How to Install Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is a wonderful and cost-effective option for flooring because it so closely resembles hardwood and tile.  Generally, it is a fairly easy to moderate “do it yourself” (DIY) project that is beneficial for a number of reasons; cleaning becomes easier with laminate hardwood flooring; it can be more aesthetically pleasing; and it can add value to a home. Laminate flooring products are also very popular in environments that need to be kept extremely free of dust and allergens that can lead to respiratory discomfort.

Here is a basic guide if you decide to move forward with the laminate flooring installation process. Please remember that this is a general guide to give an overview of the installation process. Remember to always follow the recommended installation methods provided by the flooring manufacturing when they differ from this guide.

Evaluate your current flooring

Determine whether or not you are able to put the laminate wood or laminate tile over your current flooring. Although most laminate floors are considered floating (in order to allow for expansion and contraction from temperature and humidity changes), some underlying surfaces can leave laminate floors looking uneven. There have been reports of installing wood laminate flooring over very thin carpeting, such as indoor/outdoor carpeting used on patios, however, many manufacturer’s recommend full removal of existing flooring (unless it is cement). Even thin carpeting can have areas that can cause peaks or valleys in laminate wood flooring and laminate tile flooring. For the best results, subflooring should be flat, providing a solid base for your new laminate wood flooring.

If you decide to remove old carpeting, follow these quick steps, pre-installation:

  1. Grab the carpeting from a corner in the room and pull from the tack strip.
  2. Cut a 3 foot strip with a utility knife and roll.
  3. Continue cutting 3 ft. strips until the carpet is removed and then proceed to remove  the carpet padding with the same steps.

Prepare for installation.

  1. Fill any holes and level all bumps or lumps.
  2. Carefully remove all baseboard (if necessary). The drywall may not meet the floor in some areas. If this occurs, create a solid wall surface with a 2- to 3-inch wide facing strip of ¼“ plywood slid in between the subfloor and drywall.
  3. Measure the area you want to cover and add approximately 10-20 percent to account for waste (generally caused by mis-cuts). To avoid ending up with an unusually narrow board at the finish wall, measure the distance between the starting and ending walls. Divide by the width of the board. To balance the room, add the amount left over to the plank width and divide by two.
  4. Generally you will need to wait 24-48 hours to let the laminate flooring material acclimate to the humidity and temperature of the room. Remove any plastic wrapping material from the boxes and lay them flat on the floor with enough space around to allow for air flow. (Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines!)
  5. Check the height of the new floor against all doors that open into the room before you install your flooring. You don’t want to end up with another project on your hands!

Install the flooring

Keep in mind that exact laminate flooring installation may vary according to the type of laminate floors you choose.

1.  There are many variations of vapor barrier and padding with vapor barrier attached. If installing on a concrete slab you will need a vapor barrier. Begin by laying the vapor barrier and/or padding one row at a time from the longest wall of the room. Joining the underlayment together varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, some will have you butt each row against the next and others will have you overlap rows. Always follow the instructions from your specific manufacturer!

2.  If you choose to leave the door jambs in place you may need to trim the bottom of the jamb to allow the laminate flooring material to slide under it for a clean appearance. Lay a piece of the laminate flooring flat on the subfloor against the door jamb and use a “flat” saw or a coping saw resting on the laminate flooring to cut the door jamb, parallel to the subfloor.

Install Laminate Flooring

3.  Installation of the first row will vary depending on your specific application (room dimensions, any designs in the flooring, etc.), however it is generally thought of as a best practice to begin installing the first row parallel to the longest wall in the room. Place a laminate flooring spacer (approximately ½” thick) against the wall every 12 inches and push the first flooring plank against them. This allows for the expansion and contraction of the flooring and provides a solid base during installation. Don’t worry, these gaps will later be covered by the baseboard.

4.  For each plank match the locking mechanism and lock the flooring into each adjoining plank. Note – There are many different manufacturers of laminate flooring and almost as many different locking mechanisms. Please be 100% sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the locking process. It may be necessary to use a tapping block to securely lock each plank together, again, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.

