Author Topic: DIY flooring install...? No prior experience and two young kids  (Read 1221 times)

jeromedawg

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DIY flooring install...? No prior experience and two young kids
« on: October 03, 2018, 02:48:17 PM »
Hey all,

I have a 3yr old and under 1 year old and have had it in the back of my mind to DIY install a hardwood floor through our hallway, bathroom, kitchen and living room areas. We would probably leave the bedrooms as is with the current carpeting. The hallway and living room are carpeted and the bathrooms/kitchen are tile. We have a good amount of stuff especially in the living room and our place isn't that big, so this especially would be no small task with two little kids around. Unless this is the kind of thing that is a "day job" and we can leave the kids somewhere over the course of one to two days and do it all?

Has anyone been in a similar situation and tried this? Or did you find it better just to hire out the work?

I've thought a lot about using engineered hardwood. The sub-flooring is concrete.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2018, 02:58:54 PM by jeromedawg »

FB2020

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Re: DIY flooring install...? No prior experience and two young kids
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2018, 03:17:42 PM »
I have similar situation, with kids and all, really not much time.

I am thinking of taking it one section at a time, removing carpet and putting vinyl flooring.
I know its not the best quality, but its easy to install with no saw / cutting etc. Vinyl can be cut with utility knife.
I think that would work for me. YMMV


Jon Bon

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Re: DIY flooring install...? No prior experience and two young kids
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2018, 05:09:30 PM »
Find a friend who knows what they are doing and offer to help them for free. You will be able to work like 3x as fast and it will be 10x better on your own project.

Shoot offer to help someone on CL. Doing a job cold with zero experience and kids is asking for a bad incomplete job.


jeromedawg

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Re: DIY flooring install...? No prior experience and two young kids
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2018, 06:44:56 PM »
Find a friend who knows what they are doing and offer to help them for free. You will be able to work like 3x as fast and it will be 10x better on your own project.

Shoot offer to help someone on CL. Doing a job cold with zero experience and kids is asking for a bad incomplete job.

Great idea! I'll have to see if I can afford the time outside of the house. Most of my friends would likely hire in the help rather than DIY from what I've seen. I have one friend who DIYs a ton but asking him would be a tough proposition as he's pretty busy himself. That's the only option I can think of but it might work out best - I'm pretty sure he has installed flooring before.

lthenderson

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Re: DIY flooring install...? No prior experience and two young kids
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2018, 06:35:43 AM »
Laying engineered or solid hardwood flooring has one advantage, you don't need to have the room empty to do it. In a situation like yours, I move what I can to other rooms and then push the rest to the opposite side of the room. Start laying your flooring and when you get to the point where you need more space, move the furniture to the completed side and continue on. It is a bit more work since you will have to perhaps move it to the center later to do trim work and once again to their final places, but you avoid any time constraints. I spent an entire winter once tiling a house with slate stone in free evenings while the owner lived there. I just cleared the space I was working on and put things back before stopping for the evening.

Moral of the story is, you don't have to be in a rush to get the flooring done in a day or a weekend.

jeromedawg

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Re: DIY flooring install...? No prior experience and two young kids
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2018, 11:06:48 AM »
Laying engineered or solid hardwood flooring has one advantage, you don't need to have the room empty to do it. In a situation like yours, I move what I can to other rooms and then push the rest to the opposite side of the room. Start laying your flooring and when you get to the point where you need more space, move the furniture to the completed side and continue on. It is a bit more work since you will have to perhaps move it to the center later to do trim work and once again to their final places, but you avoid any time constraints. I spent an entire winter once tiling a house with slate stone in free evenings while the owner lived there. I just cleared the space I was working on and put things back before stopping for the evening.

Moral of the story is, you don't have to be in a rush to get the flooring done in a day or a weekend.

Thanks - I was thinking the same thing and to roll back the carpeting to install the flooring (or would you actually *cut* the carpeting up to the point that you want to with installing the flooring. Also, do I need to do a lot of prep work like laying down the underlayment paper (?) and use marking lines to make sure everything is aligned? It sounds like we would want to pull out the existing baseboards and install new trim in addition? I was thinking we could even start in the hallway since there's no furniture there. Is it recommended to install engineered hardwood in bathrooms and kitchens? It would be nice to get rid of the tiling that's currently there.

