Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Reflooring Partay! Installing Trafficmaster Allure Ultra Planking


What's under your carpet?
Oct 2012 
Jan 2013 
May 2013
Nov 2013 - Quick update here

August 2014.  Floor still going strong.  Will update later in the fall with more photos and document any scuffing or damage after two tenancies.

This blog post recounts my personal experience removing my old carpeting and installing Allure Ultra Planking. I discuss our thought process, our installation tools and tricks, and I review Allure Ultra planking.  (The sticky Allure is not the click-lock Allure Ultra that I review here.)

If you have remaining questions, your own review, or proud photos to share, please post a comment below!  Other kind blog visitors have also provided their tips and tricks in the comments as well.
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So with allergies, sleep quality issues and indoor air cleanliness that likely matched the level of LA smog, judging from the state of my apartment air filter just 24 hours after switching to a fresh one (white->brown), I felt compelled to attempt a major home and health improvement task: ripping out who-knows-how-old carpet and putting down new flooring.

Requirements:
  • Internet research 
  • Big girly sunglasses, or preferably, real safety goggles
  • gloves
  • packing/duct tape
  • broom/vacuum cleaner
  • trash bags
  • big crowbar and/or prybars (prybar is too a word!)
  • pliers
  • scissors
  • boxcutters/utility knives
  • ruler
  • marker
  • radio
Key requirements: 
  • Trafficmaster Allure Ultra Vinyl Planking, in Clear Cherry, from Home Depot.  
  • $3 rubber mallet
  • Help, in the form of bf and a cavalry of friends
  • PIZZA AND BEER
My studio is a small place, with let's say 400 sq ft of carpeting that needed to be taken up, not counting areas already floored with vinyl sheeting or tile.  Still, it wasn't going to be a piece of cake.

Maybe a very old tough piece of shepherd's pie...

Lucky for me, I had the internet, bf and friends to help me on this quest, which I had not quite dared to tackle on my own, though I had certainly daydreamed about it in the past.


Below the carpet, which likely contained years of past tenant debris and cat dander mixed with dust mite cityscapes, there was wooden parquet flooring, likely of questionable quality.  The good folks who had originally laid down this carpeting had done a somewhat sloppy job of it, barely tacking down the carpet edges or the foam carpet pad beneath.  This of course held the promise of an easier time removing everything.

Allure Ultra plank, from Home Depot.
Internet research and forum-lurking led me to choose Home Depot's Trafficmaster Allure Ultra vinyl planking as my new floor of choice.  No, it's not the cheapest; no, it's not the one with the most positive reviews; and no, I don't work for Home Depot.

Pros: claim of waterproofness, toughness, and the comparative ease with which planks could be cut and snapped to length with a utility knife during the flooring process, compared to the need for a saw to work with wood laminate.  Does a decent job of looking like wood.  It would be a floating floor laid directly over the existing wooden parquet; probably as easy as reflooring gets.
Potential Cons: ability of the pieces to "snap" together as easily and tightly as Home Depot claimed on their fancy Youtube demo video, and if the floor beneath the carpet would be flat enough to work with their locking mechanism.  If they really were as scratch and scrape resistant as they claim to be.  Also rather pricey.

The boxes of Trafficmaster Allure Ultra were heavy puppies and 18 of them gave me and the bf quite some exercise lugging them from store to car, then car to apartment complex door, and then down two flights of stairs.  Definitely not a task for the weak, nor for the weak of heart.

After much effort moving most my furniture and things out of the space in question, removing the carpeting was quite simple on the day of the Flooring Partay.  Somewhat laborious, but simple.  Pliers and gloves, teasing and ripping up the edges of the carpet from the wooden tack strips below, then cutting the carpeting into narrow strips that could be rolled up, taped up, and hauled outside, piece by piece.  One will be surprised how heavy a seemingly little strip of carpet becomes once it's rolled up.  Quite a few ugly stains showed through to the back of several pieces.

