I've been wanting to replace the carpet with hardwood but I wanted to put hardwood everywhere, kind of like Property Brothers do when they gut a house. Wall to Wall hardwood floor is my dream. We have so much to do, so little time to tear up the entire house, and just don't have the budget to do it all at once.
I've been shopping for months for the look I want, pricing it, and doing comparisons on whether to just have it installed or do it ourselves. My husband does not like home improvement projects and we don't usually agree on anything when it comes to techniques, the look, or the price.
I finally decided on Pergo Outlast. I had been reading up on it. I have been comparing it to the look, durability, and price of hardwood. It's almost the exact same thickness as hardwood. It is waterproof and scratch proof. It has a built in underlayment on the bottom of it and it's a little less than hardwood. I don't want to mislead you into thinking it's cheap because it's quite a bit more than regular laminate. It is cheaper than hardwood but it's not cheap, cheap.
We also decided to go with additional underlayment even though it's not necessary. We have a ranch style house and our son lives in the basement. The kids spend time in the basement playing video games and watching TV so we figured it would cut down on the noise and we are glad we did.
We have also had a leak from our dishwasher and it seemed to have dried out well not getting down underneath.
So the process... I had unrealistic expectations as usual with any other home improvement project thinking we would get it done in a weekend. It actually took us three weekends and Thanksgiving break.
Once we got all the carpet ripped up, carpet nails and carpet strips pulled up, and the laminate up a day was gone. There are tons of little staples that hold carpet down. We also found a surprise under the carpet. The workers that built our house had walked through mud and there were muddy footprints and chunks of mud under the carpet pad. There was also ceiling texture mud all over the sub floor as well as trash. Yes, that was irritating but explained why the carpet never seemed to be clean, clean. We had to clean all that then we noticed some areas of the sub floor weren't even and we had a leak around the sliding back door. I'm kind of glad we found that. It was from some caulking/siding that had water standing against the back door under a deck board. I'm so glad we found that. It was a small leak so it looked like it had just started happening and sanded right off. We also had a stain from an old dog we had that had had a couple of seizures and wet on the floor. That sanded right up too but the sanding took time.
Once everything was sanded and we had our furniture stacked on one side of the room, we were ready to lay flooring. We rolled the underlayment out and taped it together at the seams. I had just re-painted all the trim thinking we would just be able to fit all the flooring under the trim because it was the same height as the carpet and pad were. Well that developed into a problem. Not all the trim was even on the wall. Some was higher than other pieces. As we got to laying the flooring, it looked bad against the flooring anyway so we ended up removing the trim. Then the sheetrock wasn't hung evening on the bottom of the wall either. Some of the flooring slid right under the sheetrock, some of it didn't. This does make a difference when laying Pergo because it's a floating floor. There's a chance it will move if it shimmies it's way even 1/4" to 1/2" under the sheetrock. It took some time to do this on the walls.
The Pergo was fairly easy to install. You put it in on an angle and tap it into place. You have to be careful not to tap too hard to it will chip the edges of it. You also have to have a sharp blade on your miter saw or it will chip.
We chose Pergo Outlast Hand Scarped Java Oak. It has a texture to it and it wide planked. I wanted something that was dark but had a variance of color to it that would go with our pallet wall going down the basement steps. I also have gray walls and it goes well with those. I love to shop at Home Depot. I know my way around there and the workers are helpful in answering questions. They didn't have the amount in stock we needed. We paid for it, they ordered more, and had it in within a week. They were super helpful in going over the pros of the Pergo Outlast since it's a fairly new product. One thing to remember is that you need to let it set and acclimate to it's environment for 24-48 hours meaning it needs to rest in the temperature it's going to laid in. This is something the builder failed to do with our carpet we had in this house and it had to be stretched three times since they laid it in the winter when building our house without the heat on. It does make a difference!
You get a piece of small trim and paint the wall in between your trim/quarter round and that small piece of trim. It makes it look thicker and really stands out. I couldn't believe the difference it makes compared to the floor but I love the results. You just use a 2x4 or even a 1x4 of the difference when nailing your small trim up. It made putting the trim up a snap. I even did this myself one afternoon finally getting the angles down on the miter saw. This did push back moving all the furniture against the walls but it was so worth it.
As you can see, it pops against the flooring! You can also see there is still carpet in the bedrooms and on the basement steps. These are future project waiting to be done. We will have carpet on our steps but I plan to replace the carpet here. Someone will break a leg on our steps if we don't carpet them.
For those of you scared to do your own floors know that we don't have any prior experience. We just wanted to change our house and didn't want to pay the labor so we figured it out a little at a time. It takes us three times as long as if an experienced crew would do it but there is always that sense of satisfaction of doing it ourselves and that feeling when we actually do this! So many people have come in and complimented us on the floors and the kitchen we redid ourselves. It makes it worth the hard work we put into it! I hope you try to install Pergo yourself someday. You can do it!