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How to lower flooring installation cost

flooring installation cost

“How can I lower flooring installation cost?” –

this is a question I get a lot from my customers here on Oahu in a beautiful state of Hawaii. And today I will tell you one of the best ways to decrease flooring installation cost in some cases up to 70%. This method works 9 out of 10 times and it doesn’t matter what kind of flooring you are doing or how big is your job. Let’s dig deeper.

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Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring: 4 Things To Consider When Buying – part 1.

4 Things To Consider When Buying Vinyl Plank Flooring

Luxury vinyl plank flooring is a considerably new material that came to the market to replace laminate. But despite its novelty, it is rapidly gaining popularity and crowding out competitors. This is due to several reasons:

  1. Easy installation process
  2. Relatively cheap cost compared to other floor coverings
  3. After installation, it looks luxurious, similar to natural wood
  4. It’s easy to clean and maintain
  5. It’s 100% waterproof

To save money, many homeowners decide to buy and install vinyl plank flooring on their own. As an installer, I often have to deal with the consequences of the mistakes my customers make when buying vinyl plank flooring. Below I will talk about those 5 common mistakes and explain how to avoid them.

1.  Wear layer thickness of luxury vinyl plank flooring

Each vinyl plank consists of several layers. As a rule, the most accurate layer is transparent and it is called a wear layer. It is he who is responsible for how quickly the floors will wear out, how resistant they are to scratches and stains. Its main task is to protect the next layer – luxury vinyl print, from stains, scratches, and other damage.

The thicker the wear layer, the longer your vinyl plank flooring will look like new and will not scratch. The thickness of this layer is measured in “mil”. For example, Home Depot building supermarket chain produces and sells its own brand of floors – LifeProof vinyl plank flooring. The thickness of the wear layer of these floors is 6 mil. This is a very small wear layer, which is why if you read the reviews on the Home Depot site for these floors, you will see that many buyers complain that they are very easily scratched and wear out quickly.

Personally, I would not install at my home less than 20 mils (0.5 mm) wear layer vinyl plank flooring. This is a comfortable figure for me, below which I think you shouldn’t go down. That is why in our online store we sell floors with a wear layer of at least 20 mils. I have been repeatedly asked to add 12 mil wear layer vinyl plank flooring in my flooring store. But I think that it is not right to sell floors that will wear out very quickly and will be easily scratched.

Summary. The wear layer is the most important layer in vinyl plank flooring. Before you buy vinyl planks, check the box or ask the seller how thick the wear layer of the flooring you are planning to buy. The higher the number – the better. I suggest keeping it 20 mils or above.

2.  Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring Underlayment

            Vinyl plank flooring underlayment – is a thin layer of material made from recycled fibers installed between subfloor and vinyl plank flooring. Previously, the underlay was sold in rolls separately from the floor and had to be installed before installing the floor. But in modern vinyl planks, the underlayment is glued to each plank.

Vinyl plank flooring is needed for:

  1. Sound absorption
  2. Compression resistance
  3. Thermal insulation
  4. Subfloor imperfection absorption
  5. Moisture protection
  6. Provides a softer underfoot feeling

            As you can see the underlayment serves an important role, so I highly recommend buying vinyl plank flooring with the attached underlayment as we sell. Or if you are buying vinyl planks that do not have attached underlayment, make sure to buy underlayment separately, even if it is written on the box or in the instructions that it is not necessary or required. Still buy it and use it, that’s advice from an experienced vinyl plank flooring installer.

!!! Please, use only one layer of underlayment, unless the other is recommended by a manufacturer.

!!! Please, use the only underlayment recommended or approved by a manufacturer.

Summary. Vinyl plank flooring underlayment performs many important functions. Buy vinyl planks that have underlayment attached. And if it is not attached, then be sure to buy it and use it. Do yourself a favor – don’t skimp on this.

3.  Total vinyl plank thickness

The total thickness of the vinyl plank is the summary of all layers of the vinyl plank including the wear layer and underlayer which I mentioned above. Before you buy vinyl plank flooring, be sure to find out how thick it is. The rule is very simple – the thicker the vinyl planks, the better. Let’s see why this is so.

