I don’t know how this ended up being unpublished until now, but here’s the update. I have another one coming up in a few minutes about the completion (or nearly so) of my office.
Okay, so I did not end up undercutting. Instead, my father-in-law, Scott, helped me lay the floor last Saturday. That took an afternoon and I am very pleased with the results.
We started by taking a trip to the hardware store to get a few remaining supplies (mostly some duct tape to hold the underlayment together and we get a bigger pull bar). Then we laid out a roll of underlayment, which is basically a combination of padding and moisture barrier that goes under the laminate.
The flooring is your basic tongue-and-groove system, so each board has a tongue on two edges and a groove on two edges. The tongue of each board fits into the groove of the board next to it. We started by using a razor to cut off the tongue on the first row. We then laid the first row up against the wall, with a small amount of space (helped with some spacers from the installation kit I bought). This is a floating installation, so you want it to be slightly mobile so you can get it laid in the right position. The edges will be hidden by trim when I’m done… but I’m getting ahead.
We laid out the first row of boards on top of the underlayment, the last board of which needed to be cut to fit with the wall. We then repeated this process for the remainder of the rows, but staggering the layout a bit so we didn’t end up with a pattern that obviously repeats itself.
You lay each board by first fitting the tongue of the long edge of the new board into the groove of the floor already laid. Using a block you tap each board into the groove with the hammer, hammering all along the edge and slowly levering the new board downward. After doing this a few times the board will lay flat on the floor. Except for pieces that star a new row, you then have to tap the new block into its neighbor’s short edge using the same process (though, with no levering this time). When you get close to the wall, you use a pull bar instead of the block. The pull bar is basically a long, flat “S” shaped bar that can be laid down on the floor so that you have enough room to hammer and pull on the board you need to move into place.
When we reached the closet door, we had to carefully cut with a jigsaw to fit it around the door. We then continued to the middle of the room, laid down another roll of underlayment to cover the remainder of the floor and used duct tape to prevent the underlayment from shifting. We then laid the remainder of the floor. This time we had to make sure we got the edges around the main doorway right.
Finally, we had to cut the boards lengthwise for the last 2” row of pieces. I don’t have a table saw, so we had to improvise. To do this, we stacked the three boards we needed together and clamped them with a long straight edge (my 4’ level) so that my circular saw could sit against that edge and cut exactly the 2 inches we needed. It worked pretty well. I then took those little pieces and tapped them into place. The floor is (mostly) done.
With the floor done, this week, I measured and bought the trim pieces I need to put casing around the doors in the office. I bought pre-mitered casement kits to save on the number of cuts I need to make. I had to buy an extra set for the closet since it seems to have been partially glued on and I had to destroy it to get it loose while working on the walls. I also bought some white quarter round to replace the stuff around the ceiling I pulled down and base to go around the new floor and hide the edges.
This evening, I cut the casement up using the miter box my father-in-law loaned me and tomorrow I will stain it. I actually considered the laminated plastic stuff, but because I need a couple of specialized pieces around the door and because it wouldn’t really match anything else in the house, I decided to go the slightly more complex route.
Now, I need to spend the next couple days staining the casement. I will probably also finish hanging my door tomorrow since the jam is still not properly shimmed. Then, in a couple days I should be able to put up the casement with my finishing nailer. Then, I will miter the baseboard and repeat the staining process and put that on the wall. The room should almost be finished enough to move in, with one major problem.
After I finished laying the floor, I realized I had overlooked a problem. I have no ventilation in this new room. That’s not going to work. I need to call the AC guys back to finish charging the AC we installed in the Fall anyway, so I’ll have them take a look and probably put in a heating vent and a return air duct to the room.
Lastly, I also need to call a carpet guy to stretch the carpet in the hall in put it back down. We have the name of a guy from some friends, but I’d still take recommendations if anyone knows a guy in town.