WAILUKU, Hawaii // Creators - This is what I strive to be. Someone, who at the end of the day, can physically touch a finished product and see what their hard work has accomplished. After years of only excel files and powerpoint decks to show for my hard work, the idea of creating with my hands sounds appealing.
This weekend we had the pleasure of learning about flooring. We helped my cousin, a 5th generation carpet installer, lay laminate and carpet in a condo in Wailuku. He also happens to own the business with my Uncle, which is appealing in itself as I have always admired entrepreneurs and small business owners. Most people we meet say they want to be their own boss one day, but very few people I meet actually live it.
Tips we learned about laminate //
- Even though it looks like a wood floor it may be laminate. Only the top layer is water proof and the other layers look like stacked cardboard.
- Technically the kit we put together is a "do it yourself" kit, but after watching my cousin, I know I would have made many mistakes. It would have probably taken me 1,000 times longer to complete on my own.
- A jigsaw cutter is required, as is a large paper cutter machine to cut straight lines in the laminate.
- First remove the baseboards // Don’t ruin them, they go back up when you are finished.
- Sweep and vacuum the floor before you lay down flooring.
- Put a protective tarp material down to protect the cement floor before the laminate goes down.
- Don’t make the first row along the wall first. You actually make rows 2-4 first and then you line up the edge of a new board ontop of row 2 and trace along the wall and then cut that line with the jigsaw cutter. Why don’t you start with the first row? The wall isn’t straight.
- Cut the first 3 rows at staggered lengths. Then use the tail end of the last row to begin the next row. My cousin likes to alternate between a short piece and then a long piece to start each row. If you cut the first boards of all your start pieces it is wasteful and it makes all your board seems line up perfectly which actually makes it feel more unnatural.
- You must leave 3/8 of an inch gap along the edge by the wall so that when the temperature changes it can expand and contract. If you dont leave this gap your floor will buckle. The gap is hidden by the baseboard when you put it back up.
- Laminate only comes in about 6 different wood designs so make sure you don’t put similar boards touching each other. Look for specific markings like notch holes to determine if they are the same.
- To install angle in the board, wiggle it side to side and then slowly wiggle down until they snap in place. You may need a good pound with the hand to get it in place.
Tips we learned about carpet //
Carpet was much easier. You start with the tack board in the doorway that has teeth pointing away from the room. Then you tack two sides and stretch the rest into the last corner. You stretch the carpet so it doesn’t get bunchy when you walk on it. Carpet is easier when it is dropped (one piece of carpet fits the entire space). When you have to seem pieces together it takes longer because you have to heat the two carpets together.
Overall // I liked it and felt very accomplished when I looked at the finished project. I learned a lot and appreciate floors more than ever. I take extra time to inspect the floor now when I walk into homes, restaurants, and hotels. I also have a new respect for carpet layers as it is tough on the knees and back. The grass is always greener on the other side.
Tips to Flooring //
- Kitchen & Bathrooms // places that typically get wet // tile is good
- Bedrooms // carpet works well
- Living room and high traffic areas // laminate or wood is best