Author Topic: Estimated time for a noob to install 1000+sq ft of flooring  (Read 1358 times)

jeromedawg

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Estimated time for a noob to install 1000+sq ft of flooring
« on: April 24, 2019, 03:02:11 PM »
Hey all,

Just wanted to get some feedback on the difficulty level of a noob installing 1000+sq ft of flooring in a condo as well as other conceptions and things easily overlooked. Currently it's all carpet. Never have done flooring before so really have no idea what to expect. This would include reflooring bathrooms, the kitchen, living area and bedrooms. Also, it seems like certain materials are easier to install than others but would also probably need to take into consideration moisture in bathrooms/kitchen where we may want to consider vinyl planks (the ones that look like standard wood flooring).

TIA

affordablehousing

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Re: Estimated time for a noob to install 1000+sq ft of flooring
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2019, 06:23:35 PM »
I think flooring is a very approachable DIY task. If you use prefinished hardwood or engineered hardwood it literally clicks into place. You just need two tools, a miter saw ($69 from harbor freight) and a jigsaw ($49 at harbor freight) and you're in business. You'll want a box cutter, a cat's paw and a hammer for getting the carpet tack strips off the subfloor. You can use vinyl plank for the bathroom, peel and stick tile, or if your place is worth more than $300K you should put in real tile in my opinion. Tile usually does look a lot better with professional install. Watch a bunch of youtube specific to the product you get.

My .02 but if you use vinyl plank, don't get vinyl that tries to look like wood, it just says cheapo city. Fake is fake and real is real. Stay in the lane you choose. We like our fake, single color peel and stick tile.

jeromedawg

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Re: Estimated time for a noob to install 1000+sq ft of flooring
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2019, 06:59:42 PM »
I think flooring is a very approachable DIY task. If you use prefinished hardwood or engineered hardwood it literally clicks into place. You just need two tools, a miter saw ($69 from harbor freight) and a jigsaw ($49 at harbor freight) and you're in business. You'll want a box cutter, a cat's paw and a hammer for getting the carpet tack strips off the subfloor. You can use vinyl plank for the bathroom, peel and stick tile, or if your place is worth more than $300K you should put in real tile in my opinion. Tile usually does look a lot better with professional install. Watch a bunch of youtube specific to the product you get.

My .02 but if you use vinyl plank, don't get vinyl that tries to look like wood, it just says cheapo city. Fake is fake and real is real. Stay in the lane you choose. We like our fake, single color peel and stick tile.

Thanks! Any suggestions on what room(s) to start out and end with? We have a jigsaw and I can probably borrow a mitre saw from a friend of mine. We have a short crowbar - will that work in place of a cat's paw?

So you don't think either of these would look good if we ran these continuously throughout the entire place?
https://www.homedepot.com/p/TrafficMASTER-Khaki-Oak-6-in-x-36-in-Luxury-Vinyl-Plank-Flooring-24-sq-ft-case-185312/206934038
https://www.homedepot.com/p/TrafficMASTER-Canadian-Hewn-Oak-6-in-x-36-in-Luxury-Vinyl-Plank-Flooring-24-sq-ft-case-81314/205893535

Our place is probably close to $600k or in that ballpark. Real tile you're referring to the bathroom and kitchen floors? My dilemma in the bathroom too is the fixtures and vanities - they're the original vanities and light fixtures as well as the shower wall tiling. I know bathroom remodels can cost *alot* if you get someone to come in to do them. And DIYing those seems daunting. Wondering what, if anything, we should do for the bathrooms as well.

jeromedawg

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Re: Estimated time for a noob to install 1000+sq ft of flooring
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2019, 07:04:35 PM »
I should also mention that it's straight cement under the carpet. I don't see any sort of moisture barrier but perhaps the original builders installed something to provision for this that would be under the cement?

Papa bear

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Re: Estimated time for a noob to install 1000+sq ft of flooring
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2019, 08:13:05 PM »
Are you trying to use the same floor and have it work seamlessly throughout the floor?  If you have a lot of rooms, youíre probably going to need to use thresholds at the doorways.  Getting the floor to all line up perfectly is not always easy. 

Another thing that gives away noobie diy - not undercutting door frames and using fat quarter round over your base molding.

So - make sure you get the floor underneath the door frames and pull the base molding if you have to. 

If you donít have a straight shot of flooring and have an obstacle in the way, like an island or a room, measure carefully to make sure itís going to line up coming out the other side.  This is more difficult with floating floors, since they tend to move on you during install.

I would seriously consider thresholds between rooms, especially with floating floors.  That way you are installing multiple rooms of floors, not one giant space.

