Installing laminate or vinyl plank is a project that most can handle. With the right knowledge, a few tools and a little research, a determined DIY’er like yourself can definetely handle this.
Here a few things to think about while you are deciding :
- Luxury Vinyl Plank or Laminate
- do you need a pad under the plank
- what will you need for transitions
- what direction should the plank run
- what tools will you need
- what do you do with all the furniture
- where do I start
- are the existing floors hard to tear out
These are a few of the most frequent questions that I am asked by DIY’ers just like you. Here are some tips for each of these questions and if you have any other questions, be sure to ask them below.
Luxury Vinyl Plank or Laminate
This is actually a great debate and I will touch on this a little right here however, look for a future post that will cover this in a lot more detail.
LVP- Luxury Vinyl Plank
- it is 100% water proof
- can be installed in any room of your house
- it is more forgiving to floors that are not flat
- it does not expand and contact as much as laminate
- it can handle cold temperatures(such as the cabin that is not heated in the winter)
- does not need air conditioning or a dehumidifier in the summer
- it can be easier to install in tight areas such as door jambs, closets and ect.
- can be installed over a concrete slab without the need of a vapor barrier
- it can look very fake in certain lighting(be sure to look for textures)
- it can scratch and gouge easier
- direct sunlight on the floor in hot environments can cause swelling
- thinner LVP can show imperfections of the subfloor more than laminate would.
- It is more durable than most LVP
- it does not scratch or gouge easily
- you can buy water resistant laminate(not waterproof)
- it has a more solid feel to it
- it can have a more realistic wood look to it
- it expands and contracts more
- vunerable to moisture
- can swell and buckle from moisture
- needs a controlled enviroment such as air conditioning and a dehumidifier
- requires a vapor barrier over a concrete slab
- it is not waterproof and use caution if installed in wet areas such as bathrooms.
- a little more difficult to install in tight areas such as door jambs, closets and ect.
It might seem that LVP has a great edge over Laminate but, that is not true. When you look at what the actual pro’s for laminate are, durability and a more natural wood look are very important things to consider.
Not all plank is created equal either. There are some very high quality products on both sides of this AND there a some very low quality products on both sides of this.
What type of pad do I need
If you choose a plank that has an attatched pad, then you DO NOT need any additional pad under the plank. If you do not have an attached pad then I ALWAYS use pad under the plank reguardless if the manufacturer says it is needed or not.
It is always better to have a pad under the plank to have a more solid sounding floor.
Do I need trasitions and where do I need them?
You will need to use transitions wherever the plank ends at another room. This room could have some type of flooring in it such as:
- wood or another type of laminate/lvp
- just a bare floor
- top of the stairs
There are a few other places that a transition could be used such as along railings, patio doors and other exterior doors. Typically, I always try to use quarter round in those situations first and if that is not possible, then I would use a transition.
There a 3 common transitions used –
An end cap
This is usually used where plank meets carpet. But, it can also be used along exterior doors and along railings.
These can be expensive to buy and there are other alternatives such as using quarter round along exterior doors and just ending the plank at carpet without it. I do have a videos inside Laminate University that show how to use this.
These are used in areas where the plank would end to a bare floor(nothing) or a floor with a thin layer of another flooring like vinyl/linoleum.
It can also be used to reduce height fron tile to plank. In this situation the lip of the reducer would cover the edge of the tile and the actul reducer would rest on top of the plank.
A T-Molding is used where plank would meet another hard surace that was close to the same height as the plank. This could be tile, wood, anothe laminate or lvp and ect..
NEVER use a t-molding where the plank meets the carpet. The carpet is too soft to support the T-molding and I guarantee it will break.
Then there is a Stair Nosing
This is used on steps or at the very top of the stairs.
There are 2 types of these nosings-
- flush mount
You use a flushmount nosing on steps only. The overlapping stair nose is used at the top step and it overlaps the plank. This is used so the floor can expand and contract.
I have videos for transitions
to better explain about how transitions are used and how they are installed you can watch my videos for these in my members area. You can also access many other videos that will guide you through your entire installation. Just click on the button below to get started.
What direction should your plank run?
