Update a room with engineered hardwood or laminate in a day with these tips for laying floating floors to make it go easier and quicker.
I am participating in a sponsored campaign hosted by Advil®. I received compensation for this post. All opinions stated are my own.
I’m so excited to be sharing this DIY project with you guys – laying a prefinished, engineered hardwood floating floor in our master bedroom! I’m not just excited about how it looks (fantastic!), but about how easy it went together and that it wasn’t very disruptive at all. It was completed in a day, can you believe it?
But we found some ways to make it even easier for you to lay your own floating floor, so I’m going to be sharing this project in two parts – these the tips to lay your own floating floor and then the I’ll share the whole room before-and-after, so stay tuned for that!
We purchased our engineered hardwood flooring from a local home store and the flooring didn’t even have a brand name to share with you, but it was the best deal in the color we needed (at $2.49/sq. ft.). It also didn’t have the wavy grooves (not sure how else to explain it) that many engineered hardwood samples seemed to have. This is oak and it actually looks like oak, though a bit smoother than our regular oak wood flooring. Any type of floating floor that is glued (rather than nailed) will work for this DIY project. Other than the flooring, all we purchased was the flooring foam underlayment and two bottles of a wood glue made for flooring.
DIY Tips For Laying Floating Floors
Our biggest overall tip came from the fact that the directions included in our particular flooring were terrible. Really, they contradicted themselves! So we searched online and found this video from Lowes that was very helpful, so we’d encourage you to watch this before tackling this project. Here are some other things we found to be really helpful (affiliate links included):
1. Don’t skimp on the knee pads! If you don’t have a sturdy pair, buy one with your flooring items. There’s no getting around the fact that you’ll need to be on your knees a lot when laying a floor.
2. This tool, called a Pull Bar (for wood floors and tile), that our friend brought turned out to be a lifesaver, so it’s another thing we’d recommend you buy, too. It proved super useful for tightening the planks at the wall edges where your hands don’t fit.
3. We used painter’s tape in a couple places while the glue dried which was a great tip we learned from the video linked above.
4. Make sure to buy flooring glue in a bottle with a pointed applicator – this made it go pretty fast and easy. There are two things we learned: cut the glue tip as small as possible – you only want a narrow bead of glue – and keep a moist rag nearby to immediately wipe up any glue that seeps out of the cracks. If you catch it right away, it won’t dry on the floor or be carried to different areas by your shoes.
5. To lay the first boards and all subsequent edges, we figured out this great trick to keep all the spaces even: use paint sticks. They’re free and easy to find. Cut the sticks in fourths and place them along the wall edges to hold the flooring at a consistent distance from the wall, especially at the joints (remember, it’s floating).
6. The two indispensable tools we used for creating tight seams are a rubber mallet and scrap wood block. You need to hold the wood block against the flooring and then tap the wood block with the mallet to tighten the spaces between the planks without damaging the flooring edges. Use them on both the long sides of the planks as well as the shorter ends to keep everything tight.
7. There’s a lot of up-and-down movements, bending and lifting in this project, there’s no getting around it. So another thing we always have on hand for our DIY projects is Advil® for relief from all the aches and pains that come from DIY’s like this.
Even though Advil® is sponsoring this post, I’m completely serious about this – it’s one of the reasons I was happy to have them as a sponsor for this because we actually do use it! It was recommended years ago for some severe back pain I had by my physical therapist sister and we continue to keep it on hand for projects like this because it works.
(And you can see from this photo that Brian learned the hard way about the knee pad tip by starting the project with a pair that slipped down – feeling sorry for him his friend, Dan, gave him a pair to finish the project!)
8. As you reach the last part of the flooring project, you will most likely be left with spaces that are too small for full-sized boards. You’ll have to cut these pieces to fit, and honestly, this is the trickiest part of the whole project. We found that borrowing, renting, or buying a table saw was about the only way to get these pieces cut to fit (we used a powered miter saw or “chop saw” to cut the end pieces of each row, which could also be done with a handsaw and miter box).
Honestly, we can’t figure out a way you’d do this last part without a table saw, though we’re not woodworkers, so maybe there’s a work around we don’t know about. We also used an oscillating tool/saw to cut the bottom of the door moldings so we didn’t have to remove them. This was a huge time-saver, since we weren’t removing the baseboard molding because of the existing board-and-batten wall treatment.
9. Our last tip is to have all your finishing pieces painted or finished so they are ready to add when the floor is done. We used quarter-round molding at the baseboards to cover the floor ends and we had this primed, painted and dried so we could nail it in right as we finished. You will appreciate having this done when you’re able to put your room back in order in only 1 day!
Bonus tip: we used a small artist paintbrush to touch up the exposed, cut quarter round edges in place.
We’re absolutely loving the results – and how easy this project turned out!
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! This post also contains affiliate links and by clicking on them you help support AOC at no extra cost to you! For more info, you can read ourentire disclosure page here.