5.  When installing subsequent rows you will want to stagger the joints. When installing a new row, offset it six to eight inches so the joints at the ends of the planks are not lined up row to row (which can weaken the floor and create a too-uniform look).

6. The last plank will generally need to be trimmed to fit. To mark the width of the last plank, place a laminate flooring plank directly over the next to last plank, and place another plank on top of that. Slide the top plank to the flooring spacers along the wall and mark the middle plank down the middle with a pencil. This will give you the width of the last plank.  Rip cut the plank along this line and install.

7. Enjoy your new laminate flooring!

Why you should choose laminate flooring for your home

When choosing a flooring for your home it’s important to consider all of the benefits that the floor type can offer. The most reliable and cost effective form of flooring to choose would be laminate flooring.

Laminate flooring is made up of four layers consisting of the backing, core, image and wear layer. The wear layer is made up of wood on a vinyl board followed by the protective layer over the top.

laminate flooring

Kinder to your wallet than solid wood and in some cases, carpets, laminate flooring lasts for a prolonged amount of time, meaning you wouldn’t have to replace it for years. It also offers the ability to retain its colour, even when exposed to sunlight, so if you’re looking for a reliable floor that can be used in rooms with high light exposure, laminate is a strong contender. Laminate also proves to be resistant to stains, impacts and scratches, so would be an ideal choice for families, as well as being best at use in high traffic areas such as hallways and or kitchens.

Because of its lower price, laminate flooring is also very simple to install. With its tongue and groove click system there isn’t any need for added extras, as laminate flooring floats, meaning it doesn’t need to be glued or nailed down. Because of this, your floor could be installed in a considerably shorter time than other wood flooring, allowing you to focus on other tasks on your to-do list. Continue reading

From Mundane to Insane – Amazing Furniture from Film & TV

When is a basic brown couch not so basic? The answer is easy: when it becomes part of the set of a film or television series, of course! But we aren’t just giving you a bunch of brown couches to ooh and ahh over. From the War Room Table to a chair that could set you back $30,000 for a replica, there are plenty of interesting furniture choices to check out. If you’re renovating a living room or an office, you never know — your inner film buff could be leading you to a whole new look! Check out this cool infographic compiled by Oldrids

Iconic furniture in Film and TV (2)

Add Beauty To Your Home With French Furniture

You want your home to look beautiful. You also want your space to have a classic and elegant look.

Many people have an idea of what they want when it comes to the look of their furniture, but they don’t really know what types of furniture will help them to achieve that look.

Perhaps the best way to elevate the look of your home is to add French furniture. This type of furniture has a unique style that you just can’t find anywhere else, and it is able to transform just about any room of the house. If you are looking to add something to your bedroom, the French bed is the perfect option.

French bed

These beds are comfortable and unmistakable when you see them. Another option that you might want for your bedroom is a chaise lounge. If you have a large enough room, you could have the French bed and the chaise lounge in the same space.

For those who have smaller bedrooms, this will look cluttered. Always maximize the potential of the space no matter what type of furniture you are choosing.

You might want to add a few other pieces of French furniture as well. An armoire is a wonderful addition to any bedroom. If you want to give the impression that the space is larger than it is, consider adding a mirror. You don’t have to stop there either, in fact we love French Furniture so much that we would even recommend adding it to all the other rooms in the house – ok maybe that is one step to far but you get the point… we love French furniture.

You do have to be careful though when you are choosing your bedroom and living room furniture as you are going to be spending a lot of time in these rooms, so it has to be right for you and for the space that you have.

A lot of people don’t know that there are also many different sub-styles of furniture that exist, and you should always choose styles that are complimentary to one another and from the same period.

For example: Baroque furniture and Neo-Classical furniture have a very different look, and they probably aren’t going to look great together! You should therefore choose one of the sub-styles that appeals to you and then choose the rest of your furniture from there.

Many different contemporary options are available as well. Finding the right French furniture for your home is easier than ever today. Even if you don’t have a large furniture store in your area, you will be able to get all of the information you need from the web. You can find stores online that have pictures of the different styles of furniture so you can get a true sense of what they look like. French furniture can add that needed “something” for your home. Check out some of the fantastic French Furniture on Mustard Monkey and let us know what you like!


