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Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

Posted by Clueless (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 9, 05 at 22:57

I just got a quote for $8,000 to put 900 s.f. of Mannington Adura Luxury Tile in my house, which includes the tile, installation, removal of 700 s.f. of carpet, 2 layers of 150 s.f. vinyl floorcovering (no asbestos), and a 50 s.f. area of ceramic tile.

My brother says that's a ridiculous price for something so simple to do myself since I don't have extra money to throw away.

Bro says to install real ceramic tile myself, and forget about the Adura.

Note: He lives 1,500 miles away and won't be around to help me if I get in a jam.

I have never done any DIY work before. Bro says to get a video from the library and "any idiot can do it".

Is this true or am I likely to be making a big mistake installing the tile myself?

Thanks for your advice!

Any Idiot


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

Tiling is do-able yourself. Definitely you should check out the John Bridge Tile forum, often recommended over on the bathrooms forum. It has the best advice about DIY tile and is a site devoted to just that. Below is a link :)

Here is a link that might be useful: http://johnbridge.com/vbulletin/index.php


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

It's doable, but, it's a pretty big job. Since you have no DIY experience, I can think of a variety of ways you could innocently screw it up, and not realize until afterwards. Like many projects, preparation of the surface is the most important thing. After you remove all of the old materials, would you be a good judge of whether the floor was in adequate shape to handle tiles? How would you level it if it was at different heights or had high/low spots? Would you know how to firmly affix the right kind of underlayment? Are you meticulous enough to make precise cuts in the tile, and would you have any problems learning how to use a tile-cutting saw? Could you judge whether you were putting down adhesive or thin set mortar in the right amount? How would you handle removing molding, and reinstalling it after the tile is in?

Believe it or not, I'm not trying to discourage you. I applaud anyone who does stuff like this. I just am nervous that someone with a screen name of "Clueless" would tackle this as his first DIY project. If you have a friend who is handy, it would probably be good to get a little help. This ain't rocket science, but it does require attention to detail and some intuition about whether things are going well. You can definitely save big bucks on this, but you can also screw it up and not find out until months later when the tiles started coming loose. I do think it's a good idea to read a book on this. Sunset, Ortho, and Taunton all put out great paperback books on this subject: they're clear and have many illustrations that can walk you through it, acquaint you with all the steps, and increase your confidence (or help you determine that it's too much for you). You can often find these books at Home Depot-type stores as well as regular bookstores. Or, just do a Google search or Amazon search.

Good Luck.


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

Really good advice in the two before this.

Read one---or two---of the books as recommended. That will give you an idea of how difficult the job will be. You can rent a wet saw----or buy one of the $100 models at HD/Lowe's for the job.

Adding support flooring is a good idea---but that can often raise the new floor above the adjoining floors. There are ways to transition that situation, but it is a really good idea to know what is needed before starting the job.

Planning is as important than doing it.


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

This is definitely doable, but honestly speaking, for the work you entailed, it's actually a VERY good price. I have a feeling once you get started taking up the vinyl, you'll be agreeing with me. :-) There'll be alot of "sweat equity" in that floor. :-)


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

I agree with all the above. Bro is far away and it is easy to offer advice from that distance. The price sounds fair to me and 900 sq ft is a LOT of tile. So is 8 grand but that is pretty cheap if you have to do it over. Estimate the time for all the demo, purchasing tools & material, trash removal,, clean up, prep time, including installation of proper base and then tile, and don't forget reading up on "how to". Now double that time just to make sure. Suppose you get into it and decide you no longer have time or the desire, and Bro can't come to help out, then what? It is probably going to cost more than 8 grand now to get someone to finish the job. Wow, see it gets cheaper as you go. If it were a small area you might try it, but 900 sq. ft., you will have a full time job for a long time. Just my thoughts. Good luck with your decision.


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

Lowes and Home Depot, and probably others, offer "classes" for tiling. If you are half as smart as the average bear, you'll probably like it when finished.


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

I took the tile class at Home Depot before trying my first tile project. It came out alright, but there is a slight learning curve to it. The floor prep is definitely the most labor intensive part. Backboard is not easy stuff to work with. It kind of comes down to how much work you want to take on versus paying someone else to do it. $8000 does seem extremely high. Maybe someone will come in with a better price.


