Replacing the floor in a laundry room can be a challenge, since it requires removing the washer and dryer and often the hot water heater as well.
Steps in Laminate flooring project:
- Disconnect and remove hot water heater.
- Disconnect and remove washer and dryer.
- Remove shoe mold around the floor.
- Clean vinyl floor.
- Fill in missing areas in vinyl floor with floor patch compound.
- Use jamb saw to trim door casings to fit new flooring.
- Place underlayment pad on top of vinyl flooring.
- Install floating laminate floor, leaving a gap around the edges.
- Put shoe mold back down around the edges of the floor.
- Install threshold in doorway.
- Reinstall washer and dryer.
- Reinstall hot water heater.
Read episode article to find out more.
- How to Install Laminate Flooring (video)
- Installing Laminate Flooring on a Concrete Slab (article)
- Installing Laminate Flooring Over a Tile Floor (article)
Danny Lipford: This week on Today’s Homeowner, we’re exploring some flooring faults and fixes.
Laura Davis: Right, we’re going long ways, right?
Danny Lipford: Yeah.
So unless you live in a tent, you’ll want to stay tuned.
Chuck, you going to be able to help us tomorrow?
Chuck Davis: Absolutely not.
Danny Lipford: Flooring makes up a lot of area in our home, so people often want to update it. But despite the fact that there are lots of do-it-yourself friendly options out there, some people are nervous about taking them on. So this week we’ll tackle one of those projects in the home of Laura and Chuck Davis. We’ve worked with Laura before, so she knows what she’s getting into. But let’s see if Chuck does.
Laura Davis: Hey, Danny, come on in, I want you to meet my husband Chuck.
Danny Lipford: Okay, great, great.
Laura Davis: Chuck, Danny.
Danny Lipford: Hey, Chuck, how are you?
Chuck Davis: Hey, Danny, Chuck Davis.
Danny Lipford: Hi, good to see you. Good to see you. Now, you guys already have a lot of ceramic in here. Is this something that you put down a few years ago?
Chuck Davis: Several years back, actually, probably about 10 years ago. We have animals, so this helps out immensely with cats and such.
Danny Lipford: Sure. Well, it seems like so many people are getting away from carpet in a lot of situations, and I just always wondered with this much ceramic, is it cold on the feet or is there any problems along those lines?
Chuck Davis: You know it is, and I miss that. I play on the floor with the animals.
Danny Lipford: Yeah.
Chuck Davis: And with children, and I love having that carpet. But this is a little hard on the knees and it’s a little colder, but it makes up for it in upkeep.
Danny Lipford: Yeah, absolutely. Well, now, what about the flooring that you’re talking about? I know we’re talking about doing some flooring in your laundry room, tell me about that.
Laura Davis: Right. Well, we actually did the flooring in our bedroom and we loved it. It was really rustic looking. But we had some leftover and so we thought, no waste. We’d like to do the one room in the house that we need to do.
Danny Lipford: Perfect.
Laura Davis: So we’d like to show you.
Danny Lipford: Let’s take a look at it and see.
Laura Davis: Yeah, come on. It’s right down here, Danny.
Danny Lipford: All right.
Laura Davis: It’s small, but I think that we have enough flooring to cover it.
Danny Lipford: Yeah. Yeah, that should be perfect. And the laminate would look great in here as well. So what I’ll do is, I can round up a few tools. Won’t need much of anything since you have all the materials and, Chuck, you going to be able to help us tomorrow?
Chuck Davis: Absolutely not. As a matter of fact, I don’t even want to watch it done. If I watch this done, she’s going to expect me to do some flooring around the house.
Danny Lipford: Oh, you got a pretty good theory going there.
Chuck Davis: That’s right, I’m going to stick with it.
Danny Lipford: I think you and I can handle it. What do you think?
Laura Davis: I think we can do it.
Danny Lipford: Okay, sounds great.
Laura Davis: Let’s do it.
Danny Lipford: So early the next day, we get started.
Danny Lipford: Now, tell me what we might find back there.
Laura Davis: It’s frightening, uh-huh.