Isn’t it about time you started enjoying your conservatory again?

After several years, the conservatory often becomes a neglected room in the house, a glassed-off area where the kids used to play. Perhaps it has even become a second storage area, rather than a room where you can relax in the sun.

So what can you do to reclaim your conservatory as a room to enjoy?

Give it a clean

With so much glass, the walls and roof of your conservatory will get dirty quite quickly. Not only does this grime look unsightly, but it also impairs the flow of sunlight into the room.

conservatory cleaning

Get your local window cleaner to give your conservatory a good scrub twice a year to remove the dirt. This simple and cost-effective fix will immediately improve the look and feel of your conservatory. So much so, you will naturally want to spend more time in there.

Get some blinds fitted

Occasionally the sun is just too bright, particularly in the summer months. The glare and heat can turn your conservatory into an uncomfortable greenhouse – certainly not somewhere you want to spend an extended period of time.

pleated blinds

The answer may be to have some pleated blinds fitted from Thomas Sanderson. Conservatory blinds can be carefully adjusted to minimise glare so that you get the right amount of light and heat to keep the room comfortable. And if you’re comfortable, you’re more likely to enjoy your conservatory. Pleated conservatory blinds are also a relatively inexpensive investment that will improve the overall appearance of your conservatory.

Add a mirror or two

If your conservatory feels small and cramped, try adding a mirror or two to the back wall. You should find that by reflecting more light through the structure, you also create the impression of a larger room.

modern mirrors

Even if you don’t actually gain any more physical space, the illusion should make your conservatory a more pleasant place in which to relax. If you are looking to create a more enjoyable environment inside your conservatory, mirrors are a quick and affordable improvement that can be completed within minutes.

Upgrade your glazing

Your conservatory is bound to be warm and comfortable in summer, but what about during the winter when sunshine is much weaker? The type of glazing fitted and your conservatory blinds could have a significant impact on the temperature of the room. It could also be increasing your heating costs over the winter.

You could improve the conditions inside your conservatory by upgrading your current glazing to a newer, more efficient design. Obviously this is costly, but it may add additional value to your conservatory as well as cutting your household bills.

Add a plant

It may sound strange, but adding houseplants not only makes your conservatory look better, but it may also help improve your own wellbeing. According to studies by the University of Michigan, plants help create a calmer atmosphere that improves memory performance and attention span.

With a few potted plants, your conservatory becomes more enjoyable and lower your stress levels. A great value investment!

Making your conservatory a room you enjoy spending time is again could actually be a lot simpler than you thought. And then you know you have the perfect place to relax as the summer sun enters the panes of glass, and you can enjoy a nice glass of wine and listen to the bird song of an evening.

Entertaining guests becomes a whole lot easier when you make the most of your conservatory, even if the weather turns a bit grey, you can bring the party inside, safe in the knowledge you can take shelter in the conservatory, without having to disrupt the pleasure of enjoying the company of your friends and family.

So make sure you make the most of your conservatory this year.

Why Yes, You Can Find Bedroom Furniture and Dining Room Furniture In the Same Place – For a Lot Less Than You Think!

There used to be a time where you had to buy all of your furniture separately. There was no such thing as buying bedroom furniture and dining room furniture together, but things are changing in the face of the Internet. As we start becoming more and more of a digital culture, the time comes for certain purchases to go digital as well.

It’s easier than you think to order the furniture you need for your home. Whether you’re thinking about buying your first set of furniture of you’re thinking about replacing a set of furniture that’s seen better days, you can always start by going online.

Why is the Internet considered the place to be when home furnishings are concerned? It’s simple — you save a lot of money, and you end up getting everything you need delivered right to your door. That’s a bit of a different experience than having to go all the way out to the furniture store, spending gas, money, and time in the process. Once you arrive you have to try to figure out what you want, and then you might not even get the exact style you saw in the brochure because they’re out of stock in the store! That means that you will have to go all the way back home and wait until they have that item in stock again. While some stores offer free delivery, it’s not always there when you need it.

