Well, the kitchen is done! Except for a a bit of finish work (filling nail noles in the trim) and some new decor, we’re finished! As a recap, we: refinished the kitchen cabinets using Rustoleum’s cabinet transformations kit, got new countertop, had a white subway tile backsplash installed, traded old white appliances for new black ones, and ripped out our old flooring and installed new laminate flooring from IKEA. We also purchased a new table and chairs from IKEA. (Interested in parts one and two of the process? click away)
Today I’m going to tell you about our experience installing laminate floor from IKEA and give you a few tips if you’re thinking about doing that. But first, a few more before and after photos. Here’s what my kitchen used to look like, in all it’s green walls, light colored laminate floor and ugly oak cabinets glory:
(Yup, that’s me doing step aerobics in the kitchen while my baby girl makes a royal mess on the floor around me. I never actually stepped on her, which is good. The fact that I can’t say the same about my older kids tells you that either my coordination has really improved or my exercise frequency has dwindled…)
Anyway, here’s the before/after:
I gotta say I love it. The light blue walls make it so much airier, and the newly painted cabinets just look so much nicer!
We repainted and refloored the front room as well:
I need some fun throw pillows for my couches now in an accent color – as soon as I decide what that should be I’ll get working. And I’ve got big plans for that old light fixture…the kind of plans that might never materialize, or might result in tears when the plans don’t work…but plans nonetheless.
Isn’t it pretty? I painted my stools turquoise (thanks to those that left comments helping me decide!) but I think I’m going to distress them a little – when I get them finished I’ll do another post showing what they end up like.
I’ve been very happy with the floor. Like I mentioned, it’s from IKEA’s Tundra flooring line, and we chose the Antique color. It’s hard to know what a floor will look like when it’s down, so it’s always chancy, but we really like it.
Alright, I’m done showing off now. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering installing laminate floor from IKEA:
1. IKEA’s floor is really a great value. It’s a lot cheaper than what you can find almost anywhere else (it’s about $1.15 a square foot). Other stores occasionally carry one type of laminate floor for 99 cents a square foot, but it’s usually UGLY.
2. IKEA’s floor comes with really lame picture instructions. We’ve installed laminate flooring before so it was no big deal, but if this was the first time we’d ever done it we would have been completely confused. I don’t know whether they offer better instructions on their website or if you’d have to look elsewhere for good instructions. The installation was exactly the same as the other laminate we’ve installed (which was from Costco), so it probably wouldn’t be too hard to find good instructions elsewhere.
3. You need to puchase the floor planks, moisture barrier underlayment (which comes on a big white roll), and an install kit which includes little black spacers and a couple of tools needed to lay the floor. If your room has any thresholds/doorways/stairs you’ll also need to buy transition strips.
4. IKEA also sells a little tool/handsaw set that it says you can use to install your laminate floors. Don’t bother! I cannot imagine how difficult and time consuming it would be to try to install this floor using a handsaw. I think it’s ridiculous that IKEA even suggests that option. You’re going to want power tools for a project like this. Plan to buy or borrow a miter saw for straight and angled cuts and a jig saw for detail cuts (like around your floor registers). We also borrowed a table saw when we got to the very end of the room so we could rip the planks lengthwise (since the last row of planks all needed to be cut in half lengthwise so they’d fit). You could probably make it work w/out a table saw, but I’d consider a miter and jigsaw to be neccessities for this project.
5. You can install laminate floor right over linoleum, or if ripping up carpet, right over the subfloor. Be aware that you will need to remove all your baseboards before installing the floor. Either remove them very carefully and label the backs so you can put them back on in the right spot, or rip them off and plan to put on new baseboard after the floor is in.
6. Planks should sit in the room they’ll be installed in for 24-48 hours before you begin install. This ensures that they won’t expand or contract too much once they are put together. So plan to buy your planks and place them in the room a few days before you are ready to get to work.
7. Be very careful with the planks during installation. Once installed, the floor is very sturdy and doesn’t knick or scratch with normal wear. However, the planks are installed using a click-lock system, which means they have a “lip” on one long and one short side. These “lips” are kind of delicate and prone to chipping, so carry the planks carefully. You’ll use a rubber mallet and two different tools (provided in the install kit) to click the planks together:
If you hit the tools too hard, you’ll chip the ends of your planks. We used a dishcloth in between the install tools and the plank to protect them, and then used medium-gentle taps to tap the planks into place. Check each plank as you install it – if it’s been chipped, pull it back out and put in a new one. Chips are very noticeable once the entire floor is put together, so it’s worth a little extra time to make sure all your planks go in without chipping.
8. It’s really not too tough of a project, even for novices. My husband and I had never done anything like this the first time we installed laminate floor, and we muddled through just fine. This second time went much quicker, and we got the bulk of the work on both rooms done in three 5-6 hour chunks. (Want to see the nerdy time lapse video we made of the install? Click here.)
Good luck to anyone considering a DIY kitchen redo. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it!
Linking to some of these great parties:
Weekend: Tatertots and Jello