The PERFECT flooring for IMPERFECT floors ~ from Karpet Korner

Thirteen years ago my hubby and I bought a fixer upper house… Not just any fixer upper, but an 1892 Cottage style fixer upper. We knew the day we signed the papers it would most likely never be perfect, but we fell in love with its charm and the yard. I had big plans for it, and hoped secretly that one day it would be perfect. So far, many of those plans have become reality; a new AC, a new furnace, all new windows (except for 4 dining room ones), my hubby rewired the whole house, new plumbing was also done. We’ve painted ceilings, walls, remodeled both bathrooms, and MANY other projects, but the one thing I always wanted was hardwood floors! I mean I’ve been wanting them F-O-R-E-V-E-R!

One week after we bought the house, we realized the olive green and turquoise shag carpet in the living room was going to HAVE to come up…

(If you click on any of the pictures, they will enlarge.)

It didn’t reveal any pretty hardwood floors like we were hoping, but plywood floors… Not pretty subfloors, but just plain ole plywood. I decided “someday” I’d have hardwood floors, so I could live with it for now…

Whenever I would take a picture of my living/dining room, I always felt like I had to apologize for the floors… “”No…we still don’t have flooring down YET!” We’d tell people to keep their shoes ON, instead of taking them off…(Risk of splinters, you know!) Splinters in my hubby’s feet was a regular occurrence at our house.

Well, fast forward to earlier this year, we were given several money gifts to add to our “floor fund” and we started thinking seriously about flooring. We checked out the Big Box stores and got estimates, and looked at more flooring than you could ever imagine. There was click and lock, laminate, floating, glue down, peel and stick, bamboo, nail down hardwood, and probably a few others I’ve forgotten. Everything was either too cheap looking or it was outrageous. We had estimates from $1500 to $3000. The $1500 estimate was for click and lock, but because, by now, many years later, the plywood had been worn, it was very uneven and wavy and they really couldn’t guarantee that it would stay locked together. We were told we’d have to have a new plywood sub floor put down, or adhesive spread out over the floor to even it out… solutions my hubby didn’t want to spend money on. So we waited for a better solution. I was online every night looking for the flooring that would work for us. I actually became almost “obsessed” with finding something.

It finally got to the point that my hubby just said, “I think we’re going to have to get carpet. It’s going to be the only thing that will hide all the imperfections in the floor and when it wears out, we’ll replace it. It’s a lot cheaper than anything else and I’m tired of all these splinters in my feet.” We got samples of carpeting at a few places and I was supposed to make up my mind from a 4″ square for the carpeting I “didn’t” want. I had to die to my dream of wood floors! It was painful… really painful. I think I really would have rather walked on the crummy plywood than give up my dream of wood floors.

I still remember the next day; we were heading to Karpet Korner, a place near us that sells great carpeting at great prices. I was trying to convince myself that it would be okay, but I was crying inside. Well, we arrived at Karpet Korner and as soon as we walked in the door, I saw a wood plank looking flooring that was in their entryway. I liked it and asked what it was? The sales guy told us all about it and then took us back to where they had 6 different colors of it. (Remember how we went to look at “carpeting?” It never happened!!!!)

It’s actually called Loose Lay flooring and Quick Fit is the style. The brand we chose was from Happy Feet International. It’s basically 8″ x 48″ vinyl planks with a rubber skid resistant backing that makes it quite heavy and they are held in place…”with nothing!” No glue, no nails, no sticky back, no clicking and locking to keep them in place. Each plank weighs about 5 or 6 pounds and they are held in place by gravity and by butting them from one wall to another. The tighter fit you make them have, the better the look. It covered up imperfections like what we had in our floors because of the thickness and the weight of the planks. The planks themselves are about 1/4″ thick and have the highest mil wear layer we saw on ANY flooring… a whopping 22 wear layer. It also had a residential lifetime warranty.

The sales guy took a lot of time with us and I showed him pictures of what our floors looked like. He said he thought this would work. In their entryway, he pulled up one of the planks and showed us how it just laid on top of the tile flooring underneath. It was pretty impressive. We had a million questions and this is a summary of what we found out!