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

Way to big a job for a beginner. Go get yourself a part time job delivering pizzas or newspaper or something and once the 8k is saved up pay someone to do it, go with your strengths everyone is not cut out for tilework your crib will be a distater area for weeks or longer if you attempt this project and results will probably not be pleasing to you since you will know every mistake that was made and it will look awful to you, where if someone else did it the flaws will be hardly noticeable and easily overlooked. If you have the cash avaliable just have it done, why punish yourself? Next time you talk to bro tell him that money is not as important to you as your free time and happiness, besides you cannot take it with you right? I would think that anyone considering spending 8k on a floor has plenty of disposable income anyway right? I have a neighbor that is starting a interior painting project it is about a 2000 sg ft home the painting company bid $6,500.00 she said it was a good deal and I am sure it is to her since she has money flowing out her ears I told her that sounded excellent to me, they start tommorrow.


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

My brother is a high-end builder, and he thinks it's nuts for me to pay anyone to lay flooring in my house. He laid floors in his own house way back when he was a single firefighter, so he doesn't realize how much 4 kids and a large dog can interfere with my work.

After reading all this, I think I'd better get some quotes from other installers. The area to be covered is our entire downstairs, except for the bathroom and play room. The floor has to be installed quickly so so we can use it.

We are not made of money. That's why I wanted to know how hard it would be to do it myself. I think I could do it if I had a place to stash the kids and dog for awhile, but I don't.

I'm going to call around for some quotes tomorrow from installers. It may be cheaper to pay an independent installer and buy the flooring from ifloors.com or fastfloors.com, if I go back to my original plan to install Mannington Adura Tile (which is what I got the quote for).

I appreciate all of your advice. I'll take it when I get around to retiling our bathrooms. At least we have 2 of those so having a tiny bathroom out of commission won't impact our family for very long.

Thank you!

Clueless (chose the nick for a good reason!)


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

DO YOURSELVES A FAVOR-- DO NOT TAKE THE CLASSES AT LOWES AND HD FOR TILE!!!!! I've sat in on those classes, and offered my cards afterward with John Bridge's and floorstransformed's websites written on the back so they could get the CORRECT information!! Those classes are so full of misinformation it's almost criminal!!

Lowes and HD are great if you know what you want for materials. But if you're looking for imfo, they're the LAST place you want to go.


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

Get at least three total quotes, them compare and see where $8K falls.

Never having done tile myself, I can't say how hard it is, but 900 s. f. is a big job to do as your first DIY project. You would REALLY notice if at the end you had an unintentional zigzag pattern. There are other things like ensuring the sub-floor is perfectly level (not as big an issue with carpet), I believe if it isn't it can cause the tiles to crack (someone can check me on that). You might have to put down new plywood underlayment or use leveling compound to fix it if there are issues.

Some other ideas is perhaps you could tackle the demo yourself and leave the install for a pro. Or you could hire a handyman to work with you on the project. You could save some $$ and still have DIY satisfaction in the project.


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

Considering that the $8,000 quote includes the new materials, removal of the old materials, and all the labor, that's a tough price to beat! The math works out to about $8.89 per square foot. It's not too hard to spend that much on new flooring materials alone.

Laying flooring is certainly not all that complicated - but it is pretty difficult work. Consider carefully all the wear and tear on your wrists, ankles, knees, and back before you decide to DIY this job. Plus, do you have the necessary specialized tools that will make the job come out the way you want it to? Stuff like trowels, buckets, tile nippers, rub stones, and a wet saw all cost money - and you will probably use them only once.

I have done plenty of DIY flooring in both hardwood and ceramic tile. I would likely hire out the next one - it just takes too much time and effort as a homeowner working on the project nights and weekends. I am both cheap and stuborn, but a man must know his limitations... ;^)

Good luck,

Dwight


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

Bill

You're too funny--talking about getting info from HD or Loews...has anyone ever found someone to ASK for info? All I ever get is, "I'll try to find someone from that dept for you" and I think that person shows up when I finally leave.

Clueless: Dh and I are redoing the laundry room floor. We started the holiday weekend. We may have it done in another week or so. It's 6x9 and all we're doing is replacing rotting underlayment and replacing it and putting on sheet vinyl. If we had kids and a dog??? We'd be nuts by now. We're reasonably handy but as DH says, not as agile as we used to be (he turns 50 next week, I'll be 46).

Robin


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

Bill

You're too funny--talking about getting info from HD or Loews...has anyone ever found someone to ASK for info? All I ever get is, "I'll try to find someone from that dept for you" and I think that person shows up when I finally leave.

Clueless: Dh and I are redoing the laundry room floor. We started the holiday weekend. We may have it done in another week or so. It's 6x9 and all we're doing is replacing rotting underlayment and replacing it and putting on sheet vinyl. If we had kids and a dog??? We'd be nuts by now. We're reasonably handy but as DH says, not as agile as we used to be (he turns 50 next week, I'll be 46).

