Today’s post will be a long one and I will start all the way from the beginning and why we replaced our entire downstairs flooring and decided to switch from laminate to vinyl wood plank flooring. Our laminate floor was about 20 years old and despite what you regularly saw on my blog, it had become really worn down. You couldn’t see it from the photos which weren’t showing the details of the condition of the floor but in reality, it was pretty bad.
So I want to show you some of those details. The majority were water damage from leaks, cat accidents, and chips and deep gauges all over the place.
Just look at the floor at the entrance to our home below:
In some areas the entire panels lifted up from water damage:
We tried to patch some of the major gauges but that didn’t look all that well either.
The worst areas were the kitchen from a previous leak and the transition strips. I hated them so much. I only have this bad cellphone photo. It’s quite embarrassing.
It also proves how much is actually not visible in blog photos because from a distance it all always looked just fine, right? None of you noticed what state the floor was actually in, right?
The previous laminate planks were glued together, very shiny, which made it extremely slippery when wet and streaks showed when I didn’t clean it a certain way.
I knew that I wanted to go with a vinyl wood plank flooring this time around and I searched everywhere for the look that I envisioned. We definitely wanted to have a light colored wood floor again because it doesn’t show dust and dirt as much but I also wanted a light colored floor with a less yellow tint, less sheen, some texture, and wider planks.
I was beyond thrilled when I found Karndean Design Flooring’s Korlok Select wood look options. The Texas White Ash HERE stopped me dead in my tracks and I knew my search was over and I had found everything I was looking for.
Just look at the difference between the two types of flooring. You can also see the difference in directions when laying the floor.
There are other reasons besides the Karndean Korlok Select’s obvious good looks that I chose this particular vinyl wood plank flooring for the main level of our home.
So here it goes…
Why I chose Karndean vinyl wood plank flooring
Benefits of the Karndean Design Flooring Korlok Select:
- Realistic and beautiful wood look which is what originally attracted me to this particular vinyl wood plank flooring
- Waterproof which is my favorite feature and most important feature after dealing with a floor that bubbles and swelled any time water penetrated it
- Kid and Pet-friendly
- Lifetime warranty
- Comfortable and quiet underfoot ( I used to hear everything on our old floor, even the cats’ claws would click when they walked)
- Low maintenance
- Phthalate free
- Easy floating installation with their securely locking planks
- No required underlayment because it is already attached to the planks
- Extra-long and wide planks at 56″ x 9″
- Installs over a variety of existing hard floors
I also made a video to show you more about our new vinyl wood plank flooring:
Prep and Installation tips for the new Karndean vinyl wood plank flooring
Let the floor acclimate
Even though this is not a natural material like wood and bamboo which expand and contract the most, you still need to let this vinyl plank flooring acclimate to your home for 48 hours.
Don’t stack the boxes higher than 5 and spread out the weight on different spots
This is mainly a safety issue if you are replacing a large surface because the weight of all the boxes should be distributed evenly on your subfloor.
Removing the old floor
Rip up and remove the old floor with a crowbar, safety gloves and goggles, underlayment, glue and nails, and staples too.
I got my son to help too and he was thrilled to destroy something as you can see.
Below you can see how big the leak in the kitchen actually was and all that area was chipping, bubbled and swollen within the laminate.
Here you can see that the leak made it all the way to the side of the island:
Willy sleeping on the chair as if nothing was happening 😉
Walter crawled into the below air vent. I was panicking like a mad woman and he managed to backtrack when I called him and stick a paw and tail out, so I could pull him out. He needs to be watched 24/7.
Remove and reusing existing quarter round base molding
If you are planning on reusing the quarter round molding, be careful to not break it when you pry it off the wall slowly with a crowbar. Remove any nails from the back of the molding with pliers. I actually taped all molding to the appropriate wall so I had an easier time putting it back in the right space after installation which really helped.
Below you can see how I taped the trim up on the wall, so I could paint it and reuse it later when finished with the floor. It didn’t work in all spots because some of it broke while pulling off. This sure made the molding installation easier at the end. It also saved a lot of money and not just time.
Here he is all dusty right after I pulled him out of the air vent!
Prepping the surface
Examine and remove any squeaks with screws and a drill. Drill the screws into the floor joists.