Also, for something like this where you're doing it gradually, is this still something that would be easy enough to do as a newbie? Or something where I'd really want to outsource some help? If it's not one of the more 'trivial' DIY tasks to take on, I'd probably just lean towards hiring a contractor to do it. It's not a small space by any means and I foresee having to make a number of cuts to account for some of the angles especially in the hallway as there are a couple of angled turns
« Last Edit: October 04, 2018, 11:10:03 AM by jeromedawg »

lthenderson

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Re: DIY flooring install...? No prior experience and two young kids
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2018, 11:41:02 AM »
I would remove all the carpeting at once and just live on the concrete until I get the floor laid. Carpet is a pain to cut and remove in chunks. As for the how to questions, I would recommend doing a Youtube search. There are tons of videos out there that will give you an idea of how to get started, tools needs and a sense of whether or not it is in your wheelhouse.

There is lots of debate on engineered flooring on both sides of the coin. Personally I hate the stuff. While it is very easy to lay down, it doesn't do well in potentially moist environments like kitchens and bathrooms. Anything spilled on it can seep into the cracks and get down to the sub-layers in the flooring swelling them up. More expensive engineered flooring holds up better but still can't have water set on it very long. Secondly anytime you drop something on engineered flooring that pokes through the thin veneer layer, you see the different colored sub-layers sticking out like a sore thumb and there really isn't any good fix short of pulling up the board and replacing it.

My preference for kitchens and bathrooms is to use tile. However in certain conditions, solid wood flooring holds up great. Those conditions are that you install the entire floor and then finish it after installation so that all the cracks get sealed. If water gets into the cracks, it can warp the boards. The advantage of that however is that it can be sanded and refinished while some engineered floor can't.

jeromedawg

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Re: DIY flooring install...? No prior experience and two young kids
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2018, 12:00:34 PM »
I would remove all the carpeting at once and just live on the concrete until I get the floor laid. Carpet is a pain to cut and remove in chunks. As for the how to questions, I would recommend doing a Youtube search. There are tons of videos out there that will give you an idea of how to get started, tools needs and a sense of whether or not it is in your wheelhouse.

There is lots of debate on engineered flooring on both sides of the coin. Personally I hate the stuff. While it is very easy to lay down, it doesn't do well in potentially moist environments like kitchens and bathrooms. Anything spilled on it can seep into the cracks and get down to the sub-layers in the flooring swelling them up. More expensive engineered flooring holds up better but still can't have water set on it very long. Secondly anytime you drop something on engineered flooring that pokes through the thin veneer layer, you see the different colored sub-layers sticking out like a sore thumb and there really isn't any good fix short of pulling up the board and replacing it.

My preference for kitchens and bathrooms is to use tile. However in certain conditions, solid wood flooring holds up great. Those conditions are that you install the entire floor and then finish it after installation so that all the cracks get sealed. If water gets into the cracks, it can warp the boards. The advantage of that however is that it can be sanded and refinished while some engineered floor can't.

Do you recommend regular solid hardwood floors then? And what kind? I think our upstairs neighbor had solid Brazilian cherrywood flooring installed or something to that effect. It definitely helped with the resale cost. But if solid hardwood flooring is difficult to install, and in particular for someone who has never done anything like this, that would be yet another obstacle.

Papa bear

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Re: DIY flooring install...? No prior experience and two young kids
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2018, 01:28:06 PM »
What is your subfloor? 


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jeromedawg

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Re: DIY flooring install...? No prior experience and two young kids
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2018, 01:32:02 PM »
Concrete subflooring - we're on the bottom/ground unit.

Papa bear

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Re: DIY flooring install...? No prior experience and two young kids
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2018, 01:47:00 PM »
I would not recommend hardwood. It does not do well on concrete due to moisture.

Over concrete, I would recommend LVT, lock and click bamboo, tile, or laminate.

LVT would be my top choice.


