What’s under your feet (or how you get around) is as important as anything when it comes to the house. That’s why this fall, we collaborated with The Home Depot on an A-to-Z guide that will give you the confidence to make the flooring choices you’ll love. Read the manual from A to Z here.
Let’s face it: the process of installing all type of flooring is always a complicated, time consuming and deeply personal process. And while methods and materials vary wildly, whether you’re installing new wall-to-wall carpet in your bedroom or giving your porch a porcelain tile facelift, there are some basic tips for all type of flooring installation that will benefit both the health of the project and your your own personal health, especially if you go for DIY. Home Depot has products, tools, and even professional installers to help you along the way.
Physical health: always use protection
It might seem like there are dozens of tools out there, depending on what type of flooring you are laying: miter saws, pneumatic nail guns, trowels, drill bits, and more. (Check out our T section for more on tools!) But the most essential instruments in your flooring arsenal are aimed at protecting your health, not just getting the job done.
First and foremost, invest in good quality knee pads. Sure, you might look like an avid rollerblade enthusiast in the 90s, but putting pressure on your knees for long periods of time can lead to short term pain and long term damage. (There is actually a specific type of knee condition –prepatellar bursitis, also known as the “floor layer knee” – this is the bane of professional contractors.) You can purchase knee pads specifically designed for flooring projects, with special features such as thigh supports , gel inserts and varied cap styles, curved-soft and flat) that match the amount of movement you will make in the pads.
Glasses are also a must have for anyone who values their optical health (which hopefully everyone is). There are many options on the market, but choosing a pair that meets the American National Standards Institute’s guidelines for chemical splash and dust goggles will give you peace of mind.
Oh, and it probably goes without saying, but build zones should always be without toggle. Wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes, like a work boot, when working on any flooring project.
Environmental health: dust, VOCs and ecological products
Flooring is a messy business and can release many by-products into the air during an installation process. Therefore, you should prepare the safest environment possible before you start your job.
Start by sealing off the room you will be working in, using plastic and heavy-duty tape around doors, air ducts and windows to prevent debris and chemical odors from spreading to the rest of the house. (If there are multiple entrances, designate a door as “entry and exit” and keep all other access points sealed.)
Always wear a face shield when doing any type of flooring work, cutting wood or applying sealants, to protect your lungs from dust and chemicals. While many flooring products today pride themselves on having little or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – in fact, there are many beautiful low VOC laminates on the market while there are at ten, the options were slim – it’s always better to err on the side of caution and wear a mask.
In hardwood installation projects, dust is a force to be reckoned with and should be treated as such. Consider renting a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuum and using it several times throughout the project to vacuum up any lingering particles.
And remember, the fans are most Your friend. They can help keep temperatures well-regulated while working on vinyl or tile projects in hot weather, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends ventilating any freshly carpeted area for 72 hours afterward. the end of the project. (However, installing fans willy-nilly in a hardwood installation will only leave you with small dust tornadoes.)
Mental health: Extra, extra – give yourself more time
It can be quite daunting to read online that a flooring project should only take “about an afternoon” or “a day, in total!” and realize that on the morning of the third day, you are not even close to being done. Give yourself a little breathing room, and whatever “time it takes to finish”, double it. If you finish it early? Awesome! If you don’t? Needless to say, you’re not working hard enough or progressing fast enough. Your sanity will thank you.
Health of your home: follow the instructions, please!
There are those among us (this writer included) who are not inclined to read instructions and tend to move on without knowing. exactly What’s going on. With the flooring projects, it’s the recipe for disaster. If a product includes manufacturer’s instructions or rules for products to use with certain types of flooring, always follow them exactly. Otherwise, your home could be permanently damaged, you could lose your warranty on the product and end up with a mess that’s very expensive to clean up.
Adhesive is a good example. Floor adhesive is a type of permanent glue that bonds your flooring to the subfloor or underlayment. Which type of adhesive is best suited for your unique business is determined by factors such as the condition of your substrate, the location of the room to be renovated, and the flooring you have selected. Whether you are using vinyl, tile, or carpet, there is one type of adhesive that is right for your product.
If you’re attaching to a concrete sub-floor, for example, you’ll need a different type of adhesive than you’re attaching to a plywood sub-floor. If you are installing flooring in an indoor-outdoor room or a strictly outdoor space, you will need an adhesive that can handle fluctuations in the elements.
If you follow the directions and use an adhesive intended for carpet in an indoor-outdoor space with vinyl, be prepared for a sticky mess on your hands. The bottom line: Always read the directions, and follow the manufacturer’s directions, for the health of your home.
Emotional health: help (can be) on the way
While vinyl and laminate flooring tend to be easier to install on your own, other materials like hardwood, tile, and carpet can prove to be more of a problem than their DIY-free value. professional help. If things get too overwhelming (or if the chic look of the knee lifter doesn’t really work for you), The Home Depot’s installation service team are always ready to kick off a new flooring project for your family or to jump in the middle of another. if things did not go as planned. They are the pros, after all.