Danny Lipford: Well, you know another thing, it’s kind of a decision when you have a situation like a floor like this and a water heater, is to whether or not to remove the water heater. It’s kind of a little bit of a big deal and requires, generally it’s better to have a plumber. With short notice, I wasn’t really able to find a plumber, so I ended up with this guy. Anyway, Allen, you think you can handle that? Cutting that? Little bit of soldering here and there.
Allen Lyle: Yeah, got a little soldering, got the expansion tank, the vent and gas line. Yeah, we can get that.
Danny Lipford: And it’s a little bit of an overkill to do that. But when you look at the pan, and you think about the flooring butting up to it, that’s not going to look good. It’s always better to have it underneath it.
This is a gas water heater. So the first step is turning off the fuel supply before turning off the water supply. An ordinary garden hose connects to the valve at the bottom of the unit to drain the water outside.
Finally, Allen can open the valve and the pressure relief valve to let the heater drain.
While the water heater drains.
Oh, that’s not too bad back there.
We can get ready to clear some floor space.
They never seem to position those things in the right place.
Laura Davis: Yeah, there’s a little too much of it.
Danny Lipford: Oh, boy. I bet this dryer has been drying pretty slow. Oh, we got a lot of lint up in the wrong part. That’s okay. We’ll vacuum all of that out. Like I say, you’ll end up, um, having a dryer that’ll work a heck of a lot better than it did.
Laura Davis: Uh-huh. That’ll be nice.
Danny Lipford: We’ll definitely get rid of this thing.
Allen Lyle: All right, let’s see if I can, oh.
Laura Davis: Oh, hi Allen, come on in. There’s plenty of room for you, too.
Allen Lyle: Okay.
Danny Lipford: It’s a little crowded in this tight space, but so far no injuries from stepping over each other.
Allen Lyle: Since I’m dealing with copper here, I’m going to just sweat these joints off. And what that means is I’m going to melt the solder that’s holding it together right now.
Danny Lipford: Once the water heater is empty, Allen can get busy removing it. You think you can get that?
Allen Lyle: Well, Danny, can you help me just swivel this a little bit? And watch your fingers. Oh, yeah. All right, you got it? Can move this back.
Danny Lipford: Because the corners are so tight, it takes a little planning to figure out how to get this thing out.
No problem, I got it.
Allen Lyle: Look at this. Look at the difference between the color. It’s actually the heat from the water heater on that pan that kept the pan just warm enough to discolor
Laura Davis: Discolor. Mmm-hmm. We may have to dust that up.
Allen Lyle: You think? Just a little bit.
Danny Lipford: We might as well go ahead and take this off, Laura. Let me show you here.
Laura Davis: This going to be the hardest part so far?
Danny Lipford: Uh, it’s really pretty easy. Well, you never know with it. There’s nothing to that.
Laura Davis: We made it look easy.
Danny Lipford: That way it’ll just get it out of our way. Spoke too early, didn’t we?
Laura Davis: There you go. The idea was to see how many tools.
Danny Lipford: Yeah. Finally, we’re ready to move some stuff. Oh, let’s see. Here we go. Paint touch-up to do there now.
Laura Davis: Well, that’s okay, there’s a lot of touching up to be done. Can I come in for the next one?
Danny Lipford: Yep. Yeah, just come in here and get the wet one.
Laura Davis: Are you going to turn it or is it going under this stuff?
Danny Lipford: No, it should go under that side. Okay. Now go ahead and turn, watch your hands.
Laura Davis: Maybe if we did a few more, we’d have it down.
Danny Lipford: We’re going to do it twice more at least. Now, the cleaning. Is there any money in there? No money.
Laura Davis: OK, I’m a pro at this. This is how I mop my floors.
Danny Lipford: While we finish up the cleaning, why don’t you check out this week’s Simple Solution with Joe Truini.
Joe Truini: Squeaky floors can be annoying and difficult to repair, especially if you don’t have access below the floor. In this case, we’re on a second floor bedroom that’s carpeted, so we can’t get below to fix the squeak.
So we’re going to do it from above using a trim head screw. Trim head screw is simply a really narrow wood screw that has a very tiny head that you can drive through the carpeting and into the subfloor.
