How to Prep for a Floor Installation

Avatar Katelyn | March 2, 2013 3 Views 0 Likes 0 Ratings

We did some things right. Made some things worse. Eh, we are noobs at this stuff but we tried, and now we have some great tips for anyone who decides to turn their place into a dust palace install new flooring in their home.

With our house, we wanted to remove all the white tile from the kitchen, breakfast nook, laundry room, and entry way (it was cracked in several places and just sorta blah). We also wanted to get rid of the carpet from the living room, dining room, and hallway. Basically, the only rooms we decided to leave alone are the bedrooms and bathrooms, so the majority of our house is getting a huge floor makeover.

We chose that awesome laminate wood floor to go everywhere except the laundry room, which will be getting tile (even though laminate wood is more water resistant than hardwood, the guys at the flooring company recommended tile for the laundry room just to be safe). With such a large portion of our home getting a floor upheaval, we had to do some prepping and planning to make sure it went as smoothly as possible.

Firstly, we turned off the AC and used whatever we found lying around (cut up trash bags and home depot bags, which we have plenty of now) to cover all our vents.

20130226_103815We wanted to shove towels in front of the bedroom and bathroom doors, but because the guys were redoing the floors in the hallway too we couldn’t (the towels would have gotten in their way). So we closed the doors and hoped that would be enough to keep the dust at bay. It sooorta worked. After one day of tile demo, the guest bathroom did not fare so well and ended up covered in a nice thick layer of dust. The bedrooms weren’t too bad, but in the spare bedroom with all our stuff there was already a thin layer of dust on the items closest to the door.

So we made a run to home depot (note- we’ve been to Home Depot twice a day every day since we got the house) and picked up some rolls of plastic sheeting, Dexter style. We brought it home and basically made a big plastic tent to cover all our stuff in that bedroom as best as we could.

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And since we had some extra, we used more to cover up the kitchen appliances. The flooring guys had covered some of them already, but we thought it wouldn’t hurt to add a little extra protection. Check out that mess of a floor. Consider this a preview of our next post…

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We still had the problem of dust getting through the bottom of the bedroom and bathroom doors though. So the engineer came up with a towel+twine solution that allowed us to use towels to block dust from the inside of the doorways. First we rolled up a towel length-wise and tied twine to it in three places.

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Then while Evan was outside the room, I’d line up the towel along the inside of the doorway and pass the twine underneath the door to him. I’d shimmy out of the room, and as we closed the door Evan would keep the twine pulled tight, holding the towels up against the inside of the bottom of the door. Then we just tucked the extra twine and voila! Dust-blocking towels that wouldn’t interfere with the floor installation!

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I’d love to say that this is all we did and it was a huge success and we are awesome. But there was something else we did too. Something involving a putty knife, pry bar, and our baseboards. And it was not so successful.

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Let me explain our foolish actions. See with wood or laminate floors, they have to be installed with a 1/4 inch gap around the perimeter to leave room for expansion. Typically, people add quarter round stained to match their floors to conceal this gap. Here’s an example:

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We didn’t really like the look of that, and thought we’d like it better if the floors were just flush with the baseboards. So we decided we’d save some money, remove the baseboards ourselves, and reinstall them after the floors were done to conceal the gap left for expansion. So it would look more like this instead:

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We knew it would take a long time, so I started while Evan was still at work. After reading a bunch of online tutorials, I picked up all the right tools and followed all the right steps, and the darn baseboards would NOT pop off the wall.

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I was scared to pull any harder because I didn’t want to break them (after all, the goal was to reuse them and save money). So on his way home from work, Evan picked up some heavier-duty tools to see if those would help. Well, they DID effectively remove baseboard from the wall. But unfortunately it was just the broken off chunk you saw a few pics above. Sad trombone. We tried to stick it back on to make ourselves feel better.

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Luckily we had started in the laundry room so it’s not a place that too many people are going to see. But before we tried to tackle any more baseboard removal, we wanted to find out why it was so hard to pop off. Upon investigation (i.e. getting our faces really close to the floors), we realized that the tile and grout had been laid after the baseboards were attached, meaning the baseboards were literally grouted to the floor. No wonder they were so stuck! You can see how the grout is holding them in place in the picture below:

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So the good news was that at least there was a reason we were failing so hard. But the bad news was we had a huge expanse of grouted-in baseboards that we would not be able to remove. We had to consider other options. And after searching a bit more on the internet, we found a solution. WHITE quarter round.

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Extends palm, plants squarely on face. Duh. After it’s caulked in place, white quarter round ends up looking like part of the baseboard and pretty much gives us that same look we wanted from the beginning. Derp is us! Why didn’t we think of this before we started destroying our baseboards?!? Oh well. I blame lack of sleep and too much tile dust inhalation.


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