Monday, March 19, 2012

Living Room: New Floor

It's an interesting story on how this happened.

My husband and I were cleaning up the kitchen after breakfast one Friday morning.
I said to him. "Honey, today I should hang the picture frames I've been working on.
But I don't feel like hanging picture frames. I feel like ripping out carpet.
Should I just go with it?"

And he said "Sure babe."

So I grabbed a screwdriver out of the junk drawer and I pried up a corner of the carpet and pulled.

At which point my husband ran over and said, "Woah! What are you doing?!!?"

And I said "You told me to go with it. Too late. This carpet is going NOW."

He stood there and scratched his head for a minute.
(I don't think he was listening to me before hehe.)

But, when I began struggling to move furniture out of the way
he climbed right on board like the trooper that he is.

I talked about getting wood floors for the basement HERE.
Well, guess what! I was able to talk my fantastic man into going back the next day
and getting enough to do the rest of the house.

The living room's carpet was in the worst condition so I've been hankering to start there.
We have lived in our house for a little less then 2 years.
Before we bought it it had been a rental for a few years, so some things were pretty banged up.

The carpet and paint especially.
We have repainted almost everything, so now it's time for the nasty carpet to go.

The boys were out of school for the day, so we summoned them to help with the demolition.

Let me tell you how awesome it is to have four sons available to haul everything out to the trailer.
It was like having my own crew!
Wait a minute, I do have my own crew, WOOT!

I don't even want to think about what those yellow stains around the edges could be from.
I get the heebie-jeebies just looking at these pictures of the old carpet.

Even the little guy helped, it was great.
My husband kept encouraging the kids by saying,
"The family that works together, goes out to eat together."
So we did.

The next day, we began to lay the new floor.

It is a laminate floor that we got from Costco called
"Vineyard Cherry." by Harmonics Flooring.

*** Update ***
We did this one room to start because we wanted to see how well we liked it before we did the rest of the house, this is our most "lived in" room, and with four rowdy boys and a dog it gets pretty abused. 

1. Would you do this in a bathroom?
No I wouldn't. We put it in our little half-bathroom and it looks great, but it is starting to swell/buckle in a corner by the toilet. It's not really noticeable, in a few years if it starts to look really bad we will replace it with tile. So I guess you could use this flooring in a bathroom, it is really working fine. Just don't expect it to last forever. If you only want it in there for a few years is should work for you, it's inexpensive enough that replacing it later won't break the bank.

2. How hard is it to install?
It will take a few days and lots of elbow grease, it is not a walk in the park, but it is not super difficult. The planks lock together, there is some wiggling, pushing and grunting involved, maybe a little cursing, but all in all it was easier to install then other laminate we have tried.

3. How is it holding up?
Great! It has been a year and a half now and it still looks just the same. The boards have not shifted or separated. There are no noticeable scratches or dents. I take that back there is one a small half-circle dent where my son droped our cast iron dutch oven. The foot of the dutch oven left a bit of an imprint. But it's hard to see, it held up really well for having a 45 lb. cast iron pot fall on it. I worry about the imprint a little though because if it gets wet it will swell. Maybe I'll paint over that spot with some clear nail polish.

4. Does it have a fake or "hollow" sound when you walk on it?
Years ago we put laminate in another home, it looked great but it had this "hollow" sound that I hated. This floor for some reason does not have that sound. I think maybe because the foam pad is attached directly to the back. It did create an echo, but I put some rugs down and that has helped - no more echo.

5. What about stairs?
We did do stairs, however, we didn't use the vinyard cherry laminate. We used a 2 x 12 and stained it with "Pecan" by Cabot stains, which we found at Lowes. It is a pretty perfect match. We did one coat of stain and then we did 3 coats of pollycrylic in a satin finish. They look great. We hope to do the rest of our stairs this way. The stairs are not holding up as well as the floor, the stairs are pine, so the wood is not as strong, there are a few dents and dings. I like dented and dinged wood so this does not bother me, it works for us. Also it was very inexpensive. I have not done a post about staining the stairs, but I did take a photo of them with my iphone.