Also, clean up any debris to ensure that the vinyl wood plank flooring can be installed flat and the locking mechanism of the individual planks work properly.
Figure out what direction to run the floor planks
Generally, floor planks are not laid in the same direction as the floor joists but our old flooring had been installed that way, unfortunately. This also meant that the planks had been cut the short way down the entire length of our house and in the hallways which didn’t look nice. You should generally always have the planks run the long way down the longest run of the room or hallway. Our new floor is finally laid perpendicular to the floor joists and parallel to the longest run of the room which was for us from the front door to the back patio door and which in our case actually makes our space look a lot bigger. It’s an overall much more aesthetically pleasing look.
Measure and calculate for where to start running the plank
This is definitely the trickiest and most crucial part of any installation. This would be an entire post on its own and I didn’t plan on writing that, especially since I found a fabulous tutorial online already who explains it better than I ever could. I rarely link to others because I like explaining things myself but in this case please check out this blog post HERE to show you exactly how to figure out where to start and how to measure you planks right so you don’t end up with thin cuts at the end.
Use the correct size of spacers around the perimeter as mentioned in the included installation guidelines sheet by Karndean Design Flooring.
Hire help for difficult layouts and cuts
I knew immediately that this wasn’t a job I could do on my own like I did with the other flooring projects in our house and the reason for that is the fact that I wanted to eliminate the transition strips between the living room and the rest of the downstairs. Also, the fact that we have a tiny closet, pantry, appliances, and tiny powder room which require a lot of cuts and planning to make it all meet up properly.
I’m lucky that the husband of one of my best friends works in home construction and his coworker happens to be a certified installer and really knows how to solve floor puzzles. I loved observing and learning from him and he did an amazing job.
Tools needed for installation:
- cutter (HERE which is super easy to use because it’s not a saw and works just like a paper cutter)
- door jam undercut saw (HERE or HERE)
- rubber mallet (HERE)
- tapping block
- brad nailer and nails
- table saw for long cuts
Here is the above-mentioned cutter:
Let’s get to the installation:
They decided to start at the right side of my living room which you can recognize by the mirror.
So easy to cut the planks with this tool:
And the living room was the easiest room to install.
Jose took great care of what plank to pick next to make sure the color varied and stacked the aesthetically pleasing.
The problem area in our house was working around the closets in the center of the house. There is a hallway on the one side and the kitchen on the other side. This is where we had the transition strips previously and where it looked off that the planks had been installed the opposite way or short way. Can you already see how much better it looks than before? You’d never think that it makes a difference but to me it is huge.
While Jose was trying to figure out how to make everything meet on the other side of those middle closets, I worked on painting trim and uninstalling my dishwasher. I’m glad I learned that a couple of weeks ago when our old one broke. It came in handy for sure.
Measure, measure, and measure!
All you really have to do with the planks is to insert the planks into the lip and lock them down.
And then occasionally tap them in place with a mallet.
Painting the trim before putting it on was such a time saver. I only had to do touch-ups on the holes that I filled with drywall mud.
I was able to start putting the trim back rather quickly in areas that were finished.
The bathroom and toilet was the last area to get installed. This time around I got a premium wax ring to replace the old one at the base of the toilet.
Here is my dream team and apparently my cellphone thought so too because I have no idea why I couldn’t get it to stop applying the blur to the photo haha. Dave and Jose really knocked this one out of the park.
Photos of our newly installed vinyl wood plank flooring
This hallway alone makes me so happy which is such an odd thing to say!
Our area rugs have to get cleaned professionally and after seeing the beautiful floor without area rugs, I decided to keep the floor rug free for the summer. It feels so big, open and beachy without the rugs and we love it. The photos speak for themselves I think.
Ugh, I had to add a scratching post by the sofa because Walter was ruining the furniture and it really helped. I got this one HERE.
I mentioned that our place looks bigger and it really does.
Depending on how the sun hits the floor, it sometimes looks lighter and then later darker again.
And one more time the closeup of our entrance before:
And the closeup of our entrance now after with the beautiful new Karndean vinyl wood plank flooring
Thanks for making it all the way to the end! We are so happy with how the floor turned out. And after living with our upstairs bamboo flooring for a couple of years, I wish we had this floor upstairs too. The bamboo expands and contracts way too much which drives me crazy.