Laying down Laminate

We have a rent house in Pearland. I’ve anticipated the need to change out the floors for a while. Our tenants just moved out, so this was the opportune time to do so.  We had pros come in and do the paint (which cost a grip)…

fresh paint tenant

fresh paint me

and lay down some new carpet (which also cost a grip)…

new carpet

new carpet tenant

new carpet me

So I figured I can save some money by doing the laminate myself.  I only wanted to do the living room and some smaller hallways with laminate, so it wasn’t that much space.  360sqft to be exact.

First stop, Floor and Decor for some cheap but decent quality laminate.


I found some decent flooring for .56 cent per sqft!  It’s 8mm thick, so it’s not the horribly cheap stuff (although the price is ridiculously cheap), but it’s also not the best out there either.  It’s so cheap because it’s discontinued.  With that said, I bought a bit extra just in case I need some for future repairs.  They loaded it all up in my truck and I was ready to roll.


I needed underlayment and a moisture barrier as well.  At Floor and Decor they sold a 100sqft roll from $40 (the really cheap stuff… basically paper) to $80 (the high end stuff).  With the cheap stuff, I would need to buy a separate moisture barrier, so that’ll drive up the cost.  I checked at Home Depot and it goes for $50 per roll for the good stuff (in regards to quality, its right down the middle).

CHEAP INDIAN-MAN TRICK:  Here’s what I did.  Go to a smaller flooring store and order from them.  I called Floors for Living and placed an order.  I had to pick it up from their warehouse (which was luckily close to my side of town… and I actually had my brother pick it up for me!), but I only paid $30 per roll!  And it seemed to be comparable (if not better) to the good stuff I found at Home Depot!


After I got everything to the house, I needed to do a bit of prep work.  The carpet guys already took up the carpet, but I had to deal with the old padding….

old carpet pad

…which I rolled up and tossed in the garage…


and I had to deal with the tack strips…

tack strips

I used a pry bar and mallet to pop ’em out.



In the mix of all that, there was a lot of sweeping.  Next I cut out some underlayment and positioned it on my long wall.


Then it was just a matter of laying out the laminate using spacers against the wall and making sure that the joints are staggered.


Laying down laminate involves a lot of cutting and wasted boards.  I’m sure a pro would have better tricks on how to avoid waste, but that’s probably why they cost so much!  I set up shop in the garage.


Then I purchased Quarter-Rounds and Transition pieces.  Every wall-to-wood joint needs a quarter-round and every wood-to-tile or wood-to-carpet joint needs a transition piece.


To install the quarter-rounds, I used my finish nailer.  Made the job very easy!


For the transition pieces, I used a construction adhesive called Liquid Nails.  Once that stuff is dry, the pieces aren’t going anywhere!

I put together a lil video about the process:

Here’s the Break down (not exact numbers but pretty close):

  • Laminate Floors:  $274.00
  • Underlayment:  $130.00
  • Quarter-Rounds & Transition Pieces:  $280.00
  • Misc Supplies:  $50.00
  • Grand Total:  $734.00

I was quoted $5 per square foot which covers the labor and materials for that same space, which equals, $1,800!  So pulling a DIY on this project saved me $1,066!  Pretty sizable if you ask me!  I’m actually returning probably $100 worth of materials, so that further increases the savings.

I was only able to work on the house “after hours”, which means as soon as I got outta work, I would head to the rental house and do the install.  That would only give me between 3 to 5 hours each day I worked.  With that, it took me 8 days to do this small space!  Longer than I wanted, but it saved me a grip of cash!

The new tenant moves in this weekend.  Hopefully they like it!


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