I almost always base my layout off of the hallway. The reason I do this is because most of the time the hallway is a focal point of most homes. It is a place I like to have the length of the plank run parallel with the walls of the hall. This of course is not an exact science and is why I said almost always.
When you have a long hallway and the plank run the short way down the hall, it can really be a terrible look. I also know that sometimes there are multiple hallways in an installation and they can run opposite directions. This would be a situation where you would need to choose which hall would you like to look best.
Since we are installing a floating floor, the plank can run any direction you prefer. It does not follow the same rules as a nail down wood floor. JOIST DIRECTION DOES NOT MATTER
So preference is really the answer and it’s totally up to you. It is your house, you decide what looks best.
However, if you are installing plank into multiple rooms and you want to avoid using transitions, then that can be the biggest factor in deciding plank direction.
The locking system of your plank has a tongue and a groove. The plank is meant for the tongue to be installed into the groove and that is the easiest way to install the plank. But, it can be installed the other way(inserting the groove over the tongue), but this can be a little more difficult and take a little more time.
DON’T LET THIS SCARE YOU!!
I have several different tips to help with this situation, so don’t get worried or nervous about this now, I got you covered.
Here are a couple of examples of what it looks like when the plank is running the short way and the long way in a hallway.
I can help with you with your Plank Direction
If you need help with deciding plank direction, the layout of your project, tips on working backwards or even how you can avoid using transitions, Laminate University will provide all of these needs and more. To find out more about this, click on the Get Started button.
What tools will you need?
There really is not too many tools that you will need to complete a plank installation. Many of these tools you probably already have.
I do this for a living so, I have a lot of the bells and whistles to make the job go faster and more efficient. The average DIY’er does not need all the tools that I use. But don’t let me stop you from buying what you want to buy, have at it!
Here is a list of the tools you will need. I am going to leave out some basics like a hammer and tape measure, those types of things are obvious, right?
- jigsaw and some wood cutting jigsaw blades
- a good pair of knee pads
- utility knife
- chalk line
- speed square
- tapping block
- pull bar
- small planer or sharp wood chisel
I have a list of all the tools I use and how much they cost. You can click on the button below to see that list.
What do you do with all the furniture
What do you do with all the furniture
Moving furniture is never fun. Well, let me restate that because I know some of you like to change things up and you might move furniture around every month or two.
Finding a place to put furniture can be a hassel while working on a project like this. The goal would be not to move it more than you need to. Right?!
I will share with you how you can deal with furniture in this video, so check it out.
Where do I start
This is something that you will want to think about a little before you just jump into your installation. Let me ask a few questions-
- Do you want this to look like it was installed by a Pro?
- Do you want this to be as easy and as painless as possible?
- Would you prefer to learn from a Pro instead of learning solely through trial and error
Ok, if you answered yes to these questions, then I can help.
Where you start will determine how big your end pieces on every wall will be. This will let you decide where you want the plank to look best, such as the hall.
It also will help so you don’t have a piece that is too small to even cut, resulting in trying to cover up a huge gap with some sort of trim
It also will help you continue the plank into other rooms flawlessly without using big bulky transitions.
It will help you avoid working backwards into multiple areas. Working backwards is a term used when you have to install the plank in a manner that it is not meant to be installed. It can be done and on many ocassions it has to be done. You just want to keep it to a minimum.
The plank is designed to have the tongue inserted into the groove(this is the easiest way and would be considered working forward) when you need to install the groove into the tongue(working backwards) it is more difficult to get the plank locked together.
I have a video on youtube that has over a million views. I am not bringing this up to boast, I am telling you this to show you credibility. It is really a great video to get the basics of Where to start.
Not everyone understands it fully the first time they watch it. But, after going through it a couple times most get it.
I do have a step by step guide that is very easy to follow along with a few shorter videos that break down this step and they are found inside Laminate University. There are links to it throughout this page.
The layout(where to start) is the key to a successful installation and if you get this right, in return you will get a Professional looking result.
Are existing floors hard to tear out
The answer to this question can be yes or no, it depends on what type of flooring are you tearing out.
An existing floor can have many different variables to how it was installed. Because of this I am going to cover the basics but, I will give you an example to what I am refering to.
A kitchen floor could have sheet vinyl installed over it but under that sheet vinyl could be 3 other layers of sheet vinyl and a couple of layers of quarter inch underlayment. This would be a little more work than just tearing out one layer of sheet vinyl.