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Papa bear

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Re: DIY flooring install...? No prior experience and two young kids
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2018, 02:02:40 PM »
And LVT is very DIYable.  You can cut it with a utility knife (score and snap) or an oscillating tool.

As for the base molding, I would absolutely pull off the trim, lay the floor, then either reuse the molding or get new. Make sure you undercut door casings and door jambs and slide the flooring under.  The technique to butt the floor up to existing molding and add shoe mold screams amateur or poor install. 


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jc4

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Re: DIY flooring install...? No prior experience and two young kids
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2018, 02:09:10 PM »
Solid hardwood is very diy-able, but also a lot of work. Don't plan on a day or two.  It is possible though. My dad did it growing up when he had little kids. I remember carrying boards to help as a 6 year old. Also, with hardwood, after you lay it, you have to stain, and then do 2-3 coats of clear coat. Finish goes on quick, but is a day of no walking dry time for each coat.

The snap-in stuff is very easy and very fast. I did a very large room in our basement by myself at 14 with no experience in an afternoon. If you're already handy with a tape and saw, and have 1 helper, your project should be doable in a day. 

And unless the tile is real ugly, I'd keep it. And I'd avoid snap-in wood in the kitchen/bath. Tile preferred, solid second, no snap-in.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2018, 02:17:26 PM by jc4 »

Sugaree

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Re: DIY flooring install...? No prior experience and two young kids
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2018, 02:26:48 PM »
We just had to redo the floors throughout the house.  We went with a nicer laminate throughout most of the house and LVT in the kitchen/living room and master bath.  We did the LVT and hired out the laminate (we'd have done it all ourselves, but we had a whole house to do and couldn't take the time off work).  The guy at the flooring store discouraged the (more expensive) hardwood because of the kiddo and the dog.  He said that laminate holds up better.  I was worried about the laminate feeling cheap, but it's actually very nice.  It's not hardwood, but the only reason you can tell in my house is that I do have some real, old-school hardwood that we found under some carpet.  The LVT looks kinda like slate, but you definitely notice that it doesn't feel right.  It took us three solid days to do 375 square feet with a handful of closets and weird angles and one day to do a 25 square foot bathroom (lack of room and having to take the toilet out slowed us down). 

lthenderson

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Re: DIY flooring install...? No prior experience and two young kids
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2018, 10:58:08 AM »
Do you recommend regular solid hardwood floors then? And what kind? I think our upstairs neighbor had solid Brazilian cherrywood flooring installed or something to that effect. It definitely helped with the resale cost. But if solid hardwood flooring is difficult to install, and in particular for someone who has never done anything like this, that would be yet another obstacle.

In your case on concrete, I wouldn't recommend hardwood. It is much harder to install and you have to know if there is a vapor barrier underneath the concrete or not. In lots of older homes, they poured without any vapor barriers and it can warp wood over time.

My preference is tile. LVP is the cheaper choice but you have to watch out on quality. The cheaper versions of LVP will dent when heavy objects are left on it for long periods of time and will be visible when you go to sell the house. Usually you see dents in the dining, living and bedrooms. However for a bathroom or kitchen, it really isn't likely to have something heavy on it other than a refrigerator and the next refrigerator will cover the dents. Also something to consider is that LVP near window openings can fade pretty significantly and also just high traffic areas can cause a worn look. They sell chemicals now to help "rejuvenate" the look but I don't have any experience on how well or how long those last.

jeromedawg

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Re: DIY flooring install...? No prior experience and two young kids
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2018, 07:49:33 PM »
Do you recommend regular solid hardwood floors then? And what kind? I think our upstairs neighbor had solid Brazilian cherrywood flooring installed or something to that effect. It definitely helped with the resale cost. But if solid hardwood flooring is difficult to install, and in particular for someone who has never done anything like this, that would be yet another obstacle.

In your case on concrete, I wouldn't recommend hardwood. It is much harder to install and you have to know if there is a vapor barrier underneath the concrete or not. In lots of older homes, they poured without any vapor barriers and it can warp wood over time.