So the first thing you need to do, locate the squeak and then separate the fibers of the carpet, so that they don’t get wound up around the screw shaft. Then push the screw down tightly to the floor, and then simply a matter of driving it in. You know, drive it all the way down through the carpeting and into the subfloor.
Because it has a nice small head, it goes all the way down, and you’ll never see it. Well, there you go. Now, it’s best to drive that screw right into a joist, then it really holds tight. But even when you don’t, you just go through the subfloor, this will solve the squeaks almost every time.
Danny Lipford: This week, we’re taking on a project with Laura Davis to update the flooring in her laundry room.
Allen Lyle: Look at it. Look at this.
Danny Lipford: It’s not a big space, but the project sure seems to be growing.
Well, this is one reason to replace the floor, you know, in addition to it being so old and aged. But that’s so common for the washing machine leg to cause it to rip like that.
You know, with a laminate floating floor like that, you can almost go right over it. You know, cut it out and go over it. It’s under the washing machine. But what we’ll do, I have some floor patch that I brought, because I anticipated something somewhere.
And we’ll just cut it out, and then patch it with this real fast drying floor patch compound. That way we never have to worry about it. But with a pattern type model like this, you can actually patch that by just cutting it out and putting another piece in.
All right. Now, we’ve got it to a point where I think we can go ahead and take the shoe molding off.
Laura Davis: Okay.
Danny Lipford: You’ll be glad I brought these. These are your friends.
Once we geared up, I give Laura a few tips on how to best remove shoe molding.
Be careful of the knife, but just kind of go along, and let that slide across the top of it. There, just cut that paint line.
Then you can gently pry the shoe away from the base without causing any damage.
But then here’s another thing you can do. If you’ll take this and instead of drive, if you drive that back through, it’ll bust out the face of this. But if you’ll grab just one of those staples, then you can pull it out like that. See what I mean? And that way you’re not disturbing the face of that, even though you’re disturbing the back of it a pretty good bit.
Okay, see that? The floor patch I put in, all I am doing is raising it up to the thickness of this. Just so that it doesn’t fall off in there in any way, but won’t take much floor patch at all, and that’s probably about the only area we have to worry about.
Laura Davis: Is that, like, cement?
Danny Lipford: Yeah, pretty much. It’s just real, real powdery. People get in trouble with this all the time, because we only have about eight minutes of working time. And it will set up on you so fast. You see, it’s kind of like pancake batter.
Laura Davis: Yeah. Are you timing yourself?
Danny Lipford: No, I’m just going fast.
Laura Davis: How long is it going to take you to dry that?
Danny Lipford: Oh, just a few minutes, and then we can start laying the floor almost immediately.
Since the patch will be covered, it just needs to be smooth, not pretty.
And usually you’d start a floor in the center. But here, because this whole side’s covered, we can start over there. And then any split, or cut that we may have is hidden on this side anyway.
Laura Davis: Yeah.
Danny Lipford: Here we go. That’s all we need, right here. Let me go clean this out of this bucket. Dump it out in your flower bed. I’ll be right back.
Laura Davis: Thank you.
Danny Lipford: I’ll tell you what. We’re talking about all of these stains around here before we put this floor down. I found some stain blocker.
While we take care of that, Jodi has found a new flooring option in this week’s Best New Product.
Jodi Marks: You know, I love the look of a hardwood floor, but honestly I love the durability of a porcelain tile. And look what Marazzi has done. They have married the two surfaces by creating a porcelain tile that mimics the look of a hand-scraped hardwood floor.
And this is fantastic. This is part of their Montagna collection. And you can see they’ve got a couple of different options here. This is the Gunstock option and then of course this is the natural option.
But I love this because it comes in 6×24-inch planks. And look along the back, you’ve got your porcelain tile here, so it means it’s easy installation.
What I love best about it is the maintenance on this, because you’re not going to get the expansion and the contraction that you would get with a hardwood plank. And, also, there’s no sanding or having to refinish this. All you got to do is just take a damp mop and clean it. So it’s very durable.