*** Back to the instillation ***
It went together like a dream.
We've had laminate floor before, but this one was a little different for a few reasons.
#1. You put together the individual planks which are 4 1/2 inches wide, instead of a group of planks.
I feel like this makes it look more like real hardwood.
#2. The other flooring we've put in was lesser quality then this one and was therefore harder to install.
This was so easy, I would recommend it to anyone.

Important Things to Know About Installing Laminate Flooring

1. Prepare the sub-floor well. Pull all the staples, nails etc and clean the sub-flooring.
    You will sweep and vacuum about 5,000,000 times.
2. Watch the instillation video on the manufacturers website. And watch it again.
3. Have the appropriate tools.
    We only needed a jig saw and a miter saw to cut the wood.
    We also had an installation kit, which included various rubber stoppers and pry-bars for 
    coaxing difficult pieces into place. And a nifty saw that you can see in the above picture
    for sawing under the door jams, so you can slide your floor under them for a more
    professional, cohesive look.
4. Give yourself a few rows to figure it out. It always takes us laying about 4-5 rows of the floor
    to get in our groove and understand how to best get it to fit together.
5. We install "shoe" molding around the existing molding to make it look finished
    and to cover any mistakes.

This is definitely a project that someone with medium carpentry skills can handle.
Just be sure to do your homework.

While all of our furniture was moved out I decided to paint our family room.
I was never "in love" with the green color I painted last year.
And I have to say the neutral color it is now goes much better with the look I am going for.

Heres my computer desk where I sit and type, edit and have fun with you nearly every night.

Oh! It's just perfect don't you think?
Hold on, not quite perfect.....

NOW, it's perfect.
My house isn't ever quite right when it's not full of children.... And a dog.

I also really love how the little bathroom that's off the living room turned out.
This bathroom was the first thing that we re-did when we moved in.
I hung the board and batten myself.
This is the room that taught me how to use my husbands air tools. *smile*
The new wood floor compliments it so nicely.
I just wish it was easier to take a picture of a really small space.
Maybe you should just come over and see it.
You are all invited.

"But Rachael, aren't' you worried about having laminate flooring in a bathroom?
What if the toilet overflows?" You ask.

Yea, we thought of that.
We bought a new toilet to go in there.
This is a special "No Overflow" toilet.
Watch the video, pretty smart.
It has these holes at the top that prevents overflow's like a sink or bathtub.
GENIUS! They are available at Lowes.

"Geez, Rachael. Whats is it with you and posting your toilet on your blog?" You ask.
Sorry about that. But at least this toilet is shiny and new.

Not everything is 100% done in this room.
We still need to tackle the stairs that lead into this room from the kitchen.

Updated photo of the stairs.
See my F.A.Q's in the middle-ish of this post to learn about how we did this.



Jillian McKenzie said...

Love it!

Jason McIntyre said...

Just put these in our living room, kitchen, hallway and bathroom and so far we love these floors as well. Looks like you guys did a great job on yours. Nice work!

Nuf Said said...

good job. installed about 700 sq ft of the same product, good stuff. even used it on the stairs with harmonics nose. for those doing this the 1st time, while it's a uniclic click lock style, don't expect it to be lego. this is physically demanding, allow yourself time and go slow.

Nuf Said said...

well done rachel. we'd installed the exact same flooring over the past year and a half. feels so much cleaner than old carpets.

for those that haven't done this, this work does require much elbow grease so don't expect it lego like.

Oak Flooring said...

I think it looks so much better!
A great family effort also ;-)

l-arginine said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Liam Thomas said...

Fantastic job, really appreciate for sharing your experience with us, i am also thinking to remove the carpet from the living room, it has been there for five years and now it is time to get something new.

Leilani said...

Thank you for your review and helpful tips! We are definitely going to be buying this laminate now. You should get a commission!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your honesty and direction. I am hoping that our rooms will turn out as lovely as yours. I was worried about my two little dogs, but if you have four boys they certainly would be a wonderful test.

