by Sonya Weiss
One of my favorite full-page ads in some decorating magazines shows James Dean leaning against a wall holding a camera. Below the picture are the words, "It only looks like the real thing."
It's an ad for Armstrong laminate flooring.
So what's the difference between installing real hardwood flooring versus laminate?
Number one is the cost. Hardwood floors cost twice as much and according to one home improvement employee are not as scratch resistant as laminate. For us, with kids and a family dog, choosing to install a laminate floor in the dining room made sense both in expense and durability.
Second is the ease of installation. To install laminate over a concrete floor base, you'll need enough foam underlay to cover the floor, the laminate (we used a honey oak), a pull bar, a rubber mallet, a block to lay against the edge of the laminate, a saw to cut the wood and safety glasses.
You'll use the mallet and block to tap against the side of the laminate to help lock them into place. For comfort, I also suggest a set of knee pads.
When you begin laying the laminate on the floor, start in the easiest corner, one where you won't have to cut the laminate to fit a doorway.
For a finishing touch, once the laminate was installed, we used a cloverleaf molding along the edge of the floor.
The flooring looks great and the money we saved enabled us to get started on the next project.