Our friends just put laminate in their furnished basement, and it looks incredible!
Sound familiar? If we base our decisions on social media posts, do-it-yourself flooring looks pretty easy. Some DIYers certainly have the skills and equipment to do the job. But there’s a lot of room for error, especially for newbies. In most cases, you’ll save time and frustration by calling the pros. Working with a professional installer can also save money by helping you avoid costly mistakes.
Can I Install My Own Carpet?
Carpet may sound easy, but it’s one of the most challenging types of flooring to install on your own. It’s easy to mess up, leaving you with a lumpy, wrinkly carpet. Correct installation requires experience, specialized tools, and top-notch measuring skills. The list of tools alone is enough to deter potential carpet DIYers. To do it right, you’ll need cutters, nailers, staple guns, carpet knives, seaming irons, and carpet stretchers. Proper installation goes way beyond just throwing a rug down. Here’s a nutshell version of what it takes:
- Prepare and clean your subfloor.
- Install tack strips around the whole room by nailing them to the subfloor.
- Install padding using a special stapler.
- Measure and cut with a carpet knife.
- As you lay the carpet, make sure to get all adjoining edges aligned. You’ll need seaming tape and a seaming iron to make it flat and smooth.
- Push the carpet onto the tack strip using a “knee kicker,” a unique tool that allows you to use your knee to stretch carpet instead of a professional stretcher.
- Make sure you pull slack and wrinkles out as you attach the carpet to the tacks.
- Press the edge under the baseboard using a carpet tucking tool.
In short, it’s a time consuming, physically demanding process. There’s plenty of room for mistakes. Most of us don’t have professional seaming and carpet-stretching equipment. So we find ourselves frustrated and dissatisfied with irregular or uneven carpet.
Should I Install My Own Laminate Flooring?
Laminate flooring has become increasingly popular in recent years. It offers excellent value and tons of stylish wood-look colors. It also has a reputation for being easier to install than other materials. In many ways, that’s true: laminate does offer ease of installation. But there are more moving parts and potential pitfalls than most of us realize, especially if we want our laminate to look great and last.
Laminate planks create “floating” floors, which aren’t nailed down or attached to the subfloor. Instead, they lock together with joints on top of a foam underlayment layer. While installing laminate doesn’t require tons of specialized tools like other materials, you need a robust toolbox. And it helps to have a table saw (which many of us don’t) to cut planks precisely. Some of the challenges of laying laminate include:
- Cutting the planks to just the right size and placing them in a staggered layout
- Planning for a ¼-inch expansion gap to avoid the possibility of buckling.
- Cutting around door jambs posts and other structural features.
- Installing baseboard moldings to cover the expansion gap.
Should I Install My Own Hardwood Flooring?
For this one, if you don’t have carpentry skills, the short answer is no. Solid hardwood flooring is the most challenging type of flooring to install. It requires:
- Cutting and staggering the boards.
- Nailing using a specialized pneumatic nailer and by hand.
- Installing transition strips against walls and doorways.
- Sanding and finishing for an attractive appearance.
Installing hardwood is a precise and labor-intensive process that requires specialized equipment (including renting a sander). The pros take extra care to minimize the dust in your home.
Hardwood flooring is also the most expensive flooring material, so you want to avoid costly DIY mistakes.
Installing Flooring? Call The Pros
Folks often attempt DIY floor installation to save money. We don’t always realize that it’s a big waste of time and money if we mess up. Homeowners often lose confidence or realize they’re in over their heads and wind up having to call a pro to fix or complete the job. It makes financial sense to start with skilled installers. Working with the pros avoids headaches and frustrations and frees up valuable time. Loudoun Valley Floors has a reputation for superior quality, value, and customer service. We’ll help you the whole way, from selecting the right hardwood to a great install and finished look. When it comes to flooring, there’s nothing like the satisfaction of getting it right the first time around.