You guys!

I am so excited to finally be sharing this amazing post with you today.  Remember the huge, enormous, life-taking-over-renovation project that we tackled this summer?!?  Or at least, do you remember me referring to it several times but not really sharing much about it yet?

Well, that is all about to change.  And I’m starting off this series with a BANG.  The biggest bang-for-your-buck project that you can do in a space to completely update it and give it a whole new look.

After tackling this ourselves, I have 10 great tips for a DIY Laminate Flooring Installation to help you ensure that your first or next laminate install goes as smoothly and beautifully as ours turned out!  I was super thrilled to collaborate with The Home Depot Canada on this project and their DIY experts were awesome to work with. I couldn’t be happier with how this project came out.

Especially since I did a lot of it myself.  Yes, ME!

Which means that if I can do it, you can do it, right?!?

You’re gonna love it!!

Okay, so, do you remember the before?

If you haven’t seen this yet, brace yourself!  It’s pretty “awe”-some…

The Living Room…

A Big New Reno Project at thehappyhousie.com-1

A Big New Reno Project at thehappyhousie.com-12

A Big New Reno Project at thehappyhousie.com-4

A Big New Reno Project at thehappyhousie.com-23

The Dining Room…

A Big New Reno Project at thehappyhousie.com-18

Well, we knew the carpet and lino couldn’t stay. Am I right?

So the first thing we did was go floor shopping. We settled on this beautiful, rich, warm, and super affordable Kaindl laminate flooring in from The Home Depot Canada.

It is called Amber Hickory – and is 12mm thick with a v-groove so as to better represent real hardwood flooring.

Pretty, right?!?

I wish you could feel it through the computer screen – it has a great hand-scraped texture finish that I absolutely love.  Laminate has certainly come a long way, my friends.  And the value can’t be beat.

AmberHickory2_4

Bringing home laminate for nearly an entire house is certainly a truckload, but at The Home Depot they used a forklift to stack the entire pile neatly in the back of our truck.

Here is how we looked after they loaded us up.  We had an hour-long drive home ahead of us, and I was driving!  But we made it safely.  If you don’t have a truck to transport it home, The Home Depot offers delivery options as well.

Summer to September and Renovation Realities and life-7

So the next job was the prepare our surface.  That meant stripping up all the old carpet and underlay and removing any traces of it.

Tip:

Prepare your sub-floor properly.

Go over the floors and check for nail pops or gouges.  You don’t want any differences of height greater then 1/8″ on your subfloor when you are installing laminate.  If you need to, you can always install some levelling compound, but thankfully we didn’t need to do this additional step.  If you think your floors aren’t level enough, then the experts at The Home Depot offer all kinds of advice and many stores even offer how-to workshops for free.  You will also want to make sure that the floors are clean and vacuumed before beginning.  In the two bedrooms, the underlay didn’t come up as nicely as it did in the living room – so we rented a floor sander and went over it until it removed all but the tiniest traces of the black underlay.

Tip:

Set up your work space.

Set up your work space with all the tools you will need, but you likely will need to store the majority of your laminate out of the actual room that you are laying it in.  We set up our work space first in the living room with the underlay and laminate – though we had to store most of the boxes in one of the bedrooms.

You can give your space an awesome new look on a budget by installing gorgeous Kaindl laminate flooring yourself - we picked ours up at The Home Depot-2

Tip:

Choose a good underlay

A good underlay can really make a difference to the overall finish of your flooring project.  We used an awesome EcoCork Foam Underlay  that was also from The Home Depot Canada.  A good underlay helps to keep the floors warmer as well as to reduce sound transmission through the floor.  It also provides a great moisture barrier – the last think you want is any moisture introduced to your finished flooring.

You can give your space an awesome new look on a budget by installing gorgeous Kaindl laminate flooring yourself - we picked ours up at The Home Depot-21

You can give your space an awesome new look on a budget by installing gorgeous Kaindl laminate flooring yourself - we picked ours up at The Home Depot-19

You can give your space an awesome new look on a budget by installing gorgeous Kaindl laminate flooring yourself - we picked ours up at The Home Depot-20

Tip: 

Laying down the underlay

The underlay was really very simple to lay down.  We just ran it along the edge of the wall, then cut it at the appropriate length.

Then it attaches through these handy-dandy nifty tack strips that are built right in.  You just lay the second layer alongside the first, and fold over the clear plastic piece onto the sticky piece, removing the white sticker backing when you are ready to seam the two pieces together.  Slowly pull up the sticker backing, fold the plastic layer of the second piece over onto the sticky part, and press down until smooth and seamed properly. Easy enough for even a child to do!

You can give your space an awesome new look on a budget by installing gorgeous Kaindl laminate flooring yourself - we picked ours up at The Home Depot-9

You can give your space an awesome new look on a budget by installing gorgeous Kaindl laminate flooring yourself - we picked ours up at The Home Depot-11

Tip:

Only do a couple rows of underlay at a time.  You don’t want to do the whole entire floor in underlay first because you need to keep it clean.   Doing the whole floor would have meant that we had to vacuum it again as we went because it was sure to have bits of dirt introduced to it -and you don’t want dirt floating between your laminate and your underlay.

Now it’s time to begin installing the laminate!

