Probably one of the most impactful projects we’ve done so far is replacing the flooring. There were a total 5 different floors throughout our house and I hated every single one. Here’s how we discovered and installed NuCore Luxury Vinyl Plank flooring!
Now, I don’t want to be “that guy” who covers up wood floors, only to have people 20 years down the line rip up the current flooring and wonder wtf we were thinking. Buttt….look at this! It’s taken a beating. And it was literally only in the small walkway of our entry and nowhere else in the house. It just wasn’t worth sanding and refinishing. We did have someone quote us on installing laminate for us and that came to over $3k for just the living and dining room (not including materials). No thanks.
After tons of research, I knew I needed at least 3 things in a new floor:
- water proof or water resistant (so we could carry it into the kitchen/bathrooms)
- floating (meaning no glue, nails, etc. it literally sits on top of a sub floor or current floor so we don’t have to rip up old tile or wood)
We went on an adventure to Floor & Decor to see all the options and price out what we wanted. Pro Tip: you can buy one sample piece of flooring for about $5 each and take it home to make your decision. They will honor a refund for samples you don’t choose! I took home a variety of options and had the House Brew decision maker (Kobe) weigh in.
We decided on NuCore Luxury Vinyl Plank with a cork backing in Colorado Mocha (the color name recently changed to Mixed Mocha). Here are its features that sold us:
- 100% waterproof—Install it in virtually any room in the home (kitchens, full bathrooms, and basements).
- Install up to 6,400 square feet—No need for transition molding
- You can install it right away—Pre-installation acclimation is unnecessary.
- Pre-attached hypoallergenic natural cork underlayment for a quieter, warmer floor.
- Anti-microbial coating on top is naturally resistant to staining and odor-causing mold and mildew.
- Features a floating angle-and-tap installation method. No glue, nails, or underlayment required.
- Can be installed over most existing hard-surface flooring.
The pricing was comparable with other luxury laminates. It wasn’t super cheap and it wasn’t the most expensive. It did come with a cork backing already installed on each piece, eliminating the cost for us to buy an underlayment. So..sold! Packed up the sedan and drove off into the sunset with my new mocha hardwoods.
Like any decent DIY project, you’ll need to take a peek at what we were dealing with before to really see how far we came.
The carpet – you guessed it. Beige. While it wasn’t the worst carpet in the world, you could tell the previous home owners had pets because there was a lingering pet smell…Also hubby has bad allergies so the less old carpet, the better. We started by ripping up the old. We used a utility knife to cut the carpet into sections and make it more manageable to remove. You’ll want to wear gloves for this because old carpet can hold a crap ton of dirt. There are also staples that secure carpet into place and you don’t want to accidentally grab one of those!
After that. we uncovered the disgusting cause of the lingering pet smell. This pet stain had soaked all the way down into the subfloor. So..we decided to rip the whole house down and start all over. 🙂
Seriously though, apologies in advance for the extra details but hopefully this can help someone else out! I discovered if you have a pet stain in your sub floor, you can paint over it with a Killz odor blocking primer to completely get rid of the smell FOREVA!
Once the carpet was up, you’ll need to remove all the staples that are in the floor. These are spread all around, so you’ll need to really search for them and focus on the parameter where the tacks are that hold the carpet into place. Wear goggles!
After you have a completely blank slate, it’s time to start install! We removed two rooms of carpet and staples in one afternoon, with enough time to start installing the new floors the same day! This is definitely the most gratifying part. Literally drooling..
The floors have a tongue and groove process where you click and lock each piece into each other. They basically latch onto one another and create a large, new surface without the need to nail or glue anything! #FloatingFloor. Because this is a wood-look laminate, we staggered the joints like wood would be installed. Be sure to also grab pieces from various boxes to mix up the colors and ensure consistency throughout the rooms.
You can see above how the flooring has the cork backing, which acts as the underlayment. We used a miter saw to cut any abstract pieces around the corners and baseboards.
The same process was followed for the area with wood floors. We didn’t have to rip out any of this (WIN!) – we just installed right over it. Again, beauty of a floating floor!! You’ll also notice we switched the direction of the wood to flow more naturally into the house and match the direction the floor ran in the adjacent rooms. Bye uglay orange!
One of the hardest parts of install is maneuvering around doorways and tight spaces. After a solid 15 minutes of YouTube research, I discovered the best way to install around doorways is to cut out a piece of the trim so the flooring can slide easily under the door jam and look like it had always been there. An oscillating tool would be great for this use. We didn’t have one at the time of install so we used the reciprocating saw instead. Bad idea. It just doesn’t work well for odd angles..so use an oscillating tool. We also used a scraper and hammer to nudge out the cut pieces so the laminate could fit in.
Installing in closet areas are tricky too. You need to be sure they line up with the rest of the flooring so they can click and all lock into place. It really just takes some planning and patience to work around some obstacles. But, once you get in a groove, it’s actually pretty easy! The install went fairly quickly. We finished the dining room, living room and entry way in one weekend (including removing the carpet). The part that took 3x as long was the baseboards and trim.
The directions for floor installs I read up on all suggested having a gap between the flooring and baseboard called an “expansion gap“. This allows materials to expand and contract with the changes in weather/temperature and not have them buckle against each other. I think this is more for hardwood. Knowing the laminate does not need time to acclimate, it also does not need an expansion gap. You live you learn. For us, our expansion gap was wayyy larger than it should have been in some spots. We started working on the base trim and realized quickly that we had to find a creative solution for this…
The easiest solve I landed on was building out the trim with a small piece of wood and then installing the finishing trim. This gave us an additional 1/2 inch to work with to cover up the unexpected gap. You can see below how we built out the trim. It took more time and money than we expected, but I actually like how it turned out. It looks like a really intricate piece of baseboard once we caulked and painted everything.
You can see above where the caulked side (right) looks like one grand piece, compared to the un-caulked side (left). Here’s a look at the finished floor and trim! We also replaced the floor vents with ones that matched the new mocha color.
The entire front of our house got a complete facelift in just a weekend and we LOVE this flooring. It’s been over a year since we installed this and they are holding up great. Not only are they waterproof, they are scratch resistant and easy to maintain. We’ve since installed this in our kitchen and bathrooms in the same color. We’re down to 3 different flooring types in the house now. 🙂
Are you a fan of laminate? Share your comments below!