My preference is tile. LVP is the cheaper choice but you have to watch out on quality. The cheaper versions of LVP will dent when heavy objects are left on it for long periods of time and will be visible when you go to sell the house. Usually you see dents in the dining, living and bedrooms. However for a bathroom or kitchen, it really isn't likely to have something heavy on it other than a refrigerator and the next refrigerator will cover the dents. Also something to consider is that LVP near window openings can fade pretty significantly and also just high traffic areas can cause a worn look. They sell chemicals now to help "rejuvenate" the look but I don't have any experience on how well or how long those last.

Our condo was built in 1989 I believe -not sure if vapor barriers were a consideration in most units back the.

Doesn't tile have the tendency to get a bit cold? Or are there types of tile that aren't as prone to that? I like gray oak plank type look: https://www.lumberliquidators.com/blog/featured-floor-stormy-gray-oak-lvp/ so if there's something that fits the bill in terms of installing over concrete while being durable, inexpensive and not prone to moisture issues, etc I'm all ears. Sounds like there are trade-offs though haha. What would the better quality LVP brands be in this case?

Jon Bon

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Re: DIY flooring install...? No prior experience and two young kids
« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2018, 11:00:55 AM »
Tile would be a good idea for the space.

However,

Tile would be a terrible idea for a first timer on a time crunch. Its messy as hell, takes multiple steps and pretty much cant be walked on for 24-48 hours. Mistakes are NOT easily corrected. 

Like it would work, but you might have to send the family on a vacation without you for a week.  Again you need to find a friend and help them, or just offer to work for a flooring crew for a few days without pay.

jeromedawg

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Re: DIY flooring install...? No prior experience and two young kids
« Reply #17 on: October 06, 2018, 01:47:44 PM »
Tile would be a good idea for the space.

However,

Tile would be a terrible idea for a first timer on a time crunch. Its messy as hell, takes multiple steps and pretty much cant be walked on for 24-48 hours. Mistakes are NOT easily corrected. 

Like it would work, but you might have to send the family on a vacation without you for a week.  Again you need to find a friend and help them, or just offer to work for a flooring crew for a few days without pay.

Yeah, seems like there's a steeper learning curve with tiling stuff. Not something I'd want to "roll back the carpet and get er done" with lol. So there's pretty much nothing else except for tile that would "fit the bill" here? LVP does sound pretty interesting. Our entry way is a 3x3 tiled area and there is tile around the fireplace as well. Perhaps I can just leave all the existing tile as-is and consider only putting down LVP through the rest of the house not including bedrooms (so basically just down the hallway and then the living room area). I like carpeting in bedrooms but the living room it would be nice to be able to clean up spills from the kids and not worry about stain spots all over the place haha, etc.







Wonder if this would work with the existing tile if I don't want to bother redoing all that:
« Last Edit: October 06, 2018, 01:54:46 PM by jeromedawg »

Papa bear

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Re: DIY flooring install...? No prior experience and two young kids
« Reply #18 on: October 06, 2018, 07:07:28 PM »
You will just need a threshold or transition piece between the tile and LVT.  They will most likely be different heights, but there are dozen of options to choose from for the transitions that would work.




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MrSal

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Re: DIY flooring install...? No prior experience and two young kids
« Reply #19 on: October 07, 2018, 07:48:12 PM »
DIY flooring is easy... I did it sometime this spring and things went fast. I probably was around it for 14-16 hours of work for a 300 sq ft install. The most time ocnsuming was choosing the pieces that I liked and making sure that the seams wouldn't align between each row... going through the pieces is time consuming a bit if you're doing it yourself with no help.

Also, I guess having the miter saw in the basement didn't help either :D

Here's my install






lthenderson

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Re: DIY flooring install...? No prior experience and two young kids
« Reply #20 on: October 08, 2018, 07:17:14 AM »
Our condo was built in 1989 I believe -not sure if vapor barriers were a consideration in most units back the.

Doesn't tile have the tendency to get a bit cold? Or are there types of tile that aren't as prone to that? I like gray oak plank type look: https://www.lumberliquidators.com/blog/featured-floor-stormy-gray-oak-lvp/ so if there's something that fits the bill in terms of installing over concrete while being durable, inexpensive and not prone to moisture issues, etc I'm all ears. Sounds like there are trade-offs though haha. What would the better quality LVP brands be in this case?

