. Always stagger the seems so that it mimics a real wood floor. You’ll need the pull bar when you get to the wall. Select Surfaces offers a nice video for instructions here.
We just cut up shingles for the low spots and stacked where needed.
It looks so good! I’m ready to put this stuff everywhere upstairs.
It didn’t take long to finish, which really means a couple of weeks off and on for me. Let’s remember that I do have a job and I have to wait for the in-house contractor to have availability on his retired calendar. This room probably could have been done in a day or two, but I need lots of breaks and I become easily distracted with other projects.
I would have saved myself years of carpet heartache if I had only done this long ago. Honestly, it was a whole lot easier to install than I thought and it didn’t cost an arm and a leg. If you’re considering installing laminate as your next DIY project, you might want to consider using Select Surfaces. It’s beautiful, durable, easy to install and budget friendly. If you are doubting your DIY skills, don’t. If I can do it, so can you!
Check out some of my other DIY projects here!