Okay, so it's not the best photo in the world but that's because all the pictures we took with our camera came out spotted. We think the dust got on the lens and unfortunately it took us a few days to completely clean it. Plus I think the floors are still dirty in this photo. When they're clean you can appreciate the red undertones so much more.
You can read about the demolition, dust and water leak we had to deal with before actually getting to start the floor.
Before we could lay any of the laminate planks down we had to put down the underlayment first. The underlayment goes in between the concrete subfloor and the planks. It acts a sound and vapor barrier. The sound part is important because it absorbs some of the noise when you walk it (no creaks) and when you drop stuff. After looking at a ton of options we opted to get some Dreamwalk stuff from Lumber Liquidators.
Jonathan rolled out the underlayment and cut it to fit across the length of our living and dining rooms. He used plain old duct tape to bind the rows together. You wouldn't think it but this part actually took a few hours.
Once that was done Jonathan was able finally lay the very first part of our new floors!
The laminate came in individual planks that had tongue and grooves so you could snap them into place. Any planks that were going to be on the perimeter had to have the the tongue and grooves part that were sticking out cut off. Jonathan also had to place spacers around the perimeter. This gap was later covered up by our new baseboards. That space allows that floor to expand and contract with the weather.
Jonathan also had to cut some of the planks so that it would be either a third or two thirds of the original length. Visually this gives the floor a staggered look that all hardwood and faux hardwood floors have but it is also important structurally to keep the planks as close together as possible. The tongue and groove makes it easy to attach the planks but you still have to use a mallet to get the pieces in flush.
Jonathan worked his way across the room...
And pretty soon we were almost done! Once again- we = Jonathan. I did help by passing him planks and running out to get food. That's important right? I did try to help but Jonathan wouldn't let me since he "had to review all of my work" and he'd "feel better" doing it himself so he could "be sure it was done right."
Finally we had the last piece of laminate to install!
We were finally able to move our couch back in.
In a temporary place anyway. Our first floor is separated into two spaces since there is a small step at the entryway. Jon was able to finish laying the flooring on the larger space (living and dining areas) but we decided to save the entryway area for the following weekend. This meant that dust was still flying around and getting everywhere. We saw a lot of paw prints that week.
Small price to pay for such pretty floors. Wait until you see it with the baseboards!