So if you’re in the market for something that looks like a hardwood floor, but you want the durability and stability of a porcelain tile, look no further than this because this is great for high traffic areas. You can also put it on floors, walls, and even countertops, they say.
Danny Lipford: So far our flooring project in Chuck and Laura’s house has been all about prepping the laundry room to get it ready.
I’ll let you roll this right out.
Laura Davis: Okay, why are we rolling it blue side up?
Danny Lipford: We’re finally ready to lay down some flooring.
Because it says so right here. And this is also, this is a lot thicker than a lot of the underlayment. So I don’t know where, I don’t know if you did that intentionally when you bought it.
Laura Davis: I didn’t, they suggested it. But, yeah, they said it was real good, so.
Danny Lipford: Yeah. And I tell you what. It’s a lot quieter, because that’s one of the complaints that a lot of people have with a laminate type floor, a floating floor, kind of a clickety-clackety, kind of a hollow sound. And this doesn’t, this kind of eliminates a lot of that. So I’m going to let you cut this. Let me make sure we’re okay down here. Yep, we’re good down here.
When you’re cutting this stuff, it’s always best to go a little bigger rather than smaller. You can always trim a little later.
You’re doing good right now.
Laura Davis: We’re not putting any glue under it?
Danny Lipford: No, no glue necessary. That’s why people love it. Okay, we’re just going to tuck this round a little bit and we’re ready for the first piece.
Hey, you know, when you’re talking about painting those walls?
Laura Davis: Right.
Danny Lipford: You know, when you paint it now, I noticed you have something up here from Chase.
Laura Davis: Yeah, we’re not painting over that.
Danny Lipford: Wow, he got pretty tall. What, what was that?
Laura Davis: That was when he was 16, now he’s 23. So I’m going to get one more measurement, but I don’t want to paint that over.
Danny Lipford: No. I’ll tell you what I think would be a cool idea. Is just to buy a regular picture frame that you like. Take whatever’s there, just the glass, and put it right there. Nail it in place, and then paint everything else.
Laura Davis: I love it.
Danny Lipford: And then you just have that highlighted right in there.
Laura Davis: That’s a great idea, yeah.
Danny Lipford: Yeah, I saw somebody do that one time, I thought it was perfect. I also heard of people selling houses, and ended up with a hole in the wall.
Laura Davis: Well, I’ll take it with me. I won’t take the floor, but I’ll take the chart.
Danny Lipford: Okay, you’re going to be amazed at how easy this is. First of all, just lay that one down.
Laura Davis: All right, we’re going long ways, right?
Danny Lipford: Yeah. And go up against the wall. Of course the key thing here, and the thing that everybody messes up on, is putting it too tight against the wall. Because if you put it— there is a little bit of expansion and contraction—and you know, if we install it too tight, it expands and contracts and that stuff will buckle right up out of the ground.
Once you know the length you need to finish a run, you can make the cut. A miter saw is ideal for this. Just be sure that the tongue or groove on the piece you’re cutting matches up with the piece it connects to on the floor.
By tipping one piece up at an angle, you can lock it into the adjoining piece as you press it down. To maintain our space from the base board, we’ve added little wooden spacers.
Laura Davis: And what’s that for?
Danny Lipford: Just to keep it at a consistent three-eighths of an inch off the wall. Push it in.
In order to keep all the seams from landing side by side, you want to alternate the placement of the board so the seam locations vary. For a small room like this one, we found it was easier to connect the end seams first, and then join both pieces together to the previous row.
Yeah, there we go. All right, now down. I’m just using this as a guide for the thickness of it.
Cutting the door casing at this height with the jamb saw will allow us to slide the flooring underneath it and eliminate any gaps around the casing.
How does that look on that wall down there as far as the overall length?
Laura Davis: It’s right up against it.
Danny Lipford: When we put down the rest of the under laminate, we lay the pieces side by side and join them with tape, so that there’s no shifting later. This last piece of flooring will be a little more narrow, so I’m ripping it down on the table saw.
Just remember, be sure you have the tongue on the correct side of your cut. Finally, we’re ready to install the shoe molding, put the threshold in place, and wrap up this flooring project.
