The Last Floor Post (Probably)

The floor in the sun room has been installed.  Behold!

Final Floor

File this job under easy but not super fast.  It took Mark a good 8 hours over 2 days to complete the installation. I helped with the underlayment and our neighbor helped with the laminate.  The process is pretty straightforward.   Here are the basics.

Since we had already installed baseboards, we had to pull those up before we started.  We installed the baseboards back in September when we thought we were going to paint the subfloor so it kinda sucked to have to do this step twice, but it’s part of the journey.

We selected this underlayment by FloorMuffler.  It is 2mm thick and helps to both insulate and reduce noise.  It comes in a roll that you stretch out over your floor and cut to the proper length.

Underlayement 1

See the white edge?  That is actually thin plastic that you peel back from the underlayment.

underlayment 0

This is so the sheets can be attached right next to each other like so.

Underlayment 3

As you can see, you attach the next sheet to the white plastic of the previous one by removing the covering over the strip of adhesive.  It is a pretty easy process, but it does help to have two sets of hands to help keep things smooth.

After the underlayment was in place, it was time to start laying the floor.  The thing to consider before starting to set the boards is pattern, or for us, a lack thereof.  We felt that the floor would look best if it did not have a repeating pattern, but rather if the boards were random lengths.  To accomplish this, Mark first laid a full length board along the wall that connects the sun room to the kitchen right up against the barn board.  From there he cut five boards at random lengths and attached them one to the other moving away from the house towards the back yard.  Then he went back to the kitchen wall and started adding full-size boards out into the room off of each of the five cut boards.  This created a random pattern across the room.

Pattern

Once he added 1-2 boards to each of the first five rows, he went back to the barn board wall and added one full-size board and then five randomly cut boards to keep the non-pattern pattern going.  Rinse and repeat until the whole room is done.

To lock and set the boards into place, Mark used a cut piece of laminate and a rubber mallet to knock the boards tightly together.

underlayment 4

Around the steps, Mark cut the laminate to fit using his circular saw and multi-tool.

Around the door

Once the laminate was all in place, Mark put back the baseboards and even plugged the grooves of the wall under the windows with small bits of insulation to help keep the cold air out.

Insulation

Now all that was left to do was move the furniture back in and enjoy!

Sun Room Current

Obviously we still need things like rugs and a few more pieces of furniture in the sitting area (not to mention doing something about those mismatched chairs!) but we had dinner out there with friends on Sunday night and it was awesome!

We are so relieved to be done with the floor and super happy with our choice.  We think it looks terrific and should be both durable and low-maintenance.  The next step will be painting the steps from the house, installing curtains and rods, and getting the chairs reupholstered.  While we do these smaller projects we are also starting to think about the bar area.

We are in the home stretch of this monster project and are itching to reach the finish line.  I hope you’ll stay with us and cheer us on!

Final Flooring Decisions

You guys, the floors.  Seriously, they about killed me.  You would think that choosing something to walk on in a room that only take up 20% of your house would not be this challenging.  And for most people, it probably isn’t.  But I am not most people.

In case you have missed any of the flooring drama, you can catch yourself up here and here.

The good news is that we have finally made our decision.  And I think we love it.  It’s not installed yet, so I can’t say for sure, but we are pretty happy with the sample we laid out when the materials arrived.

Now let me back up and talk you through how we got there.  At one point or another we have explored all of the options below:

  • Tile.
  • Bamboo.
  • Creating a white washed pine “look” using this technique.
  • Painting subfloor like this.
  • Going with a reclaimed pine from a place like this.
  • Laminate

We finally settled on laminate.  The pros are it’s easily to install, durable, and easy to maintain.  The cons are a little harder to express, basically I was just worried that I wouldn’t like any of the options out there.  From the beginning of this project I have envisioned some sort of wide-plank, light/white colored wood for out there and I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to find the look I was going for in a laminate.

But since the material made alot of sense for the space, I started researching.  Let me start by telling you that there are three kinds of laminate out there.  Well, there’s really a million kinds but what we found is that each option we came across fell into one of three categories or grades of laminate.  First there’s the really cheap stuff that is basically just a step up from the best vinyl products out there in terms of looks and durability.  It’s not a bad product and certainly would be an attractive option in certain spaces.  But we want the floors in the sun room to be on par looks-wise with the rest of the house, so we wanted something a bit nicer.

The middle grade of laminate is full of selection, and you can find a lot of good options and samples at your local Lowes or Home Depot.  Brands like Pergo, Bruce, etc. make some really great laminate options that look terrific and have great durability ratings.  We liked several of the options that we saw in this category, but nothing that really had the look I was going for.  I wanted wide planks and most of these options are under 5″ wide.

So I Googled “wide plank laminate” came across what I am calling the third category of laminate; “high-end laminate.”  This stuff costs almost as much per sq. ft. as real wood, but also looks much more like real wood that the other categories.  Products in this category also tend to be thicker with longer durability ratings, and many options are 5” and wider.  I found myself exploring the options on Armstrong’s website.  Online we really liked this option as well as this one.  So we found our local, authorized Armstrong dealer, Flooring America, and stopped in for a sample.

The showroom was great and we got to look at a lot of options.  In addition to all different types of flooring the store also had kitchen and bath showrooms, so we were able to see how our options looked against different color cabinets, which was a nice bonus.  In the end, we decided to take samples of the two products we liked online.  The nice thing about these samples is that they are much bigger than the samples that are available at Home Depot and Lowes. Below are the two samples we originally liked in store.

IMG_0865

The sample on the left is Armstrong Antique Structure/Historic Element Milk Paint and on the right is Armstrong White Wash Boardwalk.

When we got the Armstrong samples home and laid them out, we liked them both. But we felt that the one on the right was too similar to the barn board.  It’s a little hard to tell in this picture, but the wood is a little darker and we weren’t happy, so back to the store we went.

This time we brought back the whiter sample that we took before, another option we tried from Home Depot, as well as a new option called Black Forest Oak that is made by Mannington.

Floor Samples

We thought the middle one (Black Forest Oak) looked the best with the barn board.  We also liked that it had a lot of depth and texture with a good mix of white, grey, and tan tones. And we also think that it will hide dirt and dog hair well which is really important in this room.

We had to buy about 340 sq. ft. to cover the room and account for a bit overage.  The total cost was just about $1,400.

Mark has been out of town so this coming weekend will be our first chance to get it down, but we have had it for a week or so and we are loving it so far.

Floor

Do you guys like it?  I know it is hard to tell from such a small sample but hopefully Monday will be the big reveal.