The online experience is a lot different — your bedroom furniture from shop4furniture will come to your door, and you can place it anywhere you want. Some deliver services will even unpack and install it in your bedroom for you, which is a nice touch.

You don’t have to worry about your dining room furniture getting damaged in the process of arrival. If it does indeed arrive damaged, all you have to do is refuse the delivery. The company you choose will be more than happy to send out some more furniture, without you having to even worry about a thing.

That type of worry-free shopping is just waiting for you online. No matter when you’re thinking about picking up furniture, the time is definitely now to get started today — with these types of benefits waiting for you, why would you want to waste another moment?

Savings and investment tips for home improvements

What is it that makes your house a home? Most people would agree it’s the furniture, decoration, pictures, children’s paintings and the odds and ends that fill every room giving each one character and warmth.

We build up these possessions and memories over years and as a result we have no real idea of the cost. Plus, some things such as photographs, your child’s first drawing and your great grandmother’s dresser are irreplaceable and invaluable.

So, how do you go about replacing furniture if you want to redecorate your house and buy everything in one go? You can borrow the money, but who really wants to take on more debt in the current economy?

The other option is to do it the good old fashion way, save up for it. Although the Bank of England’s base interest rate remains at 0.5%, there are still some decent savings accounts and investment opportunities on the market. Santander savings and investments are some of the best on the market at the moment. So much so they have just won the title of Personal Finance Provider of the Year at the 2011 Moneyfacts awards.

If your saving plans are small scale, a simple online instant access savings account is probably your best option. Currently you can get 3.10% gross AER on your savings with Santander’s instant access eSaver, plus you can open the account with just £1.

If you are looking for a more long-term investment and a better rate of return then a fixed-rate bond is a better bet. Again with Santander you can start saving just £1 but if you are willing to lock £25,000 away for two years you can get a rather appealing gross AER of 3.8%. Continue reading

How To Install Ready Made Curtains

The average person moves a few times throughout their lifetime. While change is exciting, moving can be frustrating. Each new home has different measurements and quirks than the previous home. It is rare to find a home with the same window measurements as the last home. Buying custom made curtains for each home is expensive and wasteful. It is often that people end up with several curtains that they are unable to use because they do fit on their current windows. It is hard to justify giving or throwing the curtains away if they were expensive to purchase.

Ready Made Curtains are available at many retail stores for a fraction of the cost of custom-made curtains. Stores that sell custom-made curtains might have Ready Made Curtains available. Even if the store doesn’t advertise selling them, it is worth it to take a few minutes to ask. Online stores and popular retail stores have them as well. These curtains are simple and easy to install in a home.

Decide what colour the curtains should be. Curtains are an easy way to give a room a makeover for an inexpensive cost. Pick a colour that goes with the room’s colour theme. The curtains should flow with the room. Try to draw out colours that are already in the room details.

Before purchasing the curtains, measure the windows in the home. Measure the length, depth and the width of all the windows. Write the measurements down on a piece of paper to take to the store. At the store, ask a salesperson for recommendations of the best energy-efficient curtains. After purchasing the Ready Made Curtains, make sure to purchase any additional hardware needed to install the curtains. It is worth it to make the investment in purchasing good quality curtain rods rather than the cheaper ones. There is not much of a difference in the price between the rods. A good quality curtain rod adds an elegant look to a room quickly. Follow the instructions for installing the curtain rods. After installing the curtain rods properly, take a step back and look to make sure that the curtain rods are installed evenly. Hang the curtains as the directions state. Depending on the type of curtains purchased, they might have to hand with hooks or directly on the rod.

After the Ready Made Curtains are installed, look at the curtains from different angles. If they are satisfactory, enjoy looking at them. If they are unsatisfactory to the eyes, return them to the store for a different set. Many curtains come with a warranty. If the curtains that were purchased came with one, make sure to fill out the personal information and send it to the company. An added benefit to provide personal information to the company is that they will send recall information in the event of a recall.

Ready Made Curtains are an easy way to update a room’s look. They are often very inexpensive to purchase. The curtains can be changed often to give the room a different look. The options are limitless.