Whether you are an avid DIYer or on a budget, installing your flooring on your own is not as hard as it seems — given you have the right product in hand. Manufacturers are coming up with new floors that are not only classy and durable but also so easy to install that you can do it yourself.
If you are looking for the easiest flooring to install, you are in luck. There are a bunch of flooring options you can easily install yourself in your home with minimal tools and expertise.
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Things You Need to Know Before Installing Floor Yourself
That is the question you need to answer before moving on to the materials. To decide whether you are up for the job or not, here are the basic steps for installing floors –
- Measuring the space
- Calculating the amount of flooring your need
- Removing the existing floor
- Cutting down planks and tiles in the correct size
- Laying and spacing the flooring according to the floor plan
- Gluing or nailing the floor (if necessary)
- Installing baseboard
Additionally, if you choose natural materials such as hardwood or cork, they need to acclimate to the room in which it will be installed for at least 48 hours before installation. If you rush through this step, you will experience gaps or cupping in your installation. Also, loose lay or peel-and-stick floorings are preferred as the easiest flooring to install as they save time. You can also fix installation errors easily with floating floors.
Tools You Need to Install Floors
Before starting the project, gather all the necessary tools for interruption-free installation. Although the necessary tools you need vary with the type of installation and material you choose, here is a list of essential tools you need to install floors –
The Easiest Flooring to Install: Our Top 6 Picks
Luxury Vinyl Floors
Luxury vinyl tiles and planks are incredibly durable and low-maintenance flooring that works pretty much anywhere in the house. This gorgeous alternative to hardwood is typically made of four main layers of PVC vinyl. The manufacturing process of LVT has been perfected over the years, and various compounds are mixed with the PVC to improve its durability. It is scratch-proof and primarily water-resistant.
Besides its utility, luxury vinyl is one of the easiest floorings to install. They can be installed over most existing floorings, including ceramic tiles. Luxury vinyl comes in different forms of installation, such as glue-down, loose lay, self-adhesive and interlocking tiles and planks. Apart from glue-down, all other types of luxury vinyl are ideal for DIY installation. The self-adhesive and interlocking tiles and planks are perfect if you want a robust installation that is also quick. Loose lay planks were explicitly designed for ease of installation. It doesn’t require adhesives or doesn’t involve any locking systems either. Instead, it adheres to the floor by friction.
Engineered hardwood is an excellent, low-cost alternative to hardwood floors. The engineered wood construction features a top layer of hardwood bonded over a plywood layer, giving the floor excellent stability. As for longevity, good quality engineered wood floors will easily last a couple of decades or more. It is also easy to install and a friend to DIYers. Unlike solid wood, engineered wood is not susceptible to moisture-induced damage and can withstand fluctuations in humidity.
Engineered hardwood is sometimes installed with a nail-down method like solid hardwood. But if you are looking for easy installation, you also got the option of “click-lock” edges or tongue and groove installation that you can either keep as a floating floor or glue down. All you have to do is put the planks in place and only cut the planks on the edge to fit your room, and you are done!
Laminate is not only one of the easiest flooring to install, but it is also highly durable. It is also very budget-friendly — starting at $1 to $3 per square foot. However, exclusive designer laminate can go upwards of $10 or $12 per square foot. The easy installation, on top of its affordability, makes it one of the best choices if you are on a budget. Laminate can stand high-foot traffic — ideal for any part of the house. However, keep in mind that laminate is unfortunately not waterproof. So, keep it away from areas that are regularly puddled with water.
The tongue and groove installation is most common with laminate installation. So, you only need to lay the planks by row and click and lock the planks in place. Flooring manufacturers recommend putting down underlay on the subfloor for laminate. It is a thin, dense layer of foam that provides sound and thermal insulation while making your installation more rigid. Also, ensure your subfloor is in good health to extend your laminate’s longevity further.
Carpet tiles are another popular easy-to-install flooring option. These were popular with DIYers before laminate and vinyl were so vastly available. Carpet tiles are very affordable and easy to maintain. And the best thing about them is you can replace one piece only in case of damage instead of ripping up the entire floor. Carpet tiles are also very durable and come in various styles. It typically has several layers, including pile fibers, a backing layer, and a reinforcement layer.
Installing carpet tile is pretty straightforward. Simply plan the placement of the tiles and fasten them to the subfloor either by peel and stick method or using additional adhesive. Keep in mind that all carpet tiles have a pile direction indicated by an arrow on the back of the tiles. Point all of the tiles in the same direction for a seamless finish. Go over each tile with a carpet roller from multiple directions to secure them in place.
Cork is a biodegradable, sustainably harvested, and wood-derived flooring material that has recently gained popularity as an environmentally friendly and cheaper alternative to hardwood flooring. It comes from the bark of the cork oak tree, which is grouped up and turned into sheets, and later bonded with resin to create the end product as we see it in the household. However, cork is not as durable as hardwood and is susceptible to damage. It has a soft and cushioned surface and offers good insulation. Another big pro of cork is that it is hypoallergenic and antimicrobial.
The installation process is identical to laminate or engineered hardwood. Simply put the planks in place and attach them using the click-and-lock method. However, keep in mind that cork is a natural flooring material. So, you need to let it acclimate to the room in which it will be installed for at least 48 hours before installation. Otherwise, you will end up with buckling or gaps in your installation.
Sheet vinyl is another popular form of vinyl that has been around for ages. It is durable, waterproof, and slip-resistant. Even though vinyl itself has good water-resistant qualities, as sheet vinyl does not have any seams, this variation of vinyl can handle standing water even better. It comes in a flexible roll form made from different layers of synthetic materials and backed by either foam or felt. Sheet vinyl comes in a variety of thicknesses and patterns. It is also extremely low maintenance and easy to install.
Depending on your subfloor type, you may need to install underlayment before installing sheet vinyl. However, the underlayment is not mandatory as long as the subfloor is smooth and has no bumps. Vinyl sheets are typically sold in 6-foot and 12-foot widths. Choose the width that fits the area that you are working on. Allow the vinyl to acclimate to the room by leaving it in the room where it will be installed for at least 24 hours before cutting. Depending on your needs, you can either loose-lay or glue down the edges.
What is the easiest flooring to install in your opinion? Comment below and let us know!