All right. So you thought you were going to get out of a bunch of work, huh? You know, Allen was around here, he’s going to be in here soon. I can see he’s been in here, too.
Chuck Davis: Oh. I see he’s been around. Where is he now?
Danny Lipford: Trying to hide his snacks.
It’s the end of the day, and Chuck is home from work. Now, he may have ducked out on installing the flooring, but we’re not going to let him miss out on this heavy lifting.
Well, I’ll have to say your wife worked.
Chuck Davis: I saw her with knee pads on.
Danny Lipford: Yeah.
Chuck Davis: That’s great.
Danny Lipford: But I mean, heck, what do you think of the floor?
Chuck Davis: I love it. It looks great.
Danny Lipford: You know, it’s a thicker laminate than I think I’ve ever put down. So it’s a lot more durable for areas, you know, potentially wet areas.
Chuck Davis: It can get some water, right.
Danny Lipford: Yeah, yeah.
Chuck Davis: We don’t generally get water in here, but we do have a washing machine.
Danny Lipford: That’ll be ready for you to wash a load of clothes tonight.
Chuck Davis: Perfect.
Danny Lipford: While laminate flooring is a do-it-yourself friendly installation, carpet is not. So if your carpet’s looking a little bad, you might want to consider cleaning it rather than replacing it.
Allen Lyle: Most experts agree that a professionally cleaned carpet is the best way to go. But before you hire just anyone, here are some questions you need to ask.
First of all, what kind of system is it? Truck mounted is going to be one of the best. It’s got the power to pull out all the moisture in the carpet. Are they going to move furniture for you?
Will they pre-treat stains? And when they pre-treat, it’s got to be some chemicals, some good detergent.
But when it’s time to clean, here’s my best recommendation for you. Find someone who’s going to clean with only steam, no detergent. Here’s why. You put detergent on your rug, it becomes a film.
It may look great, it may look very clean, but the minute you get some dirt, start tracking into the house and you can see dirt sticks to detergent like a magnet.
Hey, got some more flooring questions? Let’s ask Danny.
Danny Lipford: Diane wants to know, “Our carpet has indentations in it. Can it be repaired?”
Yes, that’s a real common problem. When people decide to rearrange their furniture a bit, you’re left with those indentations from maybe the legs of a sofa, just like these homeowners experienced. When they positioned this sofa here, that had set here for many, many years. They moved it over so they had a little better viewing of their television.
Here’s how you get rid of those indentations. First of all, take a damp hand cloth, and put it directly over the indentation. Then use a steam iron and heat that towel up. Then after a few seconds, pull it back and use a spoon to fluff up the fibers of the carpet.
A little more steam heat, a little more fluffing, then finish it off with a vacuum to really make everything look nice and consistent. That way no one will ever know that you rearranged your furniture.
Danny Lipford: We finally completed the flooring of Laura and Chuck’s laundry room. While the laundry isn’t the most popular location for new flooring, it may be among the most challenging. And it certainly made a difference in the appearance of a room that sees a lot of use.
Well, Laura, it wasn’t very big of a room, but still quite a bit of work in there.
Laura Davis: It’s going to make washing and drying so much more fun.
Danny Lipford: Well, it was a good bit of work for us, but not so much for Chuck.
Laura Davis: He showed up at just the right time.
Chuck Davis: Just the way I like it, Danny. Call the man.
Danny Lipford: Well, it worked out great. It was so great to meet you guys and to work on your home and hope we can do it again sometime.
Laura Davis: Thank you.
Danny Lipford: Absolutely. Hey, you know when you’re choosing flooring there’s a lot to consider. Of course there’s a lot out there, but the thing you need to keep in mind is probably because of budget and time, you’re not going to be able to do all the projects in your house on your flooring at the same time.
But you want to think about the flow and the overall look of it, so that whatever you choose for that first project works well for all the other flooring projects that you may do.
I’m Danny Lipford. Thanks so much for being with us this week. We’ll see you next week.
Laura Davis: We survived. I survived the Danny Lipford makeover.
Allen Lyle: Man, I just went right straight to it.