Who’s Installing Your New Floor?
Thinking of new floors? The same old story and question reappears. Who’s going to put down the floor?
You finally decided on the new flooring for your playroom or basement. There are so many variations of materials and designs to choose from. Each and every floor has its own variables and methods of installation. Some floors use specific epoxy or glue, others need special underfloor preparation. Most importantly, who will be the person to lay the floor correctly?
What Type of Floor Are You Buying?
The type of floor is one the determinations of the difficulty of installation. Some floors come with self-adhesive backing and are forgiving to the floor underneath. For example, simple vinyl tiles or carpet tiles are not too difficult to self-install. When dealing with ceramic tiles there are definitely more parameters. A ceramic tile must be cut with a special trimming machine. Not only does the tile that is cut have to fit exactly in the space, but the edges must be super smooth to look professionally installed. If you are starting from the middle or the ends of the room it will still be a challenge to get it right. The grouting underneath the floor must be smooth and even and the sides of each tile surrounded by the grout should be equidistant from each other.
Interlocking floor tiles do not have grout, glue, or epoxy to keep them in place. In fact, one advantage of these tiles is that they can always be removed when necessary. We do not generally encourage or discourage the homeowner from doing a self- installation. However, like every other home improvement things ends up taking longer than anticipated. For those who enjoy doing their own home repairs and upgrades, by all means try those interlocking floor tiles assembly by yourself. There is nothing as fulfilling as when you do it yourself. Interlocking floor tiles can be purchased in various colors to create wonderful and original patterns to match the rest of the room or to start a new color scheme. Using two colors is certainly easier than three or four and one is the simplest. Inserting alternate color tiles gives interest and creativity to a room. Black and white is a common combination but any combination of contrasting colors brightens up a dark room. You may already have decided on the colors of the paint or wall coverings, and you can use those same colors in your tiles. For a basement or children’s playroom, red and white or red and yellow or so colorful and youthful. For boys, blue and white is certainly a winning combo.
If you have a certain pattern in mind while creating a new décor you might think twice before attempting to do it yourself. We always recommend buying more tiles than measured since self-calculations can miss the mark. When using a professional installer working within the company that your tiles were purchased you are assured that the number of tiles estimated will be right. Nevertheless, if there is a shortage the installer will be able to purchase the tiles for you instead of you running back and forth in emergency mode.
Don’t Jump on the Job Too Quickly
Here is a typically innocent scenario. Your wife measures the floor of the basement play area and since you have just come home from a busy day at the office you grab a piece of chicken and head to the car with your wife so you can get to the store before it closes. “Are you sure you took the correct measurements?” you ask in the most patient way possible. “I’m pretty sure I did the measuring correctly, you told me how to, right?” your wife answers in a pensive way. By this time, you are speeding on the highway toward the tile store that is closing within the hour. Your day off is Sunday, but that was not the day you wanted to go shopping for tiles since Sunday is the only day of the week that you can install them. Your wife wants them by Monday because your son is having his tenth birthday party in the newly floored basement.
You enter the store with about one half an hour to choose the tiles before closing time. Luckily the ones you both like are in stock and the stock person is nice enough to load them into your trunk. Before paying, the salesperson asks the question about the number of tiles you are buying. “From the measurements you gave us it doesn’t sound like the room is that big. Are you sure you measured right?” He asks. He then explains to you and your wife the correct way to measure a room. By measuring the length and width of the room and then multiplying the two numbers you will get the square footage of the room. Then always add another ten percent to take into account the fitting and cutting. Due to the uncertain look on your wife’s face, you add an extra box of tiles to your purchase and have a more relaxing ride going back home. In fact, you are getting excited in your mind and visualizing the completed room. Your wife catches on to your mood and begins describing the details of the party and of course the delicious food she will be buying. Since you hardly had any supper, your mouth starts watering and you both stop for a bite to celebrate your new floor purchase.
From here on the storyline goes downhill. Number one, the next morning your wife comments that the tile does not exactly match the freshly painted walls. (We always recommend decorating from the floor up and matching the paint to the floors.) You convince her that the tiles do blend with the walls and surely match the couch, and she fortunately agrees.
A few days later, Sunday arrives, and you have all your tools set up to begin the renovation. After wasting some tiles that you cut wrong and installing about half the room tiles, you realize that you don’t have enough tiles. Also, when you look from halfway up the steps, they appear lopsided. This is one thing that you and your wife agree on. The tiles are just not straight and even. So now there are two problems, the shortage of tiles and the unprofessional look of the ones already installed. What is a poor homeowner to do in these circumstances? We will leave it up to the reader’s imagination to figure out the outcome of this tale.
Practice Makes Perfect
It would be wise to rehearse before trying to install tiles in a large area such as a basement or playroom. Even just using an old piece of wood and practicing applying the glue and seeing how the tiles move around and learning how to space them correctly will help avoid regret later. Using a day for mastering the correct technique will save you loads of anguish and extra cost. Even before purchasing the number of tiles for the entire room, rather purchase just one box instead. If you see that you are perfecting your technique, then you are ready to purchase the rest of the tiles. The speed of installation will increase with practice and the extra time you spend training will pay off on the day you install the actual floor.
Do you think it makes a difference which wall you start from first? It sure does and here’s why. All the walls in your room may not be equally straight. We know to be on the lookout for uneven floors and some floors require specific underlays before proceeding to lay the tiles themselves. Always begin with the most prominent wall, meaning the one that will be seen the most when entering the room. You may have to patch up the floor next to the remaining walls if they do not match exactly with the walls. At least that part of the floor would be covered by a couch or other furniture or at least not be noticeable.
Watching a YouTube video is always helpful to a beginner self-home renovator. But don’t forget that the man on his own channel has experimented substantially before recording the video you are watching. So, although it may look easy, don’t be fooled. I’m sure he’s made plenty of mistakes before shooting that actualization.
If you are purchasing quality tiles such as Interlocking floor tiles it may be wise to use the company’s own installers. This way if something goes wrong or there are not enough or too many tiles the situation is easily remedied. Too many tiles, and the installer will take back the unused box or boxes. Too little tiles, and he can call up the store to send some more ASAP. The choice is yours. Just remember the old saying, “practice makes perfect” even with so-called simple tiles. Don’t be fooled by a store that says you will have no problem installing their tiles. Some large outlets don’t have their own workman and generally cater to people doing their own home improvements. If you are more of the “let someone else, do it type” make sure to go to a store that will recommend a competent installer. It’s exciting to buy a new floor, let’s hope that the same excitement remains even after the job is completed.