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Old 06-18-2017, 07:58 PM
Mrdeals Mrdeals is offline
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Laying wood floor, can a novice do it?

Opening store #2 and I want to lay nice wood flooring, the snap together kind, and to save money I would be willing to pay the floor myself. I have laid tile before, I keep being told wood floor is a whole different animal, but is it really? Would a novice like me be able to do it?
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Old 06-18-2017, 08:38 PM
OldOlds OldOlds is offline
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I am an office worker with no real trade experience, but I do enjoy DIY projects, and am quite proud of some of the work I have done- provided as context of my personal level of skill. I'd give myself a 7, where 1 is "thinks Manual Labor is some guy from Portugal" and 10 is "built his own house"

I've installed engineered snap-flooring (like Pergo) as well as 3/4" hardwood and found both very easy, even the first time out. I'd put both as about 4 on the skill-o-meter.

For me, the key to a floor is planning. Think about where you're starting, and what you'll have to cut around/run into so you have a plan to make it all look neat.
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Old 06-18-2017, 09:08 PM
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The short answer is "yes", a novice can do it -- you just carefully read up on what you need to know, take your time and be cautious as you go. You don't want to install your hardwood on an inappropriate subfloor, or have it an inch off when it reaches the opposite wall!

I ripped out the carpets in a large living room and separate dining room in one of our previous homes, and installed hardwood flooring in both with no prior experience. The caveat is that I did do a lot of reading beforehand, and it took a lot longer than I expected, which resulted in higher than expected rental fees for things like the hardwood nailer, which I needed for a couple of weeks.

Anyway, bottom line, a novice can do it but you can't just forge ahead like it's completely trivial because it isn't. It took a long time and a lot of work, but eventually it all turned out great.
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Old 06-18-2017, 09:20 PM
PastTense PastTense is offline
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Is your sub-flooring nice and flat? I think you might have problems if that is warped.
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Old 06-18-2017, 09:43 PM
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ZipperJJ ZipperJJ is offline
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My cousin and I put down a wood floor at my aunt's some years ago. Neither of us are tradespeople but he's one of those "I can do anything" guys and I'm one of those "I like to learn new things!" girls.

We were putting it in my aunt's rickety old house over some very old linoleum tiles. We made sure the gouges in the tiles were filled in as best as possible (using cut up pieces of similar tiles), swept and vacuumed, put down the padding and laid the stuff. It was all tongue-and-groove, no nails.

It didn't take us that long and it has held up pretty well, except that one spot where the floor was super uneven and there was nothing we could do about it (super old house).

There was a large gap between the floor and the baseboards, for some reason, so that made stuff much easier.

You need good kneepads. I am not joking - aside from a miter saw and a tape measure, you cannot do this job without kneepads.

I'd say I'm a 5-of-10 DIYer and we did just fine.

Oh, you also need a lot of extra boards that you can cut incorrectly
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Old 06-18-2017, 10:04 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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Given that this is a retail store and there may be shopping carts, hand trucks, pallet jacks and the like, the floor is going to get heavy use. Make sure you buy a product designed for commercial applications and think about how you would get scuff marks off of it.
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Old 06-18-2017, 10:06 PM
Mrdeals Mrdeals is offline
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Originally Posted by PastTense View Post
Is your sub-flooring nice and flat? I think you might have problems if that is warped.

The current floor is a dirty tile, that has been in place since the 50s. I was planning on laying the new floor right over top.

As far as flatness, i haven't used an instrument to measure the level, but i cannot notice any sort of warping.
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Old 06-18-2017, 10:21 PM
arseNal arseNal is offline
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The current floor is a dirty tile, that has been in place since the 50s. I was planning on laying the new floor right over top.
In that case one thing to consider is whether the added height of the new floor on top of the old will interfere with any doors or thresholds and the like.
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Old 06-19-2017, 12:12 AM
usedtobe usedtobe is offline
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If the sub-floor is perfect, there is no chance of water seeping in, and the product is appropriate to the task, yes, a novice can do an adequate job.


Reading the OP, I wonder if the flooring he intends to use is adequate for a "second store".

