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D.I.Y. floating laminate floor

Kind of a Big Deal
Kind of a Big Deal


Laminate flooring installed in a living room by renovators with no previous experience.



The project


My husband and I had a go at installing a floating laminate floor in the living room. We are D.I.Y. beginners. After reading other great posts about D.I.Y. flooring projects on here and getting helpful advice from the experts, we had more confidence to try it ourselves. 

I will share it with you in the steps below but I have to say that you need to follow the instructions from the flooring supplier, as they may be different to other suppliers. We purchased our flooring from Bunnings. It had to be ordered through the Special Orders Desk and they were really helpful. It is Floor Select Laminate Flooring 8mm Syrah Oak


As always, please make sure you wear the appropriate protective gear. Earmuffs for cutting the boards on the electric mitre saw and jigsaw, safety glasses and a mask for the dust. Even though we did our cuts outside, we still wore masks. Wear safety gloves and masks for cutting the carpet and for underlay removal. Also, keep in mind you are working on the floor, so we had knee pads and a kneeling pad




Step 1


I cut the carpet into pieces and rolled them up so it was easy to remove and take outside. I did the same for the underlay as well. I was really surprised how heavy carpet is. Just keep that in mind so you can work safely. The underlay was stuck in a lot of areas, so I used my floor scraper to remove it easily. I then removed the carpet tack strips. Geez, be careful with that and wear gloves. I removed the nails that held the strips onto the subfloor. Unfortunately, as carefully as I could to remove them, chunks of concrete came off with the nails. At this stage, the swear jar came out.

I filled the gouges with a multipurpose filler suitable for the job and it worked a treat. I had to use a grinder to cut a few nails at the base as the head of them had snapped off. Then I filled the gouges. 

You have to really keep the subfloor clean and free from debris, so I kept vacuuming as needed. 




Step 2


Once the subfloor was clean, I was able to measure the floor area. Now, because the room has different sizes of walls and a separate wall that acts as a hallway, I measured the room in two parts. Length x width to get the square metre measurements. 

Please remember you need to allow for cutting, mistakes, etc. so add approximately 10 percent to your total. We just ordered an extra pack of floor and it was enough. Also, you can see we decided to leave the skirting boards on as we had plenty of clearance for the floor and underlay. 




Step 3


We went in the store, had a good look at the flooring displays, chose the floor, and ordered. Once it arrived, we went and picked it up. We purchased 10 packs and we were spot on with the measurements, allowing for extra.


Now, the instructions advise to place the flooring in the room where it will go and allow it to acclimatise for 48 hours. All good. After that, I unpacked the boxes and mixed up the boards so there was no pattern repeating. It looks more random and natural when done.  




Step 4


Have your cutting tools ready outside or in your shed. Have your measuring tools ready. I had the vacuum handy to keep the subfloor clean from debris or you can use a broom and dust pan.

Now, we wanted a better quality cutting blade for laminate floors, so we purchased a Diablo Pro Cutting Blade, it has a cleaner finish. That’s just what we wanted to do. 

We chose to put down the QEP Acoustic Pro Underlay. It’s certainly well worth it. It cuts the noise right down when you walk on the floor. We followed the instructions, which advised to use underlay, but I believe you don’t have to as these boards have underlay attached to them. 

Before you start, just lay a few boards down as a “dry layout “ to see how many you need for the rows, for the random pattern and so you can practice how to click them in as well. Remember that the joins must be all staggered. 




Step 5


Now this is where hubby helped, as I will honestly say that it was easier to have someone work with you, especially as we are beginners. We found it easier to lay the underlay in sections and not all at once.
We worked from right to left and moved backwards, if that makes sense.

I can’t say this enough: measure and measure again before you cut. We did and still made a few mistakes but learnt from it big time.




Step 6


We used off-cuts as the shims/wedges as we worked from the skirting boards. You must allow approximately 10mm clearance right around the floor to allow for expansion with the temperature changes. Once we had a few rows down, we placed a couple of 20kg bags of blue metal we had in the shed to stop the floor moving as we knocked the boards together. That was really important. Make sure you use a rubber mallet, the block and the pull bar as you are going along.  




Step 7


With every cut we made, we brushed down every board before fitting it, so that there was no sawdust or debris caught in the grooves. This can be a problem if you are trying to click the boards together and they don’t join up properly and you force them. That damages the tongue/groove and the board is no good to use. Yeah, it happened once and you realise how carefully you need to treat the boards. 




Step 8


When it came to tricky cuts, we used the jigsaw. Finally, the floor is complete and it is time for the quads to hide the gap between the floor and skirting boards. 

Please don’t rush it. It’s not a race and we still made a few mistakes. It's been a massive learning experience and we know what to do if we progress throughout the house. 






Step 9


I purchased 15mm Tasmanian Oak Quads - Quarter Round. I gave them three coats of Walnut Stain. We knew we couldn’t perfectly match the skirting board colour but it was close enough.


My husband cut them to size and attached them to the skirting boards, not the floor. He pre-drilled the holes and nailed them in. He also attached the transition strips from tile to floor with construction adhesive and weighted it down overnight. These two jobs were fiddly and more of a one-person job, so I started working in the shed, which will be my next project.






Step 10


And there you go, so far so good. That’s how we installed our new flooring. Thank you for having a look. I know the experts can definitely explain it better than me. But I tried. It’s a new learning experience for me.



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