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Friday, December 2, 2022
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    What to know about installing floor

    Michele Lerner

    THE WASHINGTON POST – When you watch a home renovation show on TV, every project looks easy. Knocking down walls may look like fun, but that can be one of the more dangerous projects to take on if you don’t know what you’re doing. Painting is probably one of the easiest.

    But what about replacing your floors? It seems like that could be a relatively simple process with a big result, especially if you’re only doing one room.

    We sought advice from senior vice president of Fred Home Improvement in Bethesda, Maryland Chuck Khiel; and owner of Annie Elliott Design in Washington, DC Annie Elliott. Both responded via email, and their responses were edited.

    Q: What are the biggest mistakes homeowners make when trying to DIY a new floor?

    Khiel: One of the biggest mistakes is homemakers not thinking the project all the way through.

    They either do not have the right tools or the knowledge to complete the task. Or something occurs that they did not factor in and they get stuck with not knowing what to do.

    Home offices need tight, flatweave rugs or carpeting so chairs can roll over them easily, and carpet tiles are a fantastic alternative to wall-to-wall carpeting. PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST

    Q: Which flooring types are easiest to work with? Which are best to avoid for a DIY?

    Khiel: The luxury vinyl snap lock or click-locking floors are fairly easy to install. Tile floors are the best to avoid. Too many things can go wrong.

    Q: Does the flooring type depend on the room? What else goes into choosing the right flooring to DIY?

    Khiel: Flooring types can be dependent on what the room might be used for, but the size of the room does not matter.

    Things like maintenance should come into play when considering use of the room.

    Another factor is durability. Some floors just hold up better to pet claws and kids’ toys than others.

    Elliott: Offices need tight, flatweave rugs or carpeting so chairs can roll over them easily.

    Wall-to-wall carpeting is terrific, but it’s a commitment.

    Carpet tiles are a fantastic alternative.

    They’re not inexpensive, but you can install them yourself, they don’t damage the floor and you can replace individual tiles if one gets stained.

    I installed FLOR tiles in my office by myself, and I love them. The great thing about carpet tiles is that you can install them almost wall-to-wall without a lot of trimming.

    Some people are hesitant to install hardwood floors in kitchens. Don’t be! First, if the rest of the house has hardwood floors, continuing them into the kitchen provides nice continuity.

    Second, a medium stain doesn’t show crumbs and spills – you’ll clean up eventually, but your kitchen won’t look horrible until then.

    (Dirt practically glows on white or light floors, and dark floors show every speck of dust.)

    And third, a glass or plate will have a fighting chance of survival if you drop it on a wood floor. If your floor is ceramic tile, forget it.

    Q: What tools do you need to install new flooring?

    Khiel: The type of tools needed depends directly on the type of flooring being installed.

    Luxury vinyl floors may just need a razor knife and a tape measure. Tile floors may need a wet saw, grinder and trowels. You may need several different types of saws to install wood floors.

    Q: How do you make sure you measure correctly?

    Khiel: Typically, you would measure the length times the width to get the square footage, then add 10. Tile, depending on the pattern, might require adding 20 per cent (for diagonal patterns).

    Q: Any other tips to upgrade your flooring?

    Khiel: I know you can learn many things on YouTube, but some projects require someone of a certain skill set to go smoothly. For a DIY flooring project, you really need to consider the ins and outs, as best you can, before attempting the project.

    Elliott: If you don’t want to replace it, painting the floor is another viable option.

    I was utterly charmed when I walked into a house with a floor painted in a checkerboard pattern: dark green and the original natural wood, with a coating of polyurethane over the whole thing.

    Painting the floor a single colour is an option, too, of course, and it’s a much easier project.

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