Monday, May 6, 2013


Over the weekend, Shane and I laid the new wood laminate floor in our kitchen/dining room. By new, I mean it had never been installed. But it wasn't actually new, since we bought the supplies a couple of years ago when we bought the back door. Like I mentioned before, things get a done around here but it can take a while sometimes.

We started around 9:30 on Saturday morning. It took us about an hour to move appliances and furniture in to our living room. It looked like a flea market or some used furniture stores I've been in.

The demo work started around 10:30. Here is our old floor:

It was in pretty good shape, but had two qualities I didn't like. It showed every speck of dirty and drop of a spill, and it only looked good if I cleaned it by hand, buffing it dry as I did. It didn't matter what I used to clean it, if I didn't buff it out, it looked streaky and felt sticky. Of course, having to hand-mop it meant that I didn't clean it as often as I should have.

But the real reason we ripped out the old floor was because our old sliding patio door had leaked and caused water damage to the first couple of feet of flooring in front of the door. In this pic, you can see the floorboards had warped and lifted, and we had screws in them to try to hold them down. The board farthest to the right is chipped, too.

We knew the brand of the floor, but were unable to match it because it was an older style. We tried to save the good parts of the old floor as we took it up, but the slats had been glued together per old-school installation practices, so it came up in broken pieces. Oh, well -- we tried.

Underneath, we found vinyl. Looks like a 1980s pattern to me. It was in surprisingly good shape, but not our style.

It was 11:30 or so when we started the de-squeaking phase. Close examination in the basement revealed that hardwoods were under the dining room side of the room, while the kitchen had plywood sub-flooring. We aren't sure if it was always that way, or if the kitchen floor had been replaced. In any case, all but one squeak was in the old hardwoods.

To eliminate them, we located each squeak by foot, then Shane sunk screws through the vinyl and into the hardwood in the general area until the noise was gone. Some areas needed just 1-2 screws, while other squeaks needed many.

De-squeaking took a couple of hours, at least. Normal people would have stopped for lunch right about now, but we worked through.

We put down the underlayment, then began laying the floor boards at around 1:30. We started at the back door and worked our way in, cutting boards at the end of each row, and cutting in around cabinets and the niches where the stove and fridge sit. The first few rows were slow going, but we found our groove toward mid-floor, and were experts by the time we reached the inside wall.

Still, with all the cuts, this was a time consuming job. The last board went down at 9:00 p.m. We promptly changed clothes and rushed out the door before the restaurants closed. Fajitas and margaritas hit the spot!

I guess we could have stopped there, but when we got back at 10:30, we swept up the sawdust and mopped, then moved the appliances and furniture back in. I was so happy to see that I could use a stick mop similar to an overgrown Swiffer and have a clean, streak-free, non-sticky floor!

Here is the finished product:

Okay, so it's not a dramatic change, but it's a nice one for us.  Just being able to mop the floor from a standing position will make my life so much easier!

We finished up the day's work and headed to bed around 11:30 or so. Sunday we moved all the small stuff back in (plants, small appliances, etc.) and cleaned the living room and vacuumed up the sawdust in the garage, where all of the cutting had taken place.

We went to the home improvement stores and bought the new door trim and baseboard that we decided needs to be updated as well, but Shane had no time (or energy) to attach those. He's out of town this week, so the trim will have to wait a while, but hopefully not a year or two.
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