This job was for one of my best friends, Jason Moka, whom I have known since kindergarten. It was certainly work but it was fun to hang out and do the job together. We installed Karndean Natural Wood Effect Designflooring using standard wood planks. The flooring looks and feels great; plus it is low maintenance and hard wearing.
The glorious completed flooring, trim and the floating shelf (background) job. Jason and I did all the work and though he is not looking not so amused at me taking a picture of him, he was happy with the end result.
Here we have the bleak and dismal looking room before the flooring install.
Our first step was to prep the floor. We vacuumed, then hand washed (not too much water) the concrete. Vacuumed again and then let it dry. Proper installation techniques suggest a moisture reading of the concrete prior to install, which should be under 75% RH. This ensures a good bond but more importantly it is indicative of a suitable substrate. More than 75% RH even after a long dry spell may mean that the slab is not insulated from the ground or water ingress is present elsewhere. Placing the flooring over top of the concrete will only trap water as the flooring is not moisture permeable. Keep that in mind!
Quick overview of the tools needed to install. Square (not shown), long straight edge, notched trowels for mixing spreading adhesive, margin trowel for mixing adhesive and cleaning edges, tape measure, razor for cutting planks, pencil, roller for applying planks, heavy roller (not shown) for final and postie adhesive bond of planks to floor, Vacuum cleaner, and rubber gloves. We also used a compressor, brad nailer, pin nailer, impact driver, drill, miter saw, caulking to finish the trim work. The buckets are the recommended Karndean adhesive.
2nd Step and always most important is the prep layout work. I wanted to make the edge cuts uniform on all four sides and I wanted the room to be parallel with the right wall since Jason wanted to run the planks long ways. In this manner, the eye tracks the wall / floor interface of the right wall (its what you nationally notice first) so it is most important. We also knew were were doing the room flooring over two days so the middle made for a nice stopping point. The cross denotes the center of the room.
Starting with the Left side we put down the adhesive first using the notched trowel to spread and then create the raised grooves for a good bond. Because both of us were installing and we had pre-laid out the planks, we put the adhesive all down at once and moved quickly.
Side one complete! Our first plank installed was against the the middle of the room layout line and worked towards the wall staggering the planks. Cutting the planks was done by measuring length, scoring with a straight edge and razor then folding up to “snap” the plank. Each tile was carefully laid in place against its mating edge, then pressed into place via the small roller. Repeat.
Replicate of prep work for the left half of room done to the right.
More adhesive. This stuff is tacky!
With all the of the planks installed, here is a closeup of the wall / floor edges. We cut about 1/4-1/2 away from the wall. the gab will be covered by baseboard and shoe molding.
The final product. Notice the mating edge to the tile in the foreground. This was a clean edge but was covered by an oak threshold which was painted to match the trim. We let the floor dry and setup for about 2 days before continuing any more work.
Closeup of the planks.
Next we installed the baseboard. Jason is setting the cut baseboard here to check for fitment.
We installed all the baseboard trim using 16 gauge brads. We then went back and installed the shoe molding using pin nails and glue. Any gaps between the wall were caulked. Nail holes were puttied or caulked. The next set of three photos are detail views of some areas of the trim work.
Lastly we have a shot looking from inside the room towards the entrance. Scroll up to see the final product again looking from the hallway into the room.
If I were ever to finish my basement floor I would choose either ceramic tile or the Vinyl Planks. The planks require a very smooth and uniform floor or you will have bumps or mismatched seams. Ceramic tile is very robust and it offers some room for covering up imperfections as you can use a thicker mortar base. I was happy with the Job.