Laminate flooring in the basement

Follow along, dear readers, as your heroes embark on their first real DIY project, one in which they actually complete it by themselves.  I know, right?

It all started a little more than two weeks ago when Dan and I took advantage of a sweet sweet sale at Rona.  Over Labour Day weekend, Rona was offering 15% back in gift cards for any purchase over $50 (only condition was you had to get your butt to the store and purchase everything before noon).  We scoped out our options the Friday before the sale and priced out the things we would need.

Here’s the list of stuff we were after at Rona:

-about 300 square feet of laminate flooring
-about 300 square feet of underlay with a vapour barrier
-transition strip to cover the edge of the flooring in the doorway

And the list of tools we would need to borrow from a certain uncle:

-circular saw for straight cuts
-jig saw for cutty-outty bits around the door frame
-rubber mallet
-tapping block to whack the pieces together
-tapping bar for the ends of rows
-door jamb saw to make room for the laminate under the door frame

We spend just about $500 at Rona – the flooring we chose was on sale for $0.99 a square foot (score!), and we got three rolls of underlay at about $50 a roll.  All that flooring got us 75 free dollars from Rona, which will go towards finishing the painting upstairs.

We purchased all of our flooring stuff first thing on Saturday morning, and then as per the instructions, we opened up all the packaging for the laminate and let it get used to the atmosphere of our basement for a few days.

Laminate, breathing
Flooring bits and pieces
We waited almost a week until we started tackling the project.  It was Dan’s birthday and my day off from work when we psyched ourselves up to start the floor.

Here’s Dan enjoying his leisurely birthday waffle breakfast before I put him to work:

I started the underlay without Dan, it was his birthday after all.  Each strip of underlay had a convenient overhanging flap of plastic to connect it to the piece next to it.  I used all three rolls with a bit of each to spare.

The leftovers of the underlay, and the borrowed tools for flooring.  We can do it!

Tools of the trade
One single, sad board against the wall, inspiring us for our task ahead:

Flooring ready for action
The first two rows were the absolute worst.  First, we laid down the row backwards, so when we tried to click the next row into it, it was impossible.  No harm done though, the first row was only connected on the shortest sides of the boards, so we took it apart and tried again.  When it was arranged the other way, it meant we had to cut off the lip of the board so we could get them closer to the wall.  The “tongue” part, I guess.  Isn’t that what it’s called, “tongue and groove”?  It was awkward to do it with the circular saw since the piece we were cutting off was very thin, so we did it with a hand saw.

First row
With the first row down the correct way, we were on to row two.  This one was just as bad as the first, because every time we tapped in a new board, it wiggled an existing board free and we had a gap.  Ugh.  It took some extra tapping and a little trial and error, but once we had the first two rows in place, we were home free.

Look at us, making real progress now!  And a real pile of mess getting chucked into the hallway as we went.

Garbage pileWe did all but the last two rows on Friday and then our knees gave out.  This was hard work.  Everything was sore, we were dirty and tired, and we had places to go that evening that required us to be bathed and fresh-looking (birthday!).  So we left it at that, and didn’t have a chance to get back to it until more than a week later.  On Sunday afternoon, we threw down the last two rows, including the final row that required measuring and cutting every board.  Ah, satisfaction:

Holy crap, it's a floor! No baseboards yet, but a floor! So pretty!Isn’t she beautiful?!

There was a little something missing without the baseboards, so on Sunday night, I took on the puzzle of reassembling the pieces.

finished. love it.I left it for Dan to touch up the baseboards, and while I was at work on Monday, he painted the water stained pieces with stain-blocking paint and filled in the old nail holes.

And finally, we didn’t waste any time unpacking my crafty stuff and setting up one side of the room:

Craft corner! New sewing machine A real place for my spinning wheel
Time for feet up?  Yup.


About joeyandjanice

Two crazy kids trying to make sense of the jumble surrounding making the jump from renting to owning our first home. Join us here as we stumble towards the biggest purchase of our lives.
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3 Responses to Laminate flooring in the basement

  1. Pingback: The basement floor, take two | Joey & Janice buy a house

  2. Cathie says:

    How is the laminate holding up?

    • It’s doing well! Laminate was definitely the best choice for us as we have a dog with clicky clacky toenails. There’s no wear or tear to the flooring yet, and we spend most evenings in the basement. I’m also impressed that it’s holding up to the rolling chair I have down at the craft table. We don’t have one of those floor protector mats and it’s doing just fine.

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