If you can smooth out your floor at least somewhat, your planks won’t telegraph the ridges below through to the top.

It is vinyl flooring, so it’s waterproof. If you have it in the basement and it floods, take up your flooring, (you’d probably have to number your pieces to get then laid back down in the right order) dry it off, dry out your basement and put it back down.

If you want to move your flooring to a different room, you can… just pick up the planks and move them. Try doing THAT with any other flooring!

If you MOVE, you can take your floors with you! :o)

If a piece gets damaged, you can just pull up that plank and replace it. (providing you have a couple of extras!)

It is scratch resistant, which is important as we have a dog.

If you see a ridge in it after you get it installed, you can lift up that plank, sand it down, vacuum the area, and then lay your plank back down.

It has micro-beveled ends so there is the look of hardwood flooring…

It can be cleaned with just a damp mop using any Resiliant Floor Cleaner… (Bona makes one that is good.) You can also just use a damp paper towel if you see a spot on the floor.

I thought I’d show you a few pictures of what it looked like before and after we put our flooring down. Yes, we decided to put it down ourselves… we’d done LOTS of DIY projects so we figured we could do this.

This was a close up of what our entire floor pretty much looked like…

It’s hard to get excited about housecleaning when your floors look like this…

We did have one ridge right down the middle that my hubby removed all the nails from, and sanded down as flat as he could. I then, filled in the cracks with wood putty.

We tried to make the plywood floor as even as we could, but it was still very uneven in spots… We worked for about 5 days getting it ready before we started laying the planks. If you have a “regular” floor, it would probably be a snap to put this stuff down!

The color we chose was Ashwood because it was lighter and we thought it would show up less dirt on the floor.

We started on a clean floor in the corner and just butted the planks next to the wall and worked our way across the floor, making them fit as tight as we could. (I did buy a little rubber tapper block that I used with a hammer to make sure they were tight against the wall.) When we got to the end of the row, we carefully measured and cut our plank off. Then we put a little white X on the “cut” edge. We then used that piece to butt up to the edge of the wall and started our second row. We had to cut some pieces shorter to stagger our pattern. If you laid down a few rows and squinted your eyes and saw a spot that looked like it was too dark of an area, you could just go in and lift one of the planks out and turn it around in the other direction. It gave it a whole different look super easily. The boxes of 8 planks, had about 6 or 7 random designs printed on them, giving you quite a few different planks to work with. Each box covered 24 square feet.

My hubby started out using a utility knife and a square to cut the pieces, but he actually ended up liking a pair of tin snips he had better. He’d mark the planks with a pencil and cut on the line. (REMEMBER THE CUT EDGES ONLY GO AGAINST THE WALLS… the FACTORY EDGES GET BUTTED NEXT TO EACH OTHER,)

It took us 5 days to lay the flooring down. We were very careful with our cuts and didn’t make a single mistake, so we ended up with 3 boxes left over. It was a big head start IF we wanted to go on into our kitchen. This is what the floors would have looked like if we left the kitchen tiles down… I don’t think so!!!

It’s one big room, so we decided to buy 2 more boxes and keep going. It was a pretty big area from the front door all the way across the dining room and into the kitchen, so we did use an adhesive on 2 rows where the kitchen starts. We left the peel and stick tile down in the kitchen and my hubby sort of sanded it at a slant going up and over the tiles. That’s the part we used the adhesive on…just to make sure it didn’t come up. After we got some of the areas done, we moved a few pieces of furniture back.

See, I told you my hubby liked just laying on the floors…

You can see in that picture, that the area over by the fireplace hearth wasn’t finished yet. Each piece had to have a template made from paper and then the plank cut to match it. I’m a seamstress so the templates were right up my alley.

AHHHHH… a perfect fit…

We do have lots of light in our living/dining room so sometimes there is a slight haze on the floors. Do you think THAT bothers me? Not in the least.

