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Need Help Laying Out & Starting Vinyl Laminate Plank Floor



"Need Help Laying Out & Starting Vinyl Laminate Plank Floor," in the Vinyl Flooring Q&A forum, begins: "Hello, I searched but couldn't find the answers I'm looking for and I'm hoping someone can set me straight. My ..."

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Old December 27, 2011, 08:58 PM   #1
Warrior
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Need Help Laying Out & Starting Vinyl Laminate Plank Floor


Hello,
I searched but couldn't find the answers I'm looking for and I'm hoping someone can set me straight. My wife and I are installing an Allure Ultra vinyl plank floor in the basement. We are having a hard time figuring out how to stagger the planks and how to square the first row to the room.

The room is 2" wider at one end than the other. Not sure if I should angle the first row to compensate and make it square to the other wall or scribe the planks? Any detailed advice would be appreciated.

Next is how to stager the length of the planks. Your supposed to have a length no less than 12". How should we go about starting the first row to make sure the last piece is 12" or more (measuring is obvious) but then starting the 2nd row and stagering to make the seem lines look good.

I know this must seem basic but this is our first floor and I want to get it right.

Your advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks
Jeff (Warrior)
Michigan

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Old December 27, 2011, 09:57 PM   #2
Jim McClain
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Hi Jeff, glad to have you here. Thanks for bringing your questions to us. Mine is just one of several replies you will get I hope. I can only speak to how I would do it.

The whole idea behind layout is aesthetics. You want it to look good. I've seen a lot of crooked and out-of-square rooms. In those cases, I had to determine what part of the layout could afford to hide the crookedness. That was usually the part of the rooms that had the most ins and outs - the most irregular sides. The longest, straightest walls could ill afford a crooked layout. It would be noticed by almost everyone.

If you have one big room, then hiding that permanent imperfection will be harder. You can use the equalize method - shifting the layout so it appears to be off about the same amount on both sides of the room. Some may think this doubles your chance of people noticing it's crooked. I would ask about furniture placement to see if the crookedness could be hidden by groupings of furniture.

Once you decide how that's going to go, then dry fit a few rows to get a better visual. This is also where you will see that your stagger will mostly handle itself. Start with a full tile on the first row and cut the last tile to fit. The left-over of the row will usually be a good starter for the next row and give you the right amount of stagger. You may have to take a measurement to determine if your last piece is going to be at least a 6" (give or take) piece. You don't want to use tiny end pieces.

Some installers do 3 rows at a time because it reduces the crawling and up and downs. Then they will start each row at once, first with a full piece, then a 2/3rds length and a 1/3rd length. Take the 3 cutoffs at the end to start the next 3 rows.

The stagger is important in not just the side-by-side rows, but also the 3rd and even 4th rows, depending on the width of the planks. The alternating rows don't have to follow the 12" rule, but should be off enough not to be a distraction to the eye.

This is Allure's promotional video:


Jim

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Old December 28, 2011, 05:10 AM   #3
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Jim gave the same answers, but I'll second the motion and reword it a little. Sometimes tradesmen have their own lingo which makes sense to others in the trade but isn't so easy to pick up for those not used to working with tools.

In an out of square condition the correct way to lay out the area would be to "split the difference" by centering the layout so in your case each wall would be off by an inch rather than one wall being off by two inches.

While that's a general rule this is YOUR house. So you can decide whether to square up off one wall and let another run off by two inches or split the difference.

What you would do to split the difference is chalk a line down the center of the room. Then depending on the width of the planks transfer that line over to the wall you want to start on. Dry lay the first FULL row of planks on that line off your starting wall. (it should be one inch difference from wall to wall, right?) Now using either a pair of dividers or another plank as a template/guide you're going to scribe along that wall. By that I mean butt another loose piece against the wall and draw with a pencil or Sharpie along the edge of the row you dry laid along the chalk line. Do this the entire length of the room. Then cut along the line. I'm not familiar with this specific brand but usually I make a light pass with a BRAND NEW BLADE in the utility knife. Then I bear down harder on the second pass. That's usually a deep enough "score mark" to then pick up the plank and bend it so it'll snap clean on the cut. Frequently you have to come back a third time to cut completely through. I have a variety of "hook blades" that I might use for this purpose. It's a little dangerous so be careful an cut away from yourself at that point.

Then that whole row slides over to become the cut row and you can start laying full planks out on that line staggered as per directions. The stagger isn't a big deal. Don't overthink it. Avoid small pieces at the ends mostly so you don't have to cut slivers but also for appearances.

