Can I install this floor?
September 2, 2012 9:39 AM   Subscribe

How hard is it to install click together vinyl plank flooring like Allure Ultra? Please assume that this is to be done by two people with a limited budget and limited practical skills.

I'm looking at doing this flooring for the entire first floor of my house which has a open floor plan. Currently it has vinyl flooring in the hallway, half-bath, and kitchen while the living and dining rooms are carpeted. Both the vinyl and carpet are long overdue for replacement. I'd love to get real hardwood flooring but it's simply not in my budget. The vinyl plank flooring seems to be the best compromise between cost and appearance, but I'm open to other suggestions. It just has to be easy to install and affordable.
posted by maurice to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've installed click-together laminate, not the vinyl product. I assume it's fairly similar, but if not, ignore me...

The hardest part of installing flooring in my experience is cutting the pieces to fit around corners, weird angles, the end (where you'll almost surely not have a whole piece), etc. Very few houses are truly "square," so you're going to have some measuring and cutting to do, to make it all fit together. For example, the last row might not even be straight, so you're going to have to deal with cutting several pieces on an angle to make it end up where it needs to be. There's a little bit of margin for error where the moulding will cover the edge, but it has to be fairly close or you're going to have a gap.

If you're doing an entire floor, it's probably going to be a lot of that kind of measuring and cutting. If you're ok with that, I think the rest would probably be relatively easy.
posted by primethyme at 9:57 AM on September 2, 2012

We did this, partly because then we wouldn't have to put in new doors (which we would have to do if we installed wood floors because the doors are metal and can't be trimmed). Also, we were very time-stressed so needed a fast solution. The hardest part was scraping up the carpet glue which took HOURS. Wish I had hired that out. Hope you don't have glue issues. We had a neighbor with experience come by and get us started by putting a chalk starter line (made with a chalky string) where he thought we should start. I don't think we could have figured that out ourselves. You may be able to pick the mind of the flooring supplier to get that part right for yourself. Make sure to follow instructions about keeping it a distance from the wall, if you put it right up to the wall it will buckle with the weather. I bought a metal L-shape ruler to help with the cutting. Used a box cutter and changed the blade several times. One spot had a tiny pebble underneath which is now a little bump. You have to get everything extremely clean first. As I said, I hated the glue removal but the actual floor was pretty easy.

I saw a floor on Pinterest that was made from evenly cut pieces of plywood. If you sealed it well I think it could look pretty good. Our vinly floor looks OK but even a cheapo plywood would look better, I think, if you could pull off an artsy look.
posted by cda at 10:10 AM on September 2, 2012

This is a random youtube on how to install.

These vinyl strips seem a lot more forgiving than laminate (which is more stiff) - with laminate you really want to make sure the floor is level; involves using filler and power sanders and stuff.

As for squaring the room, if you can remove the base molding first this might make it a little more forgiving. Reinstall the molding on top of the strips afterwards.
posted by porpoise at 10:12 AM on September 2, 2012

It's really not that bad, if you're somewhat handy. Importantly, you must not rush the job, and you must not let small errors creep in early, since they become large errors the further you leave them alone.
posted by odinsdream at 10:13 AM on September 2, 2012

I went to home depot when they had classes and it was me and the instructor so it was really good. Went home and thought about it, then went back for the next class and got all my questions answered. For the install you will need a good table saw with a really good blade. After that the install was fairly easy and I'm still happy with the floor.
posted by Ferrari328 at 12:42 PM on September 2, 2012

Disregard my reply, I did laminate.
posted by Ferrari328 at 12:44 PM on September 2, 2012

We did this and it is super easy and blazingly fast. To cut pieces all you do is score and snap. Highly recommend.
posted by Ausamor at 1:53 PM on September 2, 2012

Thanks for all the comments so far. I know that you can just score and snap so you don't need tools, but since we'll be doing a couple of rooms that's a lot of scoring and snapping. I saw a $100 flooring saw at Home Depot. Is that something that would be a significant help?
posted by maurice at 2:53 PM on September 2, 2012

It is pretty simple, but make sure you have extra razor blades on hand-- the vinyl dulls blades very quickly and it's easier to score and snap with sharp blades. I just used a box cutter for my basement flooring; took my sister and I three days to install.
posted by lineofsight at 6:18 PM on September 2, 2012

I recently helped some friends install their vinyl click flooring and we did indeed find a jigsaw handy for cutting. Trying to use a blade and snapping it was (almost) useless.

If you aren't used to the muscle movement of score-and-snap, you end up with a lot of dull blades and more than a few useless pieces because the snap isn't clean enough.

If you are doing two rooms, we found that opening the boxes and really thinking about the pattern helped the look of it. You don't want the distinct pattern prints to fall too close together.
posted by Tchad at 6:19 PM on September 2, 2012

I installed an allure floor this summer, with nothing more than kneepads, a speed square, and a boxcutter [with lots of blades!].

I measured each end piece with the piece itself [reversed, but if you screw up a few you still get two good starting pieces for new rows later...] instead of measuring and marking, but that is just personal preference.

Many comments here are assuming you are doing click together laminate instead of this glue together vinyl, which is probably why saws are being mentioned. The score and snap process is really that simple, EXCEPT for cutting lengthwise as you will be doing for your last row, or around obstacles, or whatever. I did it by snapping an inch at a time, zipper-like, with my fingers as close to the score line as possible. That was okay, but irritating.

It is flexible enough to deal with unevenness of surface, but it will show any bumps that you don't smooth out or dirt that gets under there. I vacuumed the surface before each row of 'planks' and I *still* got a bump in there, but I think I'm the only one who notices it.

I've done [and/or helped with] lots of different styles of floor installation, and this was BY FAR the easiest and fastest installation.
posted by Acari at 8:44 AM on September 3, 2012

The click together flooring, like Allure Ultra line, is what I've been leaning toward because it seemed to look nicer than the less expensive, glue together Allure. On the other hand, the click together looks like it would be harder to score and snap because it's a little thicker.
posted by maurice at 9:03 AM on September 3, 2012

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