We’ve lived with it about 7 weeks now and I can tell you WE MADE THE RIGHT CHOICE! It is absolutely wonderful! It’s easy to dust mop…a new routine I do every morning and I damp mop it usually once a week. You can feel a few spots under your feet that are slightly uneven, but we don’t really care. I caught my hubby in his socks the other day, doing a little foot shuffling on the floors (like the way Tim Conway used to do in the old Carol Burnett skits). He said, “Look honey, NO splinters!” That’s good enough for me!

The only trouble with my new floors is now they make my ratty kitchen cabinets look even more terrible than they did… They’ve got to go! If only Karpet Korner sold cabinets. *sigh!*

If you think Loose Lay flooring might work for you, you can contact Karpet Korner at 618-993-6319 in Marion, IL, or visit their facebook page HERE.

I was given a discount in exchange for writing this blog post! Thank you!

See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne
I Dream of Jeanne Marie

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  1. Sand your kitchen cabinets and paint them. Add different knobs and or wood trims if you like and pull out drawers or trays. Maybe even paint the ceilings. A mother of a friend painted all of her ranch style cabinets (she is a great artist/painter) and then added trompe l’oeil vines and fruits in a Tuscan outdoor garden style. Then since she was having fun with it, she learned out to make plaster moldings and did ceiling and wall moldings in several rooms too. Another alternative is to look at IKEA cabinets; they’re pretty modern though.

    • Hi Christal,
      I’m afraid my cabinets are too far gone to really make good. The veneer has,splintered on them and the edges are cracked and warped. It wouldn’t be worth my time to fix them temporarily.
      I have, hoqever, discovered cabinets on Craigslist and I’m pretty sure I can find something. I’ve been watching everyday to see what new ones were added.
      There is hope!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  2. Laureen Bakri says:

    Very happy for you Jeanne; you deserve that beautiful floor. You and your husband worked very hard to put it down and it looks professional. I do not think that carpet would have looked as perfect as this floor does. Thank you for the many blogs sharing your journey to make this upgrade in your home. Enjoy the beauty of your rooms.

    • Thank you, Laureen,
      It is still almost a dream to us to have such nice flooring instead of that icky plywood. Every time we walk on it, we are so thankful!
      I’m glad you enjoyed the journey with us!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  3. You did it! One more promise kept.
    It’s an excellent article and I can’t believe that you finished it on the same day Deb came to visit. It’s a great article — you made the problems clear and it seems to me that you were very honest about the amount and type of work that it took to put the floor down. Great selection of pictures.
    The project can be done by DIY people who have experience and appropriate equipment. The part about deciding to continue the floor into the kitchen emphasizes how much you liked the new floor, as does the picture of George lying on it.

    Congratulations on another project well done. This is now a great resource for us to pull up any time we need it for our own use or to show our friends. Many thanks.

    • Hi Marilyn,
      Yep, I got the flooring post written, but I can’t figure out how to get it onto their site…I will call them in a little bit to see if they can help me figure it out.
      Deb did arrive and today’s adventures involve the Thrift shop, the Goodwill, TJ Maxx and Cool Spoons!!!
      Thanks Marilyn,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  4. Charlotte A. says:

    Great post. I love your home fix them up ones. I don’t need the floors now but will remember the name for the future. I am so glad you have your pretty floors now.
    Hope you have a good day.
    Take care.

    • Thanks Charlotte,
      I’m glad you enjoy more than just my sewing posts! With all the “template” making I did for the floors, it was almost a pattern making post!
      Thank you,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  5. So glad you and George are happy with your floors after the years of waiting and then your work in laying them down.


    • Hi Becky,
      We ARE very happy with our floors and Deb Lukes rhem too! We are very grateful to be walking on them instead of plywood.
      Thanks Becky,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  6. What a great product and tutorial. The company should be very happy with it. They should have it available for customers in the store. I’ll bet those floors are very comfortable to stand on for a while in the kitchen in addition to being splinter-free and looking great. How great that you could do it all yourselves.