Thick luxury vinyl plank flooring will provide better thermal insulation, can absorb more sub-floor imperfections, and provide a softer feel underfoot. At my home, I would install a vinyl plank flooring with a thickness of 7mm or more, this thickness includes both the vinyl planks and the underlayment.

On the other hand, if you buy thin vinyl planks for example 3mm, the following consequences are possible:

1.If the subfloor is not perfectly leveled, then after a month or two vinyl planks will take on the shape of all the subfloor imperfections and irregularities.

2. If you install thin vinyl planks on a concrete subfloor, then vinyl floors will always be the same as the subfloor, and they will also feel harder under your feet. This will be especially tangibly if no underlayment was used during installation.

Summary. The rule is very simple – the greater the overall thickness of the vinyl plank flooring, the fewer problems you will face after installation.

4.  Availability of trims: t-molding, reducer, end cap, and stair nose or stair treads

Each vinyl plank flooring box contains installation instructions written by the manufacturer. Each instruction states that it is necessary to leave a gap between the floor and each immovable surface, for example, a wall, cabinet, balcony door, etc. This requirement is due to the fact that vinyl planks tend to shrink and expand with changes in temperature, humidity, and other external factors.

In order for the vinyl planks to:

  • look beautiful after installation,
  • keep the seams closed
  • do not move the whole flooring,

all gaps must be covered and secured. The easiest way to do this is near the walls, where can we install quarter rounds or baseboards. But in order to cover these gaps in other places or to make a smooth transition from one material to another, for example, when vinyl planks are installed in one room, and carpet in another connected room. We use trims, there are usually three types of them: t-molding, reducer, end cap. And for installing vinyl plank flooring on stairs, there are two more trims: vinyl plank stair treads and vinyl plank stair nosing.

It is highly desirable that all of them be produced by the same manufacturer as the floors. Otherwise, they may differ in color and height. The first can lead to the fact that the project will not look pretty, and the second – to problems during the installation process.

In the state of Hawaii, on the island of Oahu, I very often come across a situation when a seller sells to client floors that are in-stock here on the island. But he doesn’t mention to the customer the fact that trims for these vinyl planks are on special order only, and shipping time is four to ten weeks. Or that the seller doesn’t supply trims at all. And the client finds himself in a difficult situation when he has already bought the floors, but he cannot install them, since the seller does not have trims.

Summary. Before you buy vinyl plank flooring ask your seller if he has all needed for the installation trims in stock. Also, visually check all trims to make sure you like how they look because ofter trim color is slightly different from the flooring even if the manufacturer is the same.

And so, let’s summarize all of the above. Before buying vinyl planks, be sure to check the thickness of the wear layer, underlayment availability, total vinyl plank thickness, and availability of all trims needed for the installation.

This concludes part one of my article “4 Things to Consider When Buying Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring”. In the next article, I will share four more very important things to keep in mind when buying vinyl floors or otherwise it could lead to financial losses.

Here at Best Flooring Honolulu we know about all those issues and make sure our customers get the best positive experience. If you are ready to take action and replace your old flooring with new luxury 100% waterproof vinyl plank flooring, please click free flooring estimate now, fill out and send the form on the next page. And our sales manager will call you on the same business day. Or if you are just shopping around visit our flooring store to see all your vinyl plank options.

I love to hear the feedback from my reads. Please, let me know in the comments below if you ever faced any of the problems described above? What happened? what consequences have you experienced?

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How Wooden Flooring is Made?

vinil-flooring

If you are considering using wood as a flooring material, you should learn a bit more about the process of manufacturing hardwood. Not all wooden floors are equal, so before purchasing wooden planks, read this article and find out about the manufacturing process.

Wooden flooring

Types of Wooden Floorings

There are 3 main types of wooden floorings:

  1. Solid (also known as hardwood).
  2. Engineered (or compressed) wood.
  3. Acrylic impregnated wood.

Each of these types of floorings is created of wood. Each has advantages and disadvantages, fits into various interiors, has special characteristics, etc. Let’s deep into details.

Solid Wood

Hardwood flooring is traditionally constructed of planks. Just like laminate, a wooden plank has a tongue and a groove. When installing hardwood flooring, a click-in method is used. But before hardwood flooring appears in the shop, it has to be manufactured properly.

