Aug 18, 2010

My New Closet Floor

We finally installed the closet floor in the master bedroom closet. We held off doing this project until the overhead light and switch were installed (Mike did an awesome job by the way), just in case any more chunks of plaster ceiling came crashing down - I didn't want to risk damaging the laminate. Installation was pretty simple thanks to the quality interlocking pieces. The best part about this project? The whole thing cost us $10!

Considering the original price of our laminate flooring was almost $4 a sq ft, this is a pretty huge savings. The $10 price tag breaks down to the $5 box of laminate flooring from Restore and then $5 worth of shoe molding for the trim. We saved money on installation costs by getting creative and a little help from the internet. It was brought to my attention that the sub floor barrier was actually the same thin plastic foam sheeting used in packing materials. We only needed 18 sq ft, so instead of buying enough for a whole room from Home Depot ($60) or IKEA ($20), we used leftover 12" square china protective sheets from our move. We were given half a box free from one of Mike's coworkers and I just taped them together with packing tape to create a large sheet that fit perfectly in our closet. If we were doing a high traffic area or a basement where a proper vapor barrier was essential, I would have picked up the real deal. But for a small bedroom closet, a large roll of foam sheeting just felt wasteful and unnecessary.

Also instead of buying an installation kit, I put one together by taping coasters together as 1/2" spacers and used a leftover block of wood for hammering. Spacers are necessary to create a gap between the flooring and the wall to allow the laminate floors to expand and contract without buckling, and the block of wood protects the planks from being damaged by the rubber mallet during installation. We did a preliminary layout to determine plank sizes (you have to stagger them otherwise it weakens the floor), then cut down the laminate planks with our circular saw (using masking tape over the cuts to prevent splintering). The rest of the installation was a breeze, the pieces clicked together easily, and I gently secured them into place with my hammer using the block of wood as a buffer. Laying the actual floor was the easiest part!

When the floor was finished, I installed the shoe molding around the edges to hide the "breathing room" gap. Another option would have been to remove the base molding from the walls, install the floor, then re-install the trim but we didn't want to get into that kind of hassle for a closet. Once the shoe molding was installed, we did a quick caulking job and were finished!

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