Tip:

To leave the appropriate gap along the first wall, we put some 1/4 pieces of pine paneling that we had on hand along the edge of the wall.  That helped us ensure that we left an expansion gap as recommended in the instructions.

The rest is pretty simple – at least in the straight stretches! Start by laying down the first row, and clicking together the tongue and groove ends.

2 You can give your space an awesome new look on a budget by installing gorgeous Kaindl laminate flooring yourself - we picked ours up at The Home Depot-23

Tip:

Pre-think and Sketch our the Pattern

Make sure that you pay attention to the pattern as you go – you want to make sure that the seams are staggered appropriately (according to the instructions on your laminate).  We made sure that our seams were at least 16″ apart – which meant sometimes measuring and cutting a piece shorter in order to start a row.

Measure your room and sketch/graph out a little pattern on a piece of scrap paper with the various lengths you plan to use for your room.  It changes based on the size and shape of your room – but planning it out ahead this way can really help you to reduce the amount of flooring that you waste with cuts.  Think about trying to use the cut ends to then start another row further along in the pattern.

Tip:

Use your senses

When installing the laminate planks, you simply click the tongue into the groove, and then click the side down into the groove as well.  But pay attention to what you feel and hear.  You don’t want to force it into place -sometimes little bits of dirt may be caught in the tongue and you can feel resistance as you try to click it into position.  It should feel smooth and natural – not forced.  And once you click down the sides, you can literally hear and feel it snap into position.

That’s the fun part! Slide it into place, snap click it down into position! Slide-Snap-Click!  So much fun…

You can give your space an awesome new look on a budget by installing gorgeous Kaindl laminate flooring yourself - we picked ours up at The Home Depot-26

You can give your space an awesome new look on a budget by installing gorgeous Kaindl laminate flooring yourself - we picked ours up at The Home Depot-27

Tip:

Measure your cuts right on the boards

Instead of using a tape measure to measure our next cuts, we often held the laminate in position and marked it directly as you see below.  We found this to be more foolproof then transferring measurements taken using our tape measure.  Also, you are better to cut a little long and have to go back for a second cut then to cut it to short.  Remember the old adage: Measure twice, cut once!

We used our compound mitre saw to make most of the needed cuts – at least all those cuts for length.

You can give your space an awesome new look on a budget by installing gorgeous Kaindl laminate flooring yourself - we picked ours up at The Home Depot-24

You can give your space an awesome new look on a budget by installing gorgeous Kaindl laminate flooring yourself - we picked ours up at The Home Depot-25

TIP:

Cut out your trim so the laminate planks slide under it

If you want your floor to look like it belongs in the house, then try as best you can to install it underneath the trim work.  Since we had decided not to remove the existing baseboards, we instead used a hand saw to cut out the door trim to the correct height.  That way we were able to slide the planks right under and the floor doesn’t look like an afterthought.

Of course, after you use the saw you will need to vacuum up the dust before installing the laminate.  You can give your space an awesome new look on a budget by installing gorgeous Kaindl laminate flooring yourself - we picked ours up at The Home Depot-28

You can give your space an awesome new look on a budget by installing gorgeous Kaindl laminate flooring yourself - we picked ours up at The Home Depot-29

We used our jigsaw to help us cut out around the awkward little areas, such as doors and closets.  We marked these in place and then cut out the shape.  For cutting little sections out of the edge of a board, you can do several cross cuts until it is easy to get the jigsaw into position and cut out the shape than you need.

You can give your space an awesome new look on a budget by installing gorgeous Kaindl laminate flooring yourself - we picked ours up at The Home Depot-30

You can give your space an awesome new look on a budget by installing gorgeous Kaindl laminate flooring yourself - we picked ours up at The Home Depot-32

You can give your space an awesome new look on a budget by installing gorgeous Kaindl laminate flooring yourself - we picked ours up at The Home Depot-33

You can give your space an awesome new look on a budget by installing gorgeous Kaindl laminate flooring yourself - we picked ours up at The Home Depot-34

Perfect!  Or, close enough, anyhow. We absolutely LOVE how it turned out!

AFTER

Totally transform your space with DIY Laminte Flooring Installation - great tips at thehappyhousie.com-1

Totally transform your space with DIY Laminte Flooring Installation - great tips at thehappyhousie.com-2

Totally transform your space with DIY Laminte Flooring Installation - great tips at thehappyhousie.com-3

Completely transform your home with DIY laminate flooring by Kaindl from The Home Depot Canada-4

Completely transform your home with DIY laminate flooring by Kaindl from The Home Depot Canada-5

And just because BEFORE & AFTERS are my absolute favourite… here are a few for you:

Laminate Floor Installation Before and After at thehappyhousie.com

Transforming a space with a DIY Laminate Flooring before and afters at thehappyhousie.com

DIY Laminate Flooring Installation Tips at thehappyhousie.com

Do you plan to tackle a DIY Laminate Flooring Installation anytime soon?

I absolutely love the Kaindl flooring from The Home Depot that we used and highly recommend it – the colour and texture and feel are amazing.

This is awesome! Pin it to remember it!

10 Great Tips for a DIY Laminate Floor Installation at thehappyhousie.com

I’m planning to be back soon with another instalment in this Renovation Project Series! I can’t wait to share how the other makeovers turned out!

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This is an excerpt from the article 10 Great Tips for a DIY Laminate Flooring Installation which originally appeared on http://thehappyhousie.com/.