Carpet – easy
This is usually the easiest flooring to tear out. If it is glued to the floor then it will be more work. Most of the time it is what we call a stretch in installation. This means it would be attached to tackstrip along the edges and under the carpet is a pad that has been stapled down along its edges. If it is over a concrete slab then the pad is glued along the edges.
Laminate – very easy
This is very easy to tear out. You just need to find a place to get one plank out and the rest comes right out like taking apart a puzzle.
Tile – difficult
I really don’t want to make this out as being too difficult, because it is really just more time consuming then anything. Yes, there will be elbow grease needed and THE DUST IS GOING TO BE BAD!
If the tile is installed over a concrete slab then you should not have too much trouble at all. If it is installed over a wood subfloor and there was a cement board installed, then you will have a lot of work to do.
Vinyl/Linoleum – somewhat difficult
This can be a little work too. It also depends if it is glued directly to concrete or the main subfloor. A lot of times in this case it can be left down because it would only be about 1/16 of an inch above the main subfloor and that is easy to feather out with some good floor patch. You can use Henry 549 feather finish, but I like to use Ardex Feather Finish.
If it has a wood underlayment under it, that will be a little more work, but not too bad. The most time consuming part would be getting rid of all the staples and cutting around the cabinets with am oscilating saw(if the flooring was installed under the cabinets).
Is there anything else I can do instead of tearing out an existing floor?
Sometimes it can just be easier to add to the subloor. So you would build up any of the floors to the level of the floor you do not want to tear out.
This is not always going to be an option. There are several things to consider before you go this route.
- Will building the floor up result in doors not clearing the new floor
- Can the doors be cut if they do not clear
- if you build up to an existing floor in one area will the new height be higher than an existing floor in another area
- Is the cost of the additional subfloor far greater then the elbow grease used to tear the floor out
- Will the added height affect stairs and railings
Like always, the solution that could be easiest does not always work.
I have videos that are filled with tips to help you with tearing out any of these floors. You can find them inside Laminate University. Just click on the button below to get started.
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I am not a DIY person but had my floor installed by pros. It is not completed yet. I am very unhappy because they put transition T’s in the doors of my 3 bedrooms that didn’t need them. The floor is the new LVP. I hate the look of the Transistions! There was no reason why it couldn’t go straight into the rooms flawlessly. I have 2 bathrooms with tile and my kitchen has tile. I understand a transition there. My question is: Can anything be done to get rid of the the 3 Transitions in my bedooms? The project is not completed as yet. Please tell me there is a way to fix this!
There is. The problem though is the flooring store will tell you they will not warranty the installation. I would sign off on that if it was me. You can always add a transition if there was an issue.
I have a Travel Trailer 32′, I took out the trim, linoleum (3 kinds), and the carpet. The floors are now extremely sticky. As well as small chunks of the particle board are missing from prior ripping up without a heat gun?
I bought the quiet walk off your link thinking that’s going to help with the sticky mess, warmth, ECT.
I saw a guy use baby powder to help the sticky mess? But im worried, I thought I’d use baking soda instead. Now I see you say not to use the quiet walk? But Tar paper? Ugh I don’t know what to do.
I have 2 slides that lift and slide then drop down. I have watched so many of your videos thinking I can do this, I just got the quiet walk delivered today? Help please, thank you so much
You should be good to go using the quietwalk under the plank. I would use baking soda to get rid of the sticky mess.
As a retired carpenter I can readily see the professionalism in your ‘how to’ videos. Thx, however I do have a question. Is there any issue with installing a sound pad regardless of the fact that the vinyl plank flooring I plan on using has a factory pad? I would like to do this if there is not an issue in order to provide a little more sound cushion and to cover residue of old adhesive following demo of old self adhesive parquet flooring squares. I have removed via a heat gun and scraper all adhesive put there still remains a ‘sticky’ feel when one simply walks across the now bare subfloor. I also believe a layer of padding would eliminate very small imperfections in the subfloor. Am I nuts? Thx for your help
No you are not nuts! No, I would not use additional pad. It will cause stress on the joints. However, if you wanted to use tar paper to cover anything, you could do that.