    I recommend as a next project for George a light box for photography. If he can do all those construction projects, this will be child’s play and couldn’t take much more than an hour to finish. It’s the first or second site that appears and has the words “15 Steps” added on. It will use your existing lights and you probably have all the materials on hand. Have fun, George.

    • Hi Susette,
      The company will probably be happier if I can get the post added to their site. I haven’t been able to yet, but I’m going to call them and see if they can talk me through it.
      Those light boxes certainly do intrigue me…who knows…one may be in my future!
      Thanks Susette,
      Blessings, Jeanne

      • Charlotte Trayer says:

        I’m no expert, but could you just send them a link to that particular blog, and they can just put the link on their site?

        Terrific post, by the way–enjoyed seeing the whole transformation again!

        • Hi Charlotte,
          That’s what I ended up doing…sent them a link so they could figure it out. I haven’t checked to see if they put it up yet.
          Blessings, Jeanne

  7. Loved your post today. ( I love all of them, really). You are right, your lovely charming home and the beautiful grounds around your home were well worth falling in love with this house all those years ago. You and George worked hard on the plans for this gem of a home. You are both very talented and dedicated to your goals.

    It’s been exciting to see the changes you’ve shared with us through your blog. I love renovations and yours are always so interesting. Your home is just lovely!!
    I think someone’s idea, if it hasn’t been yours already, sand and repainting the existing cupboard doors. I actual did some cabinets in a house my son and I renovated (with the help of my husband of course) and it was amazing to see the difference. I am by no means talented with sand paper and paint but we were pleased with their new look. With new knobs, you wouldn’t believe the difference. Your cabinets look like they’re wood… real wood. That’s a big plus over some of the new cabinets today.
    By the way, Molly’s dress is adorable… just beautiful! I hope you had or are having a nice visit with your sister.

    • Hi Paula,
      Thank you for your kind words. We have worked hard on our house and it feels nice to hear that everyone thinks our improvements have paid off.
      My cabinets are a little too far gone Paula. I’m holding out for some on Craigslist and will probably paint them. I’ve been watching for the perfect ones… :o)
      We are having a good time….today it was the thrift shop, Goodwill, TJ Maxx and Cool Spoons….now we’re eating a salad. …
      Thanks, Blessings, Jeanne

  8. What a wonderful testimonial you wrote, Jeanne, and it is amazing to see the transformation from the “rustic” plywood floors to those beautiful, amazing new floors you now have! Thank heavens Karpet Korner was there in Carbondale to inspire you and George to install them! You both deserve kudos for such a professional job and for showing us how it is done in your tutorial. I am sure you have certainly inspired others to consider this as well, and have given us information we never knew about. Your floors are just beautiful and you have every reason to be proud of the work you and George have accomplished!

    Have fun with Deb!

    • Hi Linda,
      It truly is quite the transformation in our house! Everyone that has ever been to our house that now sees them is amazed.
      We ARE having fun…even had Cool Spoons before dinner!!!
      I hope you have fun in Cape for your Class Reunion!!!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  9. Natalie Butler says:

    Congratulations Jeanne!!! They look beautiful!!! So happy for you!!! <3

    • Hi Natalie,
      Aren’t the floors just wonderful??? We love them and can’t get over how nice they are to walk on…
      Thank you SO much for giving us the boot to get going on them!
      Love you, Jeanne

  10. Great post! The work you and George have done is amazing and inspiring to us semi do it your selfers. The flooring is beautiful and I am intrigued by it as I live on a lake and the wheels are turning. I wonder how it will hold up to the weight of appliances or if they will dent it making it hard to move them out? I definitely will be checking into this product – thanks for sharing.
    Enjoyed your post yesterday, I love seeing your creative process and can’t wait to see the finished ensemble.

    • Hi Leigh,
      I’m glad you enjoyed my post on the flooring.
      We did have to move our frig across it and I was very concerned, but my hubby had some roller wheels that her put under the frig and moved it in place. It didnt dent our flooring. You can also use a piece of plywood too, to move it on…
      Let me know if you decide…
      Blessings, Jeanne

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