I love the look of hardwood floors, but hate the costs associated with installing them. A few months ago we decided to start making some small changes to our existing house to spruce it up a little and make it more functional for this season of our lives. One of the changes on our list included flooring. We have white carpet (I honestly have no idea who created white carpet and then had the idea to put it in homes…where people live). Needless to say, our carpets (after 16 years of existence) are not exactly white anymore. We eventually want to change out our living room carpet for wood floors also.
When we decided to make the previous playroom back into an office, we decided we would install vinyl wood flooring as a trial run for the living room. I first saw this flooring in my friend, Brittany’s house. I couldn’t believe she installed it herself and saved hundreds, probably thousands, of dollars on flooring by choosing vinyl wood floors. I was on my hands and knees trying to examine how it wasn’t real hardwood. This stuff is pretty believable.
There are different kinds of vinyl wood and we went with the kind that has a sticky peeling on the bottom. There is also “floating” vinyl wood that clicks together and is a little thicker…I would use this in large/main rooms of the house because it’s a little nicer.
I am very happy with our flooring and extremely glad we did this. The total project cost us just around $200 and that’s including the floor treatment, the vinyl wood, and the baseboards that finish it off. This room is a about 100 square feet.
First of all, these are the tools you will need to install the vinyl wood flooring. I’ve included links to the tools below (affiliate links included)
I borrowed many of the tools from my friend who had installed the same vinyl flooring. I also borrowed some from my handy dandy neighbor, so I didn’t have to buy any.
We used the Style Selections Woodland Oak from Lowes for our floor. It comes in individual planks sized 6 x 36 inches. Our room was about 100 sq. ft. so we bought less than $150 worth of wood. You’ll buy more since you’ll be cutting some and not using the entire piece, plus extras if needed later.
I used this tutorial to learn how to install the planks (except we didn’t have wood under our carpets…we had cement). I’ll give you a simple outline of how the install went, but that link is a great visual of how to install.
After we chose our vinyl wood, it was time to remove the carpet. You guys if you have never removed carpet, oh my! I feel like my house is ten times cleaner just from removing the carpet. The carpet was tacked down by these long wood pieces and nails.
This is where the crow bar and rubber mallet came in very handy. If you have this same set up, listen carefully because this was the trickiest part of taking the carpet out. To remove the wood, I placed my crow bar under the wood the best I could and then hit the other end with the rubber mallet to get it far underneath and then pried it up. Some of the nails did not come out with the wood and stayed in the cement. I found them impossible to remove (there is no head of the nail to pull out) until I found a YouTube video that showed me how. Simply place the V-shaped opening (where my arrow is pointing in the picture below) against the nail and hit the other end really hard with the mallet. It should pop right out of the ground. There might be small holes where the nails were, but you will fill that in later.
After the carpet is removed, you’ll use the floor scraper to scrape the cement as smooth as possible. You will sweep and vacuum several times before actually installing wood.
This would be a good time to lay out some vinyl wood samples to see how they look in the room (obviously don’t peel and stick them down…this is just to get an idea).
Next, I patched up the holes where the nails were removed (make sure to use the hand held attachment on a vacuum to suck out any excess dirt/dust from the holes prior to filling them). I used a concrete filler similar to this and a putty knife.
Once the cement filling dried (it tells you how long on the tub), I used a paint roller brush to apply some primer to the floor. Make sure you have swept, vacuumed, and vacuumed more to make sure the floor is nice and smooth. Any little dust or bump make it harder to lay the vinyl flat. I cannot remember the name of the primer I used, but I just asked the employee at Lowes and they showed me what to get. It made the floor a little bit stickier which helped the vinyl adhere better. After the primer dried (next day), I went over it one more time with a broom.
Next, came the fun part. Laying the vinyl. It’s really as simple as peeling it and sticking it down. The first row is the hardest because you want it to be as straight as possible. Once you get to the end of each row, you just draw a line on the vinyl (peel is still on)…I used the triangle straight edge tool to draw a straight line. Then use the utility knife to cut it, then just snap it off. You always want your “cut” end to be the end that goes under the baseboards slightly, so you don’t see any imperfections.
The first row set the pattern. You want your panels to stagger so I used the remaining panel after the first cut to start the second row. I used the remaining panel after the second cut to start the third row and then started over with a brand new panel. So every 3 rows is the same pattern. I don’t know if you can see the pattern in this picture below, but here is a slight close up.
After the wood is laid, it’s time for the finishing touches, which is the baseboards. You have to add a quarter round (small trim) to the bottom of the baseboards. You can find these in the wood section of Lowes where the trim is. I used wood glue to attach the quarter round to the baseboards. I think nailing it would be better, but I didn’t know how, so I went with this option. I used an angle cutter to cut the corners. After the blue had dried, I painted our baseboards. They were an off white and the quarter round was white. They needed a paint job really bad anyway.
I did every single part of this project. Ryan wasn’t available much to help so I did majority of this at night after the boys went to bed. I have to say I’m quite impressed with how it looks. Everyone that has come over is shocked that it’s not real hardwood floors.
This is now my new office and I’m almost done decorating it so I can show you the final look soon. I just love this room so much!
Hope you enjoyed the story of how it went from carpet to wood…and on a dime! You can also check out vinyl plank flooring online, but I like to see it in person and take home samples to view. Have you ever installed this before? If you’re on a budget, this stuff is great. I am not a DIY’er or handy by any means, so if I can do this, you can too. Pinterest and YouTube were my best friends during this process.