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How to install hardwood floors, tile or linoleum.

Sep 16, 2008
There are many choices for remodeling, you can use wood, tile, or linoleum. These all come in many different styles, colors and designs. Each type requires a different skill set to install but the preparation is the same for any type of upgrade. The type and style you decide to use all depends on your taste and desires for your home.

Wood planks can come in thickness of 1/4?, 5/16?, 3/8?, 1/2?, 5/8" and 3/4" or (6 mm, 8 mm, 10 mm, 13 mm, 16 mm and 19 mm). They can be solid hardwood, or engineered wood. They can be tongue and grove or interlocking planks. They can be pre-finished wood floors or unfinished which means they must be sanded and finished after they are installed. The engineered wood will normally have a wear layer of 2 mm to 4 mm thick. They can be attached to the sub floor by nails, glue or floating, 1/4" thick planks cannot be floated.

You need to determine which method is recommended or required for the type of flooring you want to use. Is your sub-floor cement or wood? Cement sub-floors are typically on the ground level and need to be checked for moisture content, if they exceed the recommended moisture content then a moisture barrier needs to be installed over the cement. Check with the manufacturer for their recommendations.

You can make this installation a do it yourself project, learn about all the available recommendations from knowledgeable people before starting. Make a plan for the type of material and how are you going to attach the flooring.

If the manufacturer requires that you glue the floor down, check out the process, you may have to use their glue, and they may have put a tracer element in it to verify if you have used their glue. Does the manufacturer require that a professional install the flooring?

Tile floors can be purchased in ceramic or vinyl. High traffic area such as hall ways or entrance or high moisture area such as a bathroom should be considered for tile flooring.

Ceramic tile can either have a thin glazed layer that is very pretty but can be scratched easily in high traffic. Unglazed tile will have the same color clear through the tile and resists scratches very well. Ceramic tile can be placed over a cement or wood sub flooring. The sub floor must be structurally stable and clean. A cement board recommended for wood sub floors can be fixed to the sub floor per manufacturers recommendation.

Vinyl tiles can be the least expensive tile and easiest to install. They may be installed over an existing resilient flooring, over plywood on wood floors or on dry concrete. Clean, dry and level the sub floor, remove all oil, wax or grease. Study all the pros and cons for the flooring you select and the job it must do.

Linoleum can be fabricated from natural materials such as linseed oil, wood or cork powder, resins and ground limestone which are environmentally prudent. Linoleum can come in many rich colors and patterns. It comes in a sheet that is usually 2 meters wide (6' 7") and 2.5 mm thick is suitable for household use.

Linoleum can be placed over most sub floors but if placed over concrete, the moisture content must be below the limits set by the manufacturer. A pH level of 10 for the concrete can break down the adhesive and it may not bond if there is a sealer on the concrete. If two sheets of linoleum are butted against each other, they need to be sealed either with special seam sealer or a color coordinated linoleum rod that is heated with a special welding tool.

Linoleum may expand in width and shrink in length over time so this needs to be compensated for when it is installed.
About the Author
Before you begin to redo your old floors make sure you check with Bruce Contryman's advice on How to install hardwood floors. How to install hardwood floors, and home improvements
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