The process of manufacturing wooden floorings starts from cutting a tree and then cutting it into logs. If the quality of the tree is good and the pattern is nice, then it is chosen for floorings.

Chosen logs are then cut into planks that are later used in the installation process. There are three basic methods used to cut a log into planks. These methods affect the price and quality of future flooring:

  1. Plain sawn lumber – has a nice and attractive pattern characteristic for wood. It’s the most popular type of cut.
  2. Quartersawn lumber – the tree is cut into quarters, then these quarters are cut into strips.
  3. Rift sawn lumber – this cut provides better quality flooring, but it’s more expensive. Cuts the tree at a different than a quarter cut angle.

Then these cut boards are graded and planned from all sides to smooth the surface. The next step is to create a plank. A special machine is used to cut a groove and a tongue which creates a click-in mechanism. Then the planks are covered with a special finish.

The best thing about solid hardwood is its longevity. The pattern of the wooden floor can be refreshed or restored to its original view. It means that such a type of flooring can be maintained for dozens of years and it will look new.

Engineered Wood

This type of floor is a cheaper version of hardwood. It is constructed of different scraps and byproducts of lumber. These byproducts are glued together and compressed to form a solid board. That’s why sometimes you can hear a term compressed wood rather than engineered wood.

The basic compressed board is either laminated or covered with a veneer of real hardwood. The baseboard is considered to be more dimensionally stable which makes engineered wood a great choice for using over concrete floors or even heating systems.

As mentioned, the core board is covered by a real hardwood veneer. There are 3 methods of cutting the hardwood veneer:

  1. Dry solid-sawn – eventually, looks exactly like hardwood. The most expensive cut.
  2. Rotary-peel – the log is boiled at a certain temperature for some time. It’s a preparation process. When the preparations are over, the wood is scrapped from the lumber with a blade.
  3. Sliced-peel – also involves boiling wood for some amount of time. Then the wood is being sliced and compressed to form a veneer that is glued on top of a wooden core board.

The first cut looks exactly like hardwood, although the price is higher than rotary or sliced peels. The next best cut is sliced-peel since it provides good quality at a relatively low price.

Acrylic Impregnated

Engineered wood is used as basic material, and it is impregnated with a special stain and acrylic substance (of liquid type). As a result, the engineered wood is strengthened since the acrylic substance penetrates wooden cells and supports the overall wood structure.

These enhanced plans are more durable, gain resistance to mechanical damage, perfect for heavy-traffic areas. The special stain acrylic substance is forced into the wooden material, which means that the paint won’t wear off. The substance is forced through all wooden layers, so even the scratches won’t be noticeable.

The impregnated acrylic wooden material is more durable, so it’s a great choice for commercial buildings with heavy traffic. It’s extremely difficult to damage such enhanced material, it looks nice and the prices are relatively affordable. The great characteristic feature of this material is that it might be stained (acrylic substance is mixed with paint), or not stained preserving the natural look of a veneer.

Conclusion

Depending on your budget or on the area where you want to install wooden flooring, you may choose from three different types of wooden floors. Hardwood is a classic choice, usually, used in homes to create a cozy and warm atmosphere.

Engineered wood is a cheaper version that looks just like hardwood. And impregnated acrylic wooden flooring is a perfect choice for commercial purposes, especially if an area where it is installed has high traffic. In the Best Flooring Honolulu online store you may find some interesting options for your home or commercial building.

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What is the Best Type of Flooring for a House?

What is the Best Type of Flooring for a House?

If you are thinking about renewing rooms in your house, replacing the flooring would be a great idea. But what type of flooring to choose? The modern market offers various options to satisfy the needs of every customer. For example, laminate, vinyl, hardwood, carpet flooring, tiles, etc. are available. But how to figure out which one is better suited to your home? Let’s find out in this article.

What to Consider?