If youíre going with a floating floor, make sure you measure the width of the room to figure out your first and last piece.  It will rarely line up with full pieces.  Make sure you donít start or finish something thatís less than a 1/4 piece.

Good luck and take your time.  If you mess it up, go back and fix it.  watch some YouTube videos to learn some tips and tricks to help speed up your process.


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MrSal

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Re: Estimated time for a noob to install 1000+sq ft of flooring
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2019, 08:17:42 AM »
I did 300 sq ft of flooring with some obstacles in about 10 hours. Most time was spent on just choosing the pieces and also walking down the steps to basement to go to the miter saw - didn't want to have a lot of saw dust in main level.

I think if you have a longer length and width where you can breeze through the pieces and have the tools in the same place you can do it in about 20 hours or so. My 10 hours also include being a first timer and thing through some things and figuring it out. It was a pretty easy task actually.

jeromedawg

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Re: Estimated time for a noob to install 1000+sq ft of flooring
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2019, 10:56:32 AM »
Thanks all.

In terms of where to start, do you typically start in a smaller bedroom first then expand out? Or do you start at the entry ways? We have two entrances into the home (from the garage, which enters into the laundry room and from the front door which enters into the living area). Both the laundry room and immediate front door entry there's 13x13 tile flooring which then transitions to carpet. Am I going to want to just rip the tile out and lay laminate flooring starting from there? Or should I perhaps consider leaving all tile in place (as well as in the kitchen and bathrooms) and installing laminate flooring pretty much anywhere there's carpet now?

Here are pics for visual:




« Last Edit: April 25, 2019, 11:00:04 AM by jeromedawg »

Papa bear

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Re: Estimated time for a noob to install 1000+sq ft of flooring
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2019, 11:35:06 AM »
Laminate flooring has a very specific laying pattern.  Usually left to right.  You have to start on a wall, usually the longest wall you have.   That first row is critical to the rest of the install. 

For the record, I HATE installing laminate floors. I much prefer to install wood, tile, vinyl, bamboo, carpet, well basically anything. 

Also, with cutting laminate, be aware that itís usually an mdf or hdf product.  Cut it in a very well ventilated area, and wear eye and breathing protection. That dust is nasty.


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Papa bear

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Re: Estimated time for a noob to install 1000+sq ft of flooring
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2019, 11:44:12 AM »
Youíre also doing this to fix it up to sell.  I would do a hard pass on the install.  Keep it as is.  If you donít make this a professional job, it will show, and could reduce your value. 

Homeowner DIY jobs scream at me when I look at a place. And then I question everything else that has been done.


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lthenderson

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Re: Estimated time for a noob to install 1000+sq ft of flooring
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2019, 01:03:27 PM »
I should also mention that it's straight cement under the carpet. I don't see any sort of moisture barrier but perhaps the original builders installed something to provision for this that would be under the cement?

Cut a square of plastic and tape it down to your concrete for a week and see if moisture develops between the plastic and the concrete. That will give you an idea if there is a moisture barrier.

Although vinyl planking is getting better, it is not all equivalent stuff. Much of the cheaper stuff will quickly lose it's luster in high traffic areas due to micro abrasions on the surface and fading. There are temporary chemical ways to restore the luster but you can't ever redo it like you can actual wood floors. Another problem I have seen with vinyl is that when it is under heavy stationary objects like beds, couches, refrigerators, etc. it permanently dents and looks pretty ugly when you move out and are trying to sell it to the next person.

Papa Bear had lots of good comments. I would just add that I usually plan a floor installation so that the main sight line when someone enters your house looks the best. Often this is a entryway hallway. I try to measure things so that you don't have crooked flooring in this area or tiny slivers at the edges. Because most flooring needs to start on one side of a room and work in one direction, this means a lot of measuring and laying out lines using measuring devices and chalk lines to stay true and on plan so when you reach that area, all goes as plan. Lots of times in older houses, walls aren't perpendicular to each other. I try to end up with my uneven strips on the edge of a bedroom, living room, etc. where the furniture is going to obscure it and make sure the hallway looks straight, even if it is the one that is off.

Get a good oscillating cut off tool for undercutting door jam trim. Just lay a scrap piece of your flooring up next to the jam, put your tool with the offset flush cut attachment down on top of the scrap and undercut the jam wood. This was a game changer compared to prior methods and leaves a nice professional look to your flooring.

