Friday, January 26, 2007

Basement flooring

After last week's plumbing debacle, I decided that the only thing that would make me feel better is to spend a little cash trying to get the basement prettier.  Sara and I went to Ikea and bought about 700lbs of laminate flooring (light maple colored).

This was two boxes over the limit of what would fit in the Jetta's trunk (and way over the limit of what the Jetta's springs are rated for), but we managed to get it all home without an issue.  Carrying the 25 boxes down into the basement was enough of a workout so I left them there to acclimate to the temperature and humidity of the basement for a couple of days.

Over the past three days I've been installing three or four boxes each night, which works out to about 50 square feet per hour; a solid average number for a first time installer.  I'm slightly disappointed, however, as I strive to be above average.

After a few nights, I'm through more than half of the boxes, and I appear to have covered substantially more than half of the floor.  I'm pretty sure I did the math right when figuring the area of the floor, so it's probably just an illusion (or further proof of the lack of my spacial skills).  At any rate, Ikea will take back the unopened boxes, so it's not a big deal (I just hope I haven't lost the receipt already -- I'm so bad with those).

It's pretty easy to lay, with click locks on the long edges and tongue and groove on the short edges; which is far better than some that are click lock on all four sides.  Those require you to assemble the flooring into long strips and then attempt to latch a 35' section as one unit; it's hard enough to latch a 54" section.

So far I've only screwed up two cuts, and I can probably fix them with some laminate filler.  They're on two boards that start a staggered row.  I cut from the beginning of the board, instead of the end of the board, so the cut is in the field instead of up against the wall.  I might also be able to just slide that piece out and cut a new piece the correct length and slide it back in.  That will require me to slide the entire floor to the right a few feet, which is possible since it doesn't go wall to wall (it will butt up against carpet that's yet to be laid), but I'll have to do it soon since the floor is already past the point of being able to easily move.

All in all, it's looking quite nice, it's easy to install, and I'm pretty happy with it.  Some of the edges don't fit perfectly, and it's a little too easy to hit the boards together too hard and get them to buckle a bit (which I'm hoping will go away when I put furniture down), but for $1.29 a square foot an a little bit of sweat, these sorts of things can be forgiven.

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