Commercial floor covering is an entirely different animal. Any "snap-together" product is likely limited to occasional residential use.

I laid some tongue-and-groove engineered maple (thin larey of maple (real) over a base of plywood). The idea was good,, but the product, once installed, showed its "bargain-basement" source.

This would never survive in a commercial install.
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Old 06-19-2017, 02:00 AM
Mrdeals Mrdeals is offline
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Originally Posted by usedtobe View Post

I laid some tongue-and-groove engineered maple (thin larey of maple (real) over a base of plywood). The idea was good,, but the product, once installed, showed its "bargain-basement" source.

This would never survive in a commercial install.
I had some concerns about this as well. I have seen wood floor installed in a local supermarket, and it is absolutely stunning. Any idea what kind of product might hold up? Maybe a wood look-a-like plastic or vinyl?
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Old 06-19-2017, 02:24 PM
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In that case one thing to consider is whether the added height of the new floor on top of the old will interfere with any doors or thresholds and the like.
This, and also remember that you will almost certainly have to remove and replace all base molding. If this is a commercial building it's most likely vinyl cove molding, which will have to be carefully peeled off and new glued back on afterward. Not a showstopper, but something to bear in mind.

Last edited by Doctor Jackson; 06-19-2017 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 06-19-2017, 03:30 PM
Barkis is Willin' Barkis is Willin' is online now
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If by "novice" you mean you're fairly handy but just never done a wood floor, yes, you can do it. I've also done the snap-together Pergo type floor and it is not that difficult. As with tile, it's the measuring and cutting that's a pain.
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Old 06-19-2017, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Mrdeals View Post
I had some concerns about this as well. I have seen wood floor installed in a local supermarket, and it is absolutely stunning. Any idea what kind of product might hold up? Maybe a wood look-a-like plastic or vinyl?
There are also now wood look cement tiles. They are wider so look like barn wood and they are very durable. My boys are about to start installing this in our basement Flooding took out our carpet. You may want to consider this as well.
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Old 06-19-2017, 04:36 PM
usedtobe usedtobe is offline
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Originally Posted by Mrdeals View Post
I had some concerns about this as well. I have seen wood floor installed in a local supermarket, and it is absolutely stunning. Any idea what kind of product might hold up? Maybe a wood look-a-like plastic or vinyl?
These installs, like the tile in 1880 Union Railroad Stations, live somewhere I can only dream of seeing in person.
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Old 06-21-2017, 11:36 PM
Bad News Baboon Bad News Baboon is offline
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I work in commercial architecture and agree with usedtobe 100%.

Typically wood flooring is not used in retail. The only time we have spec'd it out is for high end boutiques and restaurants. Pergo (or similar) will not last in a commercial setting. It will look terrible quickly and any money saved will be negated when you install new flooring.

We typically use the vinyl lookalikes for those on a tight budget or porcelain planks for those that can afford it. The higher quality tiles (both) are amazing.
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Old 06-21-2017, 11:46 PM
Bad News Baboon Bad News Baboon is offline
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There are also now wood look cement tiles. They are wider so look like barn wood and they are very durable. My boys are about to start installing this in our basement Flooding took out our carpet. You may want to consider this as well.
They are almost always porcelain. They come in all sorts of plank sizes, from thin to wide. They are also available in squares. The really nice ones come in a different "patterns" so that the floor doesn't look copy/paste. They even have a texture on top that mimics the look of hewn wood. They are very durable - we use in animal shelters when possible.
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Old 06-22-2017, 08:08 AM
Waxwinged Waxwinged is offline
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Hubby and his grandfather laid snap-together bamboo flooring in my studio, when we first got this house. Took them longer to prep the floor under it, than to lay the boards. Especially if it's an old house, you do NOT want to skimp on self-leveling compound.

(They had to deal with 5 different old floor surfaces in mere 700 square feet: tile, wood, plywood, and 2 types of concrete. It was an adventure.)
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Old 06-23-2017, 12:01 AM
Mr. Goob Mr. Goob is offline
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If you can, start in least visible place. Any beginners oopsies won't be noticed.
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