Robin


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

Bill

You're too funny--talking about getting info from HD or Loews...has anyone ever found someone to ASK for info? All I ever get is, "I'll try to find someone from that dept for you" and I think that person shows up when I finally leave.

Clueless: Dh and I are redoing the laundry room floor. We started the holiday weekend. We may have it done in another week or so. It's 6x9 and all we're doing is replacing rotting underlayment and replacing it and putting on sheet vinyl. If we had kids and a dog??? We'd be nuts by now. We're reasonably handy but as DH says, not as agile as we used to be (he turns 50 next week, I'll be 46).

Robin


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

Bill

You're too funny--talking about getting info from HD or Loews...has anyone ever found someone to ASK for info? All I ever get is, "I'll try to find someone from that dept for you" and I think that person shows up when I finally leave.

Clueless: Dh and I are redoing the laundry room floor. We started the holiday weekend. We may have it done in another week or so. It's 6x9 and all we're doing is replacing rotting underlayment and replacing it and putting on sheet vinyl. If we had kids and a dog??? We'd be nuts by now. We're reasonably handy but as DH says, not as agile as we used to be (he turns 50 next week, I'll be 46).

Robin


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

Is that "Mannington Adura Tile" a vinyl floor ?


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

Believe me, Robyn-- you're one of the lucky ones. I helped my brother in law do his kitchen, dining room, and front entry, over the phone. Seriously!! I spent about 2 1/2 hours on the phone with him (I'm in Maine, and he's in Utah), with him on speaker phone, laying it all out with him, and then giving him a shopping list of what to pick up for setting materials and grout. I then sent him on his way. Six months later, I get a phone call, thanking me for helping him, but that something must've gone wrong, because he has two cracked tiles, and the grout is beginning to crack out all over the floor. SO I went through everything with him. I asked him to double check the joisting while I was on the phone. We plugged the values into John Bridge's "deflectolator", and he came up fine with room to spare. I then asked him about the subfloor. THAT should've been fine. I then asked him about the thinset. I'd been very specific about the thinset he should use, being that this tile was being bonded directly to plywood (something I don't recommend to anyone not familiar with the method, but one that I'm VERY comfortable with). He told me that he didn't remember the name of what he used, but he still had some left down in the basement, that he'd go down and read the name off the side of the PAIL!! Some moron ass/ociate, when he went to Home Depot, told him he didn't need to be spending 35.00 a unit for thinset and additive, that he could use premixed thinset for alot less money-- that it was the newest and greatest thing-- that ALL the good pros are using it!! I told him stop right there. That's your problem!! SIX MONTHS AFTER INSTALLATION, THAT CRAP WAS STILL SOFT!! And this is only one horror story I've seen as a result of people getting info there. The problem is that HD and Lowes have such a high turnover rate that it isn't worth it to them to train these people, and the only training they get is what the sales reps from the manufacturers tell them. Most of them, their prior job entailed asking if you wanted your order supersized!! I DO have to say, though, not ALL of them are like that. There are a few who take their position seriously. One of them gives out accurate advice in one of the other forums I go into, as well as John Bridge's site. But by and large, most of them have no idea what they're talking about. They have just enough knowledge to be dangerous and sound like they know what they're talking about, even though they don't have a clue.


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

I have a neigbhor next to me who started a DIY tiling job - a little less then yours (maybe 500 sq ft). My neigbhor needed surgery on the arm after all the hard labor. Keep that in mind. Also that will be alot of weekends gone - time not spent with your family, etc. It's alot of work and you need to keep the health risks in mind here.


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

I have a neigbhor next to me who started a DIY tiling job - a little less then yours (maybe 500 sq ft). My neigbhor needed surgery on the arm after all the hard labor. Keep that in mind. Also that will be alot of weekends gone - time not spent with your family, etc. It's alot of work and you need to keep the health risks in mind here.


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

I have a neigbhor next to me who started a DIY tiling job - a little less then yours (maybe 500 sq ft). My neigbhor needed surgery on the arm after all the hard labor. Keep that in mind. Also that will be alot of weekends gone - time not spent with your family, etc. It's alot of work and you need to keep the health risks in mind here.


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

mslayer

Glad to see it's not just me repeating myself

Bill: yeah, I'm a little worried that HD sells some other brand of adhesive and we're putting in an Armstrong vinyl floor. I felt better about getting it at Lowes but they didn't have the style floor I liked.

Robin


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

Buy from a reputable flooring retailer who has been in business for at least five years and you will likely not have the problems you find when purchasing these items at the big boxes. And, the flooring store may actually have people working there who know what they're talking about.