When choosing a type of flooring, it’s important to consider several factors, like the following:

  • Room – not every flooring fits each room. For example, stone tile flooring is great for a bathroom or kitchen, but not ideal for a bedroom.
  • House situation – if you have small children or pets, it’s best to choose scratch-resistant flooring that is cleaned easily.
  • Budget – such types of flooring like hardwood or natural stone tiles are expensive, won’t fit every budget.
  • How to install – some types of floorings need extra materials to install. This leads to extra expenses. Some floors can be installed by beginners and it won’t cost anything to install the flooring since you do it on your own.
  • The room style – you need to choose materials that fit certain interior styles.

Professionals note that some materials are ideal when it comes to the combination of quality and price. It’s generally advised not to invest in cheap materials since it won’t lead to saving your budget. On the contrary, you will have to replace the cheap flooring sooner.

So it’s wiser to invest in something not too expensive, but of good quality. The Best Flooring Honolulu online store offers the best value for your money.

Types of Floorings

You may say there are 6 types of flooring materials you could use in your house. Some of these materials are budget-friendly, others will require serious investments. Let’s take a look at these options to see what are their advantages and disadvantages.

Hardwood

Hardwood Flooring

It’s a traditional choice. Even though it comes at a higher price, people still prefer hardwood. It has a high return of investment, which means that you invest once and enjoy for years. It will develop scratches over time, but you may revitalize it with special substances or by hiring professionals.

The cost of installation of a hardwood flooring is high, as well as the cost of the material. Maintaining hardwood is also more expensive than maintaining any other type of material. But hardwood is more luxurious, fits almost into any style, and shows the overall well-being of a household.

Laminate

Laminate flooring

A cheaper version of hardwood which looks exactly like a wooden floor. It’s extremely easy to install, maintenance won’t ‘eat’ all your savings. Installing laminate planks does not require extra materials except for the underlayment layer.

Laminate comes at all colors and patterns, it’s a great imitation of wooden floors. It may not be as long-lasting as a wooden floor, but it is certainly durable. It’s best to install laminate high-traffic rooms, but not in kitchens or bathrooms. It may be damaged by the humidity and substances over time.

Vinyl

Vinyl flooring

Some people know it as linoleum or PVC, and remember that it is cheap. But today, it’s a modern and convenient material that can imitate everything – from hardwood to tiles. It’s a cheap and easy alternative that can be used in high-traffic areas. Installation and maintenance are extremely easy and can be used in any room, even in kitchens or bathrooms.

Carpet

Carpet flooring

Carpet flooring is soft and cozy, a good choice for bedrooms. It is considered to be a cheap option, and it is easy to install carpet tiles. The thing to bear in mind is maintenance. To make sure it preserves its clean look, you should hire a professional at least once a year to clean the carpet.

You will also have to clean it frequently with special substances. Carpets fit bedrooms and kids’ rooms, but it’s difficult to maintain it clean.

Ceramic, Porcelain Tiles

Ceramic or porcelain tile flooring is an excellent choice for a kitchen or a bathroom. It is more difficult to install if compared to laminate or vinyl, but it is easier to maintain ceramic flooring.

Even if it gets chipped and scratched over time, you can easily replace one tile with a new one. So unlike all other types of floorings, you may replace one damaged part. Ceramic flooring is waterproof and relatively cheap, although it takes extra materials for installment. It lasts longer and comes in various colors, can imitate other types of floorings, etc.

Natural Tiles

Tiles of natural stone are extremely beautiful, look luxurious, and cost a lot. Some materials may be cheaper, but overall natural stone tiling is one of the most expensive types of floorings. The classic materials used to manufacture tiles are marble, travertine, sandstone, and granite.

This type of flooring is traditionally the most durable. But keep in mind that over time you will notice scuffs and scratches, especially if it’s polished marble. Tumbled marble may not look shiny and as luxurious, but you won’t notice scratches. It’s expensive to maintain natural stone floors, but they fit into any room. Such a type of material looks expensive and extremely luxurious.

Conclusion

The most affordable materials are laminate and vinyl. They are made of quality materials and won’t eat all your savings. In the Best Flooring Honolulu online store, you may find a lot of interesting options.

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How to Install Laminate Flooring for Beginners?

How to Install Laminate Flooring for Beginners?

Installing laminate flooring is considered to be an easy process. You don’t need special substances like when installing the tile flooring, although you might need to level the floor before installing laminate. It’s easier than installing hardwood since you don’t have to nail it down.

