Laying Floors in a 100+ Year Old Home Pt.2

You can read the previous post here.

Part 2: Flooring preparation and dealing with uneven flooring.

Once everything was ordered it became a waiting game.  I can’t say I was overly satisfied with Home Depot.  I called in multiple times checking on the order after it was suppose to be ready for pickup, finally a week later I got a hold of the flooring manager.  She told me they messed up and she pulled a pallet of the floor and I could pick it up anytime and made everything better quickly.  With a little help from my father-in-law and his trailer we got all the flooring home and unloaded, over 200 boxes across two pallets.

I brought in enough flooring to do the floor in the room that needed it worst.  Manufactures recommend letting any flooring acclimate in you home for a few days.  I gave my flooring a week to sit while I prepped the room.  To prep the room I started by putting down 100% silicone caulk in the floor cracks.  I used expanding foam in some of the larger holes to help seal up all the drafts across the floor.  During the winter when the fireplaces were going you could feel cold air coming from the floor, I hope this will help the next winter.

The original flooring was stained around the edges.
Cutouts in the floor are on the top left.
My helper
The also under-construction fireplace mantle.

While the room was under construction I started the “mini project” of tearing down the faux wall that held the insert and taking it back to the brick.  I also put in a brick hearth and installed the Woodstock Soapstone Progress Hybrid freestanding wood stove which if I ever get the wall finished will get a write up of its own.  The fireplace is active though and we used it to heat most of our house the past year.

The next step I did, which I am not sure was 100% necessary, was to put down 6mil plastic sheeting over the old flooring.  I did this for 2 reasons:  My cork underlayment has no vapor barrier to protect the laminate and I have an unconditioned crawlspace below the floor.  A unconditioned crawlspace means that my basement/crawlspace is open to the outdoors and outside air can freely move under my house year round.  I was afraid of humidity some how damaging the floor and 6 mil plastic is cheap insurance.  To put the underlayment down, I just laid it across the floor leaving 6″ or so on every side to go up the wall.  The room was to big to do it in one sheet, so I overlapped sheets about 8″ and duct tapped the seams until the who floor was covered.  Make sure you spend a significant amount of time cleaning/prepping the floors before this.  Any sharp edges or debris will put holes in the plastic and/or puncture the underlayment.

Plastic sheeting mostly down


Next the cork underlayment goes on top.  Moving the roll of cork is best done with 2 people.  That said, I moved it myself (my wife was due to have a baby the week I was doing this) and is possible.  The thing about this cork is that it is extremely brittle if bent.  It is great under compression once it is flat.  The best thing I can suggest is to roll the entire roll across the floor with something heavy on one end.  I used a utility knife to score it once I got it to length.  Then a bend easily breaks it.  Along the way I attempted to tape the seams with duct tape, real aluminum duct tape, packing tape.  Nothing gets a really good grip, so I just ended up using duct tape and laying some of the flooring on the seems to hold it down and keep everything in place.

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And that is it for floor prep.  In the next part I will cover laying the actual laminate flooring.


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