Top 3 Pro Tips for Installing Flooring

Few things inside your home take more of a beating than your floors. Between kids, pets, and dropped items, you can end up with very stained or worn floors. That’s likely why new flooring is one of the top home improvement projects.

Depending on your home, new flooring can change a room as much as new paint. Just picture going from carpeting to engineered hardwood.

Of course, deciding on new flooring is only part of the battle. There is still the pesky matter of installing flooring in your home. If you’re wondering how to install flooring, keep reading for three pro tips to smooth the rough edges off of the process.

1. Choose the Right Material

For the DIYer, one of the biggest stumbling blocks is picking a flooring type that is beyond your skill. Solid hardwood flooring, for example, is a project almost always best left to professionals. It can take specialized equipment and a lot of know-how to do it right.

Fortunately, there are easier options. A lot of engineered hardwood flooring goes down with a click-and-lock system and operates as a floating floor. There is still some cutting involved, but it’s manageable.

Other options include linoleum tiles or laminate flooring like this product. If you have experience putting in flooring, hardwood or traditional tile flooring are also options.

2. Prep the Sub-Floor

In many ways, this is step is almost more important than the flooring itself. You must remove any old flooring down to the sub-floor, along with any molding and baseboards.

You need a largely smooth, level sub-floor if you want a smooth level surface. For concrete, that typically means adding leveler to the subfloor. For wooden subfloors, it means replacing any damaged wood and dealing with any nails or screws that don’t sit flush.

You may need to lay an underlayment for laminate flooring or backer board for tile. Strongly consider a vapor barrier for basement floors as well.

3. Installing the New Flooring

Once you prep the sub-floor, it’s time for the new flooring. The exact approach will vary based on the flooring type. In general, you should make sure you have all the necessary tools and materials on hand when you start.

For tile floors, you typically get the best results if you start in the middle of the room and work your way out. For laminate planks and engineered hardwood, it’s often easiest if you start on side of the room and work your way across.

Installing Flooring and You

Your best bet for successfully installing flooring is for you to make a plan. Do your research and pick a flooring type you can reasonably install yourself.

Take your time as you prepare the sub-floor. Remember, if the subfloor isn’t level, you’ll get a surface floor that isn’t level either. Use an appropriate underlayment or backer board. For basements, vapor barriers are your friend.

On installation day, make sure you have everything you need on hand before you start.

Looking for more home renovation tips? Check some more posts in our Home Improvement section.