Now here's the concept of the stagger; REAL wood typically comes in RANDOM length planks from the mill and the installers have to arrange the pieces to make a good solid floor avoiding lining up the end joints. Get it? It's a better installation staggering the end joints for structural reasons. That only vaguely applies to a vinyl knock off. Here we're just trying to replicate that effect. Make it RANDOM by not measuring and lining anything up. When you stand up no general pattern should jump out at you. Eyeball the stagger and keep then ends from lining up at least 3-4 rows down. That all there is to it!

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Old December 28, 2011, 10:58 AM   #4
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Thanks for the detailed response guy's. I'm getting ready to start. I'll keep you posted!

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Old January 1, 2012, 06:49 PM   #5
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Warrior said View Post
Thanks for the detailed response guy's. I'm getting ready to start. I'll keep you posted!


No pictures yet?

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Old January 2, 2012, 09:42 AM   #6
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I'll upload them soon.

Trying to finish installing my quarter round today and I ran into a snag. I noticed 2 of my panels are not fully together 6 & 7 panels in!

I missed this somehow. I tried using a pull bar but it won't budge. Not sure what to do?

It's in an are that will see zero traffic and will be under a desk. Can I just leave it without negative consequences?

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Old January 3, 2012, 09:41 AM   #7
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I had to make the decision to leave the floor like it is. It's in a zero traffic area and I don't think there will be any issues.

If I had checked it before continuing this would not have happened. Lesson for anyone reading.

In trying to use a pull bar to correct them, I took a 2 x 1/4" chink out of the side. Bummer. It will not be seen though so I'm leaving it. I would have had to open a brand new box for 1 piece.

I would install this floor again. Once you get the hang of it, it's not bad really.

Now I do have another question. Maybe time for a new thread?

I need replacement caster wheels for my office chair and the manufacturer says they have to be "non-marking, 2 inch wide" wheels. I can't find 2" wide wheels anywhere! Dual singles but not 1 1ide wheel.

Any suggestions?

Here's some pics of the floor. Not the best quality pics though.
I'll post some more later.

imag0473.jpg

imag0474.jpg
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Old January 3, 2012, 11:30 AM   #8
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Just like a manufacturer to condition their warranty on the impossible. The dualies should be fine though.


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Old January 3, 2012, 12:17 PM   #9
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Warrior said View Post
I need replacement caster wheels for my office chair and the manufacturer says they have to be "non-marking, 2 inch wide" wheels. I can't find 2" wide wheels anywhere! Dual singles but not 1 1ide wheel.

Any suggestions?

Here's some pics of the floor. Not the best quality pics though.
I'll post some more later.

Attachment 13594

Attachment 13595
Make sure they are soft "non marking", the hard plastic will "eat" through the finish and the pattern sheet on the vinyl. How do I know this? I have seen it several times when a single wheel hard plastic was used. The worst was a dual wheel hard plastic, since the rollers had a 1/4 inch ridge in the center, they chewed through the finish in several months.

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Old January 3, 2012, 06:19 PM   #10
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Warrior said View Post
I had to make the decision to leave the floor like it is. It's in a zero traffic area and I don't think there will be any issues.

If I had checked it before continuing this would not have happened. Lesson for anyone reading.

In trying to use a pull bar to correct them, I took a 2 x 1/4" chink out of the side. Bummer. It will not be seen though so I'm leaving it. I would have had to open a brand new box for 1 piece.

I would install this floor again. Once you get the hang of it, it's not bad really.

Now I do have another question. Maybe time for a new thread?

I need replacement caster wheels for my office chair and the manufacturer says they have to be "non-marking, 2 inch wide" wheels. I can't find 2" wide wheels anywhere! Dual singles but not 1 1ide wheel.

Any suggestions?

Here's some pics of the floor. Not the best quality pics though.
I'll post some more later.

Attachment 13594

Attachment 13595
****************************** ****
I hate to bother you but would you mind pulling off that base you painted red, re-painting it white and then re-installing it. I'm very happy about the rest of the work. This is simply a design issue. I can't explain why but red paint on a base offends me. I'll live with the red on the wall but NOT the base, OK?


Yes, I'm kidding, sort of.

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Old January 3, 2012, 06:57 PM   #11
Freddy G
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outside walls are usually the straightest go off of that find center of room pop a line length of longest wall then pop anoter line off end wall check for sqr using 3ft 4ft 5ft methed

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Old January 3, 2012, 07:24 PM   #12
Jim McClain
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Freddy, welcome. Best to read more of the topics than first post. This job is already done. 'Course, your suggestion is always good for those starting out and looking to TFP topics for advice before beginning.

While I have your attention, how about telling us... http://www.thefloorpro.com/community...floor-pro.html

Jim

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crooked room, layout, lvt starting point, out of square walls, staggered rows, starter rows

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