By Gene and Katie Hamilton
There have never been so many flooring materials available to homeowners, and with the burgeoning do-it-yourself market, they're becoming easier to install. A locking system is a good example because it simplifies the project by eliminating the use of adhesives or nails, both requiring considerably more time and skill to install. These glueless systems are designed with tongue-and-groove panels that snap and fit together so they lock in place. They are often called floating floors. The designs are wood laminate patterns, engineered to withstand wear and tear, and they're at home in any room in the house.
A floor installer will charge $1,915 to lay a locking floor system in a 15-by-20-foot room, assuming the existing or subfloor is level and sound. This includes the labor and material. You can do the job for $1,100, the cost of the material, and save 42 percent. It will cost more in time and materials to repair, remove or install a new subfloor before the new flooring is laid.
You'll need basic carpentry tools including a measuring tape, carpenter's square, level and hand or power saw. Different manufacturer's systems vary but they basically include planks, an underlayment and blocks and spacers to help align the planks. In general, the job involves emptying the room, removing the base shoe molding and cleaning the surface. Then you measure, cut and lay the underlayment and planks so they fit together. To complete the job, you replace or install new molding to conceal the rough edges around the room.
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When you’re choosing a shade of wood flooring use this as a guideline. A lighter shade works nicely with contemporary furnishings and in rooms where you want to add light and make the room appear larger than it is. In contract darker shade flooring creates a rich, more traditional look so it’s a good choice for more formal designs and décor.
Wrapping up, given the average cost to install a locking floor system you can compare the price of a contractor’s bid with doing it yourself. For a local cost input your ZIP Code.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2020