Marty Lagerstedt said...

We put some of this our basement, and want more. Costco does not seem to be selling it any more. Do you know where else we may be able to get it?

Liz said...

I have been looking at all the various options for flooring before I rip out all the carpeting in our house. I eyed this stuff at Costco a couple days ago and thoroughly appreciate all your "real life" information about it as well as your pics! I too have an active family with animals included so I need something that doesn't cost a small fortune but is still beautiful AND practical. I think I am headed back to Costco! Ummm, can I hire your kids to help?...they look like experts to me! :o)
Thank you so much!

Kate Smith said...

I'm so happy to hear you like your flooring because we are considering putting it in our home. We have prefinished wood floors and my three dogs have just ruined them over the years. I liked the Vineyard cherry floors at Costco and right now they are $8 off a box. You have a lovely home!

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree about this floor. We just had this exact floor installed last week (800 feet of it). We chose it because it looked like a high quality laminate and we couldn't afford the wood I really wanted. It looks fabulous. I have no complaints about the looks, but it is very noisy! I am so disappointed. It has a weird hollow, plasticy sound when you walk on it. To the eye it looks like a wood floor, but the moment you step on it you know it isn't. Every step the dogs take you hear their clicking toenails plus they slip and slide on it like crazy. At this moment, I feel like ripping it out. I came on line to see if other people had the noise problem. My husband says to give it another week or two for it to 'settle in'.

It was recommended to not use an additional padding since it already has an attached underlay. We only had a moisture barrier put down. The floor was checked to make sure it was level before installing.

Anyway, I hate it. I'm trying to not get too angry and hoping the noise goes away.

Rachael said...

That's too bad, we don't have that problem with sound, not even with my dogs toenails. Do you have any rugs on the floor? That might help if there is an echo.
When we first put down the floor it did make sounds in the house echo a lot more, but I put a rug in each room and that has helped.
If you really do hate it I'm pretty sure Costco will take it back. I would call them and see what they want you to do, it's worth a try.
- Rachael

Rachael said...

Our Costco here in SLC still carries it, maybe they can ship it for you.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for posting this. It gave me an idea what this particular flooring would look like in our new living room. I was worried it would make the room look too dark, or that it would be too high maintenance with children. It looks great! Just wondering if you found this shade of laminate to be difficult to keep clean. My aunt warned me about how you see every piece of dust on dark floors, and we have a white cat, but it doesn't seem as dark as say the hazelnut shade also sold by Harmonics. Any thoughts? I'm really leaning towards this, as the sunset acacia's orange-ish tone seems less versatile as far as what colors would look good with it. Thanks again!

Matthew Rings said...

Great article. Can you tell us what you paid for each box and the square foot coverage of each? Is there a variety of lengths in each boxas there are in solid wood floor boxes? Thank you!

mesutter said...

I have used this Vinyard Cherry in the living room and dining areas of three condos - two of them are rentals. This laminate is very durable and I've had absolutely no problems with the exception of one small area near the kitchen of one unit which suffered minor water damage at one of the joints. Costco no longer stocks this in their stores, at least not in California, however it is still available online at $34.95. The bad news is that they charge $9.99 shipping per box.

I would not personally use it in the kitchen or bathroom, but Quick-step,who makes the laminate for Costco, has specific instructions (on-line) for sealing the edges in wet areas. I'm getting ready to do a bedroom in one of my condos next week, again in Vineyard Cherry. I found 15 remaining boxes in the Lake Elsinore store, and I drove 70 miles to pick it up. Even though it is a discontinued store item, I was unable to negotiate a discount. Still beats paying the shipping (no free store pick-up for me n-line orders).

Obviously, I highly recommend this flooring. The uniclic locking system is the best in the business, and I believe the ACA durability rating is 4 (1 is the worst, 5 the best). Costco still has Harmonics flooring in the stores, and it should have the same ease of installation and durability, if you like the available colors. I'm partial to the Vineyard Cherry!


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