One of the best things about flooring installs it is very DIY friendly. You don't have to worry about adhesives setting up to fast. You can simply drop your tools at the end of the day and pick them up later and in the meantime, still use the room if you pick up your feet so you don't trip on the edge. You can spread the job out to make it fit your spare time.

affordablehousing

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Re: Estimated time for a noob to install 1000+sq ft of flooring
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2019, 03:18:32 PM »
Taste is personal. Sorry to impose my personal take on things. I think the fake wood vinyl is very "faddish" and just like wood-look ceramic tile will fill the dumpsters of tomorrow. And for a $600K condo you should have better than bargain basement finishes. Find a tiler willing to work off the books on a weekend. They may surprise you as they ought to be able to do a bathroom or kitchen floor in a day of setting and a morning to grout. Check places like lumber liquidaters. You can get true wood floors for about $2.50 a foot. They look like wood because they ARE wood. Better resale value, more finish variety, and you can sand them in the future before you sell rather than having to replace all the scratched vinyl. I would start with the biggest room, and get some thresholds to deal with floor height irregularities as you go. Since you're on a slab, you could do gluedown (more work) or floating. The underlayment you roll out first often has a vapor barrier on one side of it already. You just roll it out and tape the seams, plus it cushions your knees as you work.

Another Reader

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Re: Estimated time for a noob to install 1000+sq ft of flooring
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2019, 04:03:45 PM »
The 80's called...they want their tile back.

DIY jobs look like DIY and buyers will see the mistakes.  Get it done professionally but only if the price increment justifies the cost.  Have your agent look at the comps.

habaneroNorway

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Re: Estimated time for a noob to install 1000+sq ft of flooring
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2019, 06:15:07 AM »
Also check that the walls are actual parallel. Even it looks like the room has a perfect rectangle shape or whatever, it might not be so in reality, especially if its an old house. Just a small difference adds up to quite a bit over a large distance and this might impact how you plan for the 1st and last row. Installing floor boards that click in place is easy as mentioned by others. Order/buy a bit more than you think you need in the odd case that you ruin a board + you will always loose a little due to cutting etc.

Its a bigger job when replacing an existing floor due to doors, thresholds and existing baseboards. It just looks stupid if you dont get the floor boards under thresholds and if you need to add a quarter round to cover the edges.

I do however not agree that a floating floor moves around as you install it, you just put a piece of wood at the ends to hold it in place while installing, then you remove these when installing the baseboards at the end.

When we remodeled our home I installed about 2000 sqft of flooring myself and found it quite easy, but I had the luxury of not having installed the doors or the baseboards when I did it. Also it was split over several rooms which is easier then doing one massive space. This also means that if sth bad happens i just have to redo one room.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2019, 06:17:34 AM by habaneroNorway »

lthenderson

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Re: Estimated time for a noob to install 1000+sq ft of flooring
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2019, 06:54:38 AM »
I thought I would mention that one of the great advantages of using real wood flooring is you can start anywhere you want to make sure you get your lines straight unlike synthetic click lock systems where you have to start on one side. I usually start in the middle of the main hallway to make sure I get the sight line I want and work one direction. Because you nail in the tongue of the wood and you now have a groove facing out, you make a long key that fits in the groove side and glue it in place. You can now run the rest of your flooring the other direction just as you ran it the first direction and nobody is the wiser. Not much of an advantage for one room but doing an entire floor, this comes in really handy.

Papa bear

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Re: Estimated time for a noob to install 1000+sq ft of flooring
« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2019, 09:04:36 AM »
I thought I would mention that one of the great advantages of using real wood flooring is you can start anywhere you want to make sure you get your lines straight unlike synthetic click lock systems where you have to start on one side. I usually start in the middle of the main hallway to make sure I get the sight line I want and work one direction. Because you nail in the tongue of the wood and you now have a groove facing out, you make a long key that fits in the groove side and glue it in place. You can now run the rest of your flooring the other direction just as you ran it the first direction and nobody is the wiser. Not much of an advantage for one room but doing an entire floor, this comes in really handy.

Agreed. But OP is on a slab. They would have to install a different sub floor system for that to work.   


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Dogastrophe

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Re: Estimated time for a noob to install 1000+sq ft of flooring
« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2019, 09:45:41 AM »

Also, with cutting laminate, be aware that itís usually an mdf or hdf product.  Cut it in a very well ventilated area, and wear eye and breathing protection. That dust is nasty.


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If you do laminate, find a place that will rent a laminate cutter.  Basically it is a guillotine type cutter that will slice through the laminate and leave no mess.  Much easier than using a saw, gives a clean cut, little to no clean up required.  A good cutter will do up to 15mm thick laminate with no issues.

GreenEggs

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Re: Estimated time for a noob to install 1000+sq ft of flooring
« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2019, 05:42:03 AM »
If you have to rent or borrow the tools you probably don't have the skills to do a good job. 




