Before and after photos of a DIY floating floor – an easy and inexpensive update that makes a big impact in a short amount of time.
I am participating in a sponsored campaign hosted by Advil®. I received compensation for this post. All opinions stated are my own.
Ready for a fun before and after post? After sharing our tips for laying a floating floor, it’s time to see the final result! We spent a Saturday laying a floating engineered hardwood floor, checked another thing off our home improvement list, and we’re absolutely loving the difference it makes to our master bedroom! Installing a DIY floating floor is such an easy (and relatively inexpensive – see the budget breakdown at the end) way to completely update a room and it’s been on our to-do list for our bedroom for a few years.
We’ve done pretty much every type of DIY flooring you can think of – painting plywood, laying and staining plywood, applying brown paper with polyurethane, laying reclaimed wood floors, tiling (which I’ll never do again!), and floating floors – all in our effort to rid our houses of carpeting (which I personally don’t care for). So you can trust me when I say this is the easiest DIY flooring ever – and it was even easier with these tips we used as we were laying this floor. The main thing that makes floating floors such a quick project is that they’re prefinished, so there’s no waiting for finishes to dry or top coatings to cure which can add a week or more to a typical flooring project.
Floating floors aren’t without their drawbacks (they ‘bounce’ a bit when you walk on them, they can’t be refinished), but in our case the pros outweighed the cons – by a lot.
DIY Floating Floor Before and After
This is how our master bedroom has looked for a number of years, ever since tearing out the carpeting and applying a brown paper floor that sadly didn’t turn out. This was the fifth time I’d done this technique, so I was shocked that it didn’t work this time. I realized after the fact that the brown builders paper I’d always purchased from a particular store was thicker this time and it totally changed the outcome of the technique (which we have all loved in the past).
To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, here’s a side-by-side comparison of one of our kid’s rooms and our room:
See what I mean? Part of the brown/kraft paper floor technique is to crumple the paper after tearing it into shapes before gluing down to the subflooring. This creates the cool texture you can see in the top picture – it’s sort of a faux leather look and is a really fun way to get rid of carpet for about $100 a room.
Obviously, the lower picture shows that with thicker paper, the texture is lost and it looks like, well, paper glued to a floor. Not good. I kept thinking as it dried it would show the texture, but it never did. I added some stain to the poly topcoat to try and salvage it, and it helped, but only just a little. At this point too much time had been spent and we just decided to live with it until we could do another flooring (and by time, I mean more than a week and many tears, since I had to tear up the first coat after mistakenly using an oil-based poly – my muscles were screaming for a pain reliever like Advil® and I didn’t want to deal with this floor one more minute!).
Ah, this look is much better than the not-so-perfect paper floor, right? We still love our paper floors when done right and don’t have a plan to cover the kids rooms floors at all. But I get asked all the time how to cover paper floors down the road (since it’s a great in-between option) and this is a perfect example: there’s no need to do anything with it! Just install your new flooring right over the top, since it’s applied on subfloors in our case.
The one thing I was worried about was our board-and-batten wall treatment we added back when we started our remodeling. We couldn’t remove the baseboard molding without having to remove all the battens, which I probably don’t have to tell you was not going to happen. Since engineered hardwood is just 5/16th to 3/8th thick, it didn’t take much away from the existing molding and when we added painted quarter-round shoe molding, you don’t notice it at all!
We chose a darker finish to coordinate with our other flooring, and I’m in love with the way it looks! The contrast with the lighter walls and furniture adds such a rich elegance, I think. Does it show more dust bunnies? Yes, I’m not gonna lie. But it’s not bad, really, and I’m willing to live with it.
We’ve learned through our DIY flooring projects that there’s no way to avoid all the up-and-down movements over many hours that cause you to use muscles you didn’t know you had. This plus the fact that you need to move the furniture out and back in means we like to use Advil® in the aftermath of projects like this and we always have some in the cupboard. I don’t think we’re alone in this, right?
So, what do you think – pretty dramatic little update, isn’t it? I was really happy to find flooring on sale that had a nice hardwood look to it, without seeming too fake. I mean, there is hardwood there, but some engineered floors just look kinda fake to me with odd ridges in the boards. I think this is pretty perfect!
- 180 square feet of engineered hardwood flooring at $2.49/sq. ft. (we found a good deal!): $456
- Foam floating floor padding (2 rolls): $50
- 2 bottles wood floor glue: $16
- Quarter round molding: $25
- Threshold pieces (used pieces already had)
- TOTAL: $546
(Paint: ‘Creamy White‘ by Behr)
Disclosure: I received product and/or compensation for this post. As always, the opinions, thoughts, and projects are all mine and I will NEVER promote something I don’t love and think you will find helpful – promise! For more info, you can read our entire disclosure page here.