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How to Plan and Design Your Kitchen Floor

Posted: Friday, August 27, 2010

Tackling your own flooring job takes some courage. It's a job that stretches your imagination, your skill set, and most definitely your patience. But it also offers a unique reward--the opportunity to stand back at the end and say "I made this."

The first question you are likely to ask is "Can I do this?" And by that you mean not just do it, but do it well enough to be glad you didn't hire a pro. The answer is yes, providing you are willing to learn and providing that you first make yourself a plan.

A plan means informing yourself of everything you need, how you use it, and in what order.

1. Measure carefully: The issue here is square feet. A room with no cabinetry that's 10 feet wide and 12 feet long is 120 square feet. A kitchen is usually much harder to measure accurately, with all the ins and outs. Here's a short cut: measure the entire room, then measure the cabinets that sit on the floor and subtract that from the overall size.

2. Order 10% more than you need: Order too much flooring and you risk wasting money. Order too little means waiting on more to arrive with your kitchen unfinished. A good rule of thumb is to add 10% to account for waste. Since flooring comes by the box, allow for at least an extra 10%.

PRO TIP! If you purchase flooring on closeout, err on the side of buying too much, never too little. You may not be able to get more. Also, save some flooring in your attic or garage. That way, if you change your kitchen in future or need to repair the floor, you don't have to search for flooring to match.

3. Plan your supplies: If you are putting in tile, you'll need first to install backer board. If linoleum, plan on new subfloor and leveler. Adhesives, screws, nails, or staples: these can all be purchased at a home improvement store. If the store is close by, you can go back for more. If it's a drive, buy more than you need and return the unused portion.

4. Gather Your Resources: You'll need all the usual hand tools. More complex tools may be needed, such as a miter saw, a table saw, a compressor and stapler, or if you choose tile or stone, a tile-cutting saw. These can be rented by the day or, if you've got a friend who's been down this road, they can be borrowed in return for a favor in kind. (Plus, you can ask him for advice, and maybe even kick in a pizza to get him to help out.)