Dogastrophe

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Re: Estimated time for a noob to install 1000+sq ft of flooring
« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2019, 08:43:10 AM »
If you have to rent or borrow the tools you probably don't have the skills to do a good job.

Gonna call bullshit on this statement.  Zero correlation between ownership of certain tools and the skill to do a good job. 

Rcc

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Re: Estimated time for a noob to install 1000+sq ft of flooring
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2019, 02:32:56 PM »
Here are pics for visual:






A little late to the thread, but I didnt see this answered in thread: whats under the carpet? It seems a little silly to tile those areas only (not impossible).

Also, in response to the question: where to start? IMHO, I always start in the smallest testable room to get the skills/technique down. I'm in IT, not home improvement :)

GreenEggs

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Re: Estimated time for a noob to install 1000+sq ft of flooring
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2019, 05:35:17 PM »
If you have to rent or borrow the tools you probably don't have the skills to do a good job.

Gonna call bullshit on this statement.  Zero correlation between ownership of certain tools and the skill to do a good job.


"Probably"

jeromedawg

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Re: Estimated time for a noob to install 1000+sq ft of flooring
« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2019, 12:11:50 PM »
Here are pics for visual:






A little late to the thread, but I didnt see this answered in thread: whats under the carpet? It seems a little silly to tile those areas only (not impossible).

Also, in response to the question: where to start? IMHO, I always start in the smallest testable room to get the skills/technique down. I'm in IT, not home improvement :)

The sub-flooring is cement.

Makes sense to start in the smallest area :) In this case, I think that would mean the entry way. The laundry room would be tricky since the washer/dryer are there. And I don't want to deal with laying flooring in the bathrooms since the toilets and old vanities are there too.

At this point though, I'm still up in the air on re-doing any of the flooring or at least rushing to do it. 

seppatown

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Re: Estimated time for a noob to install 1000+sq ft of flooring
« Reply #21 on: May 27, 2019, 01:32:37 PM »
Did a successful install of floating vinyl plank flooring as a first time DIYer. I'm not handy, but have reasonable design sense.

On flat cement, it's an absolute breeze. You don't even need a jigsaw unless you need to cut holes in single pieces for vents. Just utility blade > score > snap to segment and create corner pieces.

A couple takeaways:

a. Time to install has much more to do with layout than square footage. Big open rooms are easy. You spend most of your time at edges and corners.
b. Get the expensive, high-quality vinyl plank and it will be impossible to tell from real hardwood (except the vinyl will be waterproof and wears better). In addition to the wood patterning color, ours also has a realistic grain-patterned 3d wear layer (transparent and noticeable only at a very close eye level).
c. Don't forget that like most things, flooring is not an isolated reno project. Based on your pictures, you should repaint your walls first, at minimum.
Rip out baseboards, repaint, install ceiling crown, install floor, install new baseboard. A beautiful floor needs premium baseboard, nice looking walls, and good lighting to complement - at minimum.

jeromedawg

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Re: Estimated time for a noob to install 1000+sq ft of flooring
« Reply #22 on: May 27, 2019, 08:46:33 PM »
Did a successful install of floating vinyl plank flooring as a first time DIYer. I'm not handy, but have reasonable design sense.

On flat cement, it's an absolute breeze. You don't even need a jigsaw unless you need to cut holes in single pieces for vents. Just utility blade > score > snap to segment and create corner pieces.

A couple takeaways:

a. Time to install has much more to do with layout than square footage. Big open rooms are easy. You spend most of your time at edges and corners.
b. Get the expensive, high-quality vinyl plank and it will be impossible to tell from real hardwood (except the vinyl will be waterproof and wears better). In addition to the wood patterning color, ours also has a realistic grain-patterned 3d wear layer (transparent and noticeable only at a very close eye level).
c. Don't forget that like most things, flooring is not an isolated reno project. Based on your pictures, you should repaint your walls first, at minimum.
Rip out baseboards, repaint, install ceiling crown, install floor, install new baseboard. A beautiful floor needs premium baseboard, nice looking walls, and good lighting to complement - at minimum.

Thanks for the tips! I'll have to keep these in the back pocket. At the moment, I think we're going to forego investing any more in fixing the place up and will probably just try to stage and show as-is. With the timeline we have, and how busy things are with two kids (who will be in the way of things), I think it's just too optimistic to try to make our place look current asap. I mean, I guess we could always just hire a contractor but that's still super disruptive. We've already started packing things up in preparation for moving out ASAP as well. I really should have done all these upgrades years ago...