The easiest way to tell if there is a vapor barrier is to tape a piece of plastic down and leave it for a week. If you see condensation between the plastic and the concrete, there is no vapor barrier.

Tile does feel cool on bare feet which is nice in summer but chilly in the winter. Since I rarely go barefooted in the winter, it really doesn't bother me. When I tiled our bathrooms, where I do go barefooted quite often, I bought electrical heating pads that embed in the mortar beneath the tile and hooks up to a thermostat. It keeps the tile warm which is really nice when hopping out of the shower on a cold winter evening.

I can't recommend any LVP brands. I have never installed any of it. I have just seen the aftermath in other homes where it has been installed.

Personally I think tiling is one of the easiest flooring option for DIY. Yes you can't step on it for a few hours while it sets up but you can easily do an area and then work on the adjacent area the next day, etc. The hardest part about tiling in my opinion is the layout so that you have straight lines an don't end up with really thin/small pieces on one side, etc. You have the same layout issues with just about any flooring option except perhaps carpet. Lots of modern tile already comes with prebuilt spacers on the tile so you don't even have to worry about getting an even grout line.

Roboturner

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Re: DIY flooring install...? No prior experience and two young kids
« Reply #21 on: October 09, 2018, 01:57:55 PM »
Recently did ~750ft2 or Pergo Pet+ Laminate, super super easy click and snap. Took ~ 2 weekends to lay & replace baseboards, took much longer to rip up tile. one carpeted bedroom was a breeze - 12 x 10 in ~4hrs start to finish, as carpet is easy to pull up and throw away. Will need a circular saw and either skill saw or table saw but totally doable DIY. Most time consuming part was silicone caulking the termination points, which is only necessary for 'water resistant' warranty.

« Last Edit: October 09, 2018, 01:59:52 PM by Roboturner »

hoping2retire35

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Re: DIY flooring install...? No prior experience and two young kids
« Reply #22 on: October 10, 2018, 07:15:53 AM »
I have done a couple of apartments with hardwood. Shouldn't take you more than a day.

My suggestion.
Thursday evening-move furniture and pull up carpet. exciting and fun for the kids.
Friday-take off from work, glue and place primary areas of wood flooring. Put furniture back and pick up kids.(kids won't be walking on glue and will be the least disruptive to their schedule and your sanity)
Saturday or whenever really-use table saw and sawzall to finish up corners and edging. As roboturner, above, alluded to, the main area is pretty quick and easy once you get going, it is all the wrap up around the sides that takes forever. The good thing is you can still use the room, it just doesn't look crisp.

« Last Edit: October 10, 2018, 07:17:49 AM by hoping2retire35 »

Glenstache

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Re: DIY flooring install...? No prior experience and two young kids
« Reply #23 on: October 10, 2018, 12:22:56 PM »
If you are pulling up carpet, make sure that you have a good crowbar, gloves, hammer for removing the tack strip around the edges of the carpet. There will also be something to hold the pad down. If they glued it down, you may need to do some prep work to get a smooth surface.

All of the various engineered click-lock flooring is pretty easy to do. It is worth borrowing a quality chop saw for the end cuts, and having a jig saw to make the cuts at corners, etc. remember that you will also be putting in trim that will give you some slop. Do pay attention to the vapor barrier comments above. If you are in doubt, put one in.

Also, the absolute worst case scenario will be that you did something terrible and you lose the cost of the materials and your time invested. That is probably not the end of the world. Be willing to jump in and learn. You can also tear out parts that didn't go right. Be willing to jump in and learn. I think you will find it a success in the end and you will definitely up your badassity quotient by just doing it!

FiftyIsTheNewTwenty

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Re: DIY flooring install...? No prior experience and two young kids
« Reply #24 on: October 15, 2018, 01:45:49 PM »
"Prep work" can be considerable!  Allow time to deal with stuck-on padding and glue lines that have to be scraped off (this can take hours), blobs of concrete and drywall mud, or cracks and chinks in the concrete that should be patched.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2018, 02:00:43 PM by FiftyIsTheNewTwenty »