This was actually my favorite part of this project. I hadn’t really had any experience before, but it’s a pretty simple task.
Before this, the last time I installed floors was in my childhood home when I helped my mom lay peel and stick laminate flooring. This was a bit different 😉
Closet Renovation Recap:
- How I Got Started with DIY
- Attic Closet Renovation Part 1: Structural
- Attic Closet Renovation Part 2: Paint
Selecting what type to use
Just like with my paint, I didn’t really have a plan here. Don’t worry, this isn’t a running theme on my projects, I learned pretty quickly how important design boards are after this project!
Luckily, the flooring I chose worked out here. I still absolutely love it!
I walked into a Lumber Liquidators, only knowing that I wanted a floating flooring option. This would mean it’s easy to install and cost-effective. That was my only criteria!
I was fortunate that the employee was very helpful. He explained to me the difference between laminate and vinyl, and the different types they had in stock. I knew that I didn’t need waterproof or water-resistant, so I could really choose anything. However, I knew that I didn’t want to spend more than $500.
When I saw this glossy laminate flooring, I kinda fell in love. I hadn’t really seen anything like it, and I thought it could reflect light really well in a small space. I didn’t really think too much about it and placed the order that day. Bonus: with the underlayment and threshold piece, the total came to only about $325! It was a major win.
I would note that although I do still absolutely love this floor, it’s pretty delicate. I wouldn’t plan on installing it anywhere that has high traffic or could risk water damage. I already have a two-inch scratch right in the front area because I simply didn’t realize how delicate it was.
Step 1: Clean the subfloor
This is really important, and even though I thought I had done a good job, I needed to do much better!
If you leave any debris underneath, you’ll be able to feel it underneath the floor and it may either not sit right, or you’ll hear the dirt and dust as you step on it.
Step 2: Install the underlayment
I ended up going with the most affordable type, which comes in a roll form that you end up cutting and laying down with tape as you go. This was fine, but I’ve since used this Cali Bamboo underlayment, which is much simpler!
I laid down the first two rows and came to the realization that I was installing it upside down. This probably would’ve been fine, but as I mentioned, I didn’t clean the subfloor that well. When I went to flip it over, it was covered in dust and dirt that I had missed. Because the tape was losing its stickiness already, this became quite difficult and cumbersome.
I also had trouble getting it to stay down and lay flat on the subfloor because it wasn’t sticking well. It just wanted to keep rolling back up on me. Working in a space with a sloping ceiling and trying to deal with this can get frustrating pretty quickly! Yes, I banged my head many times and was walking with a hunch for quite a while after this project!
I ended up just laying down the first two rows, and then began laying the floor. The weight of the floor helped to keep it flat.
Step 3: Install flooring
This flooring was really easy to work with. There are a lot of tips out there on the best way to get your rows started, but I basically just winged it. This definitely could’ve come back to bite me in the butt because of the weird angles of the room, but it worked out and the pieces ended up fitting great.
Since I didn’t get any progress photos of this, I’ll skip the step-by-step for now, but stay tuned for a future project!
Step 4: Transition piece
This is essentially a piece that makes sure the new flooring and the exiting flooring transition nicely and makes it easy to walk over. There are different types depending on if your floors match in height, or are on the same plane.
You’ll leave a small gap to leave room for this piece, then you basically just plop it in, and install it. Depending on where it is, you may need to seal it for moisture, but all I did was pop a couple of 18 gauge nails in and called it a day!
There are a couple of things you want to keep in mind:
Make sure the floors don’t butt up completely with the walls. They will expand and contract with temperature changes, and you don’t want them trying to expand against the wall because they’ll end up bowing.
But, don’t be like me and leave too much of a gap! There are installation kits that you can buy which include spacers. This would’ve been helpful since I was basically eyeballing it and some of my gaps are a bit too big!
Stagger your seams so they are at least 6 inches apart. Twelve inches is preferred if possible. When the seams are too close together, they are much weaker and they won’t hold as well.
This also means you don’t want any end pieces to be less than 6 inches long. It just won’t be very strong and you risk the possibility of that piece moving around or popping up.
Use a scrap piece to tap pieces together. I ended up using the sample piece I was given and it worked great. Using a rubber mallet is recommended. You can also use a tapping block instead, which comes in this installation kit.
Don’t forget to follow along for the next stage of the attic closet renovation!