Overall, it’s a dry installation process and laminate planks are designed to interlock. Even though installing a laminate floor is an easy task, it’s still a good idea to learn more about the process. In this article, you will find instructions for beginners.

What Materials and Tools You Need?

The installation method is of click-in type, which means you have to put two planks in the right position, and push them until they click. But you still need some additional tools and materials.

Here are the tools that will come in handy:

  • Hammer.
  • A level tool.
  • A rubber mallet (that’s optional).
  • Pull-up bar or a tapping block.
  • Utility knife.
  • Measurement tape.
  • A straight edge tool.
  • A rafter square.
  • Pencil.
  • A saw (could be a jigsaw, handsaw, or circular saw).
  • Table saw (optional, could be any usable surface).
  • Chalk box or a washable marker.

Most people already have these tools in their homes, so there won’t be any problems finding them. And you also need some materials:

  • Chosen laminate flooring.
  • Special foam underlayment material for the laminate floor.
  • Scrap wood spacers.

And that’s it, you won’t need any other additional material!

Installation Process: Instructions

Before installing the new laminate flooring of your choice, you have to remove the former floor. If the floor is not perfect, it’s important to level it before installing the laminate. To see whether it has no bumps and pits, use a leveling tool. If there are bumps or pits, you need to even out the surface.

You also need to remove the baseboards. Upon leveling the floor and removing the baseboards, clean the surface of the base floor. It has to be clean and dry, without dust or any dirt. It’s possible to install laminate over the old flooring, such as vinyl, but only on the condition that the floor is flat and smooth, without pits and bumps. Use a special foam underlayment as a base for your future laminate flooring.

And now let’s proceed with more detailed instructions.

Testing the Flooring Layer

To lay the floor perfectly, lay several planks to make sure they fit perfectly. Don’t lock the planks just yet. It is recommended to lay the floor without measuring and calculating if it’s a small room. If the room is bigger, it’s best to measure the space for each row of plans and to make marks with a marker or chalk on top of the foam underlayment.

Installing the Foam Underlayment

Underlayment consists of a thin layer of foam and it is advisable to use it before installing the laminate. Best Flooring Honolulu recommends laying the underlayment after leveling the floor (if it wasn’t perfect). This thin layer of foam is extremely helpful when it comes to absorbing various sounds and providing thermal barriers.

It’s very easy to lay the underlayment since it is produced in rolls of sheets. Roll the sheets and place them so that the edges are stuck together, but not overlapping. To make the task easier, you can purchase special underlayment sheets with edges covered with a special adhesive. When the underlayment is covering the base floor, just trim the edges near the walls by using a utility knife.

First Row

By using a saw, trim the tongues of each plank that will touch the wall. It’s easier to trim the tongues rather than the grooves. Choose the longest wall and start laying the first row of planks. Trimmed edges should be pressed against the wall. Make sure you leave enough space between the plank and the wall, each manufacturer states the distance. Use spacers of scrap wood to maintain this distance.

Place the first plank, make sure the groove is faced out. Work from right to left. Then place a second plank and lock it with the neighboring one. Then place other planks locking them with neighboring planks. You may use the rubber mallet to tap the planks so the joints are carefully closed.

The last plank of the first row most likely will be too long. Measure the length necessary to finish the first row and carefully trim it with your saw. The cut-off piece is used as a first plank in the second row.

Finish the Other Rows

Each last plank in all the following rows will have to be cut. The cut-off piece will begin each next row, so it will become the first plank. Moving from right to left side, place the planks until you hear the clicking sound.

It is recommended to place each plank in the second and the following rows at a 45-degree angle while inserting the tongue into the groove. Then simply lower the plank so it will fit perfectly. Tap slightly the plank into the neighboring plank with a hammer and tapping block.

The Last Row

You have to trim the last row of planks so it fits in. Measure the length necessary to finish the last row, keep in mind the distance needed to be maintained between the flooring and the wall. Trim the planks, and install them by using the same technique.

Conclusion

It’s extremely easy to install laminate flooring, especially if you are using quality materials. In the Best Flooring Honolulu online store you can find the best laminate, that is sold at a reasonable price.