Sketch copyright © 1997 Richard Servideo

Flooring Installation

First experience with the Formica flooring was not good, but it is getting better.

We watched the installation video. We read the instructions. This is a "Floating Floor". It is not nailed down anywhere. It is just glued together. Then it can "move" as the material expands and contracts with moisture and temperature changes. The directions require 1/4 inch spacing between the floor edges and any walls or other adjoining fixed surfaces.

The video recommended clamping the first 3 rows of planks with lots of fancy clamps ($54.00 US each). We planned to use spacers along the wall and press blocks against the first 3 rows to hold them as the glue dried.

We started installation of a 16 foot by 8 foot section of floor. The planks were layed the long way. By the time we were out 5 plank widths from the wall, we had 3/8 inch gaps between the planks at either end. It appeared that the floor had shifted as we tapped in the new planks. The shifting was uneven, and caused the floor to curve.

We stopped. The next day we cut the floor into pieces (the glue was already dry) and put the pieces in bathrooms and closets. Then started over.

This time, we put sheet rock screws against the edge of the first row to maintain the space from the wall and keep the planks straight. We were very careful to keep the plank joins tight. Especially the end joints. The first three rows looked great. We blocked them and let them dry. (Instructions said wait 1 hour. We waited 3.) The fourth row was ok; slight gaps. The fifth row had a 1/8 inch gap from the fourth row in the middle. We stopped again.

We called the dealer who had installed it before and he said call the 1-800-Formica number. We called and the suggestion was to cut a scrap plank 10 inches long on the diagonal to create two triangles. Place them against the edge of the floor. Screw down the outer one and then tap the inner one in as a wedge to squeeze the floor planks. He also suggested dry fitting the next 3 to 4 rows to see how they would go.

Armed with new information and new determination (I asked the dealer what he would charge to install it, and he said $2.00 to $2.50 per square foot), we started again. We layed out the next 4 rows and they looked ok, but there would still be gaps. I finally had the idea to lay a 4 foot level along the long edge of the planks. Many of them bowed 1/16 to almost 1/8 inch in 4 feet. Aha! I now knew how to proceed.

We glued the 6th row, and used the suggested wedges to squeeze the "bow" out of the planks. I placed the 4 foot level along each plank and also spanning plank joints to check for any bowing. The wedges were placed in the middle on the long edge if the plank bowed out (most did), or at the joint if it bowed in. This closed most of the gaps.

The following weekend we finished the floor (on the mezzanine level). It was 30 planks wide all together. The end result looks great. With furniture on it, it looks like a magazine photo. We ended up with only the one large gap, and putty filled that fairly well.

Now we move on to the main level. Kitchen/dining area and foyer.

This site created and maintained by Ted Horton (ted at hortondome . com)

All information and photos in this site are Copyright © 1997, 1998 Ted Horton.