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

Hi, I just wanted to add one thing to help save money that I hadn't seen-do the demolition yourself!

Leave the skilled labor stuff to the professionals, but get it ready for them-you'll save some money, and there's very little skill involved in pulling up the old flooring.

We redid the second floor of our last house, and my job was to pull up 1000 sq feet of gross old stained carpet and pad. It took me about 3 days, but I did it all my girly skinny self.

My husband the engineer then carefully and beautifully added an additional subfloor (note to self: rent nail gun next time) and a beautiful laminate (note to self: hate how laminate feels, next time hardwood).

If he had had to do the demo and I had to do the install, it would have been a disaster, but my skills definitely run towards destruction and his toward creation, so it worked well.

Our new house has a one car garage that needs to come down, so for Valentine's day I asked for a reciprocating saw! He says he's going to make me stick with a sledgehammer; it's safer...


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

I'd love to see an answer to the original question of the difficulty/ease of installing Mannington Adura products. They are vinyl, not tile, and are actually beautiful!!

I'm a fairly accomplished diy-er, and I too want to find out details about the installation of Mannington Adura Country Oak Planks (they are a glue-down product). My dh and I are building a house and are doing most of the floors ourselves. What's involved in doing that, and is it withing the reach of a semi-skilled DIYer? :o)


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

Katypuddle,

Can't tell you much about the Adura product, but I can tell you that doing the floors yourself is something that can be done...if you are in reasonably good health, you can read and follow all installation instructions to the letter and you take the necessary time to do the job right from the start.

Having access to all the tools to do floor work also helps!


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

We built a new house and were sold on the Mannington Adura luxury plank floor as being one of the best on the market. It is supposedly treated with scratch resist technology. We moved into the house in September, 2006. It's just my husband and me and we are very, very particular about the care of the house. Unfortunately, we have found that the Mannington Adura floor scratches more easily than anything we have ever seen. We thought we protected the floor against everything by putting sliders on all furniture legs, always taking shoes off at the door, etc. But the floor still is already very scratched up in the dining area. Considering that we rarely use the dining table and the house is only 5 months old, we are extremely disgusted with the Mannington Adura product and do not have one good thing to say about it's durability


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

My brother and I isntalled tile in my house as a DIY project, 3 bathrooms, a lobby and a kitchen all together about 1200 sq feet of tile. You can do it yourself if you are really careful about details, its also very strenous work, back, arms, legs, neck, wrists will all be in pain for at least a week heh. I'm really proud of the work though so it made the effort all worth it. Saved A LOT of money as well, the estimate for the kitchen alone for me was in the mid 4k's and we did the entire kitchen ourselves for about 800 and that included everything, materials and all. We had hardwood subflooring and we just put down mortar on it and screwed down hardibacker on top of it and then put more mortar on top of that stuck the tiles in and then grouted. The floor is now over two years old and still in mint condition. It can be done with some elbow grease, patience, and dedication. If you have an eye for quality then you will be more than happy with the results, we had a plumber guy show up and tell us the flooring looked professionally installed. :)

Also make sure you buy the right mortar, we just bought the strongest one Lowes had, it was flexforce something thinset. You just mix it with water.

Good luck.


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

My contractor charges $7/sq foot to lay tile, more for hexagonal small tile. He uses xactimate -- some kind of project estimating software. Now, if you take that number into consideration, you are getting the materials and demo for $1.89/sq foot. That's a bargain! Bill, you don't have to give exact numbers, but what is the range in price you charge to lay tile, may I ask?

Kim


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

I do all my own tile work, my husband and I laid 1200 sq ft of full thickness hardwood together. IMO tile is easier than hardwood, but both are fine for DIY projects. Just read up on it, take your time and remember its the prep and the layout that are critical to achieving a good result. Laying vinyl tile is very easy, I can't see a reason to pay anyone to do it.


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

I am in Bay Area. I have about 100 square feet of area in my laundary needs to be tiled. The quotes I have received from various tile subs are from $2500 to $3000 not including materail. No fancy pattern. My husband is doing the trim work around the windows, so he doesn't have the time to do tile work. I wish I could do it, but don't know how. I am still looking to find more reasonable quotes, but not sure if it is possible. I have gotten six quotes so far.


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RE: Should I save $$ by replacing floor myself?

I am in Bay Area. I have about 100 square feet of area in my laundary needs to be tiled. The quotes I have received from various tile subs are from $2500 to $3000 not including materail. No fancy pattern. My husband is doing the trim work around the windows, so he doesn't have the time to do tile work. I wish I could do it, but don't know how. I am still looking to find more reasonable quotes, but not sure if it is possible. I have gotten six quotes so far.


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