Steam cleaning: not so penetrative after all.
Much hair and dust and dirt and sand--so much sand--was found after the carpet pad underneath was rolled away.  That, and two large rusty razor blades.  Livin' life on the edge of tetanus!

Ramen box full of tack strips.  Also note the large, manly crowbar.
The floor beneath was stained in some places, with evidence of past water damage.  After a good vacuum, it appeared none of the wood pieces had buckled or warped, so the hope was the floor would be flat enough to lay the Allure Ultra planks on top.  By then, friends had arrived, along with pizza, and the tedious and slightly dangerous task of pulling all the tack strips, nails and staples out of the parquet wood floor commenced.

Sand.  And a hole in the wall.  Thanks, lazy baseboard installer.
Let me tell you, the difference in time and annoyance-level between two people with crowbars and pliers removing nails and staples, and five people with crowbars and pliers removing nails and staples, is huge.  HUGE, I tell you.  Even with the added task of prying old quarter-round molding off all the baseboards, this seemed to take almost no time at all with enough friendpower at work.

Plus, it was fun to see folks going a little crazy with a crowbar.

Good, healthy violence.

After de-nailing and de-stapling, another good vacuum was in order.  Decided not to bother mopping, and we went on to figuring out how to work the Allure Ultra flooring.  It seemed simple enough; all four sides of the long vinyl planks had either a gray rubber groove or a lip.  Notch one into the other tightly and it forms (so they claim) a waterproof seal between adjoining planks, and you move on to the next one.  The black undersurface of each plank has white arrows keeping you oriented to where the next plank should be connected (always add new pieces to the right side).

Problem is, multiple DIYers have reported difficulty fitting planks snugly together, and it did take some trial and error for us to figure out the best and most efficient way to lay the floor.  The Home Depot community offers this invaluable snapshot of two planks being adjoined here (top figure).  (Or rather it did: the top photo here is a good approximation.)  Keeping that angle while you get the planks as close together as possible is all-important, because pure horizontal or vertical force when the plank is not angled won't get you the tight seam you want.
A not-quite-there-yet seam between two planks.  The thin black crevice can be removed by lifting the bottom edge of the new plank up at an angle and gently tapping that edge with a rubber mallet until the gap is gone, and then setting the plank down flat.  A few gentle hammers on the seam afterwards doesn't hurt, either.
A good, tight seam between two planks, both on the long and short edges.  No gray seams, no thin black crevices.  Good job, guys!
11-04-13 edit: note about the mallet/hammer.  Unlike what some people seem to have assumed, we did not force the planks together by "hammering" them into each other.  If you've handled these planks before, you'll know this is pretty much impossible given the delicate but rigid rubber locking mechanism.  Our small rubber mallet was used to essentially tap the tongue of one plank deep enough into the groove of the other so that tight seams could be achieved once the plank was laid down flat (from the other side of the plank).  Again, this GENTLE tapping on the edge you are holding must be done only while the plank being added is held at about a 45 degree angle above the ground.  Gently tap along the free edge until you no longer see any gap, then lay that plank (or row of planks) down flat.  We found that if we skipped out on tapping each plank deeply into the groove, they almost always showed either a thin black or large gray gap.

We also discovered that the fastest way to lay if you happen to have an assembly line of people (or even if you don't) is to piece together whole rows first -- varying the length of each first piece, to keep things staggered -- and then, with one person holding each of the short seams to keep the row together, connect the entire new row up into the existing floor, everyone again keeping that angle in order to shove the new row's long edges tightly into the grooves of the existing floor, using the mallet to tap things in tight, before everyone lays their part of the row down flat.
Human weight holding the virgin floor in place; new box of planks being opened; an end row piece being measured so it can be scored/snapped to length.
For DIYers: If you can do this WHOLE ROW METHOD, please save yourself time and do not attempt to install plank by plank.  It will take FOREVER and you will fiddle FOREVER with the problem of 90 degree angle seams.  Don't know what I mean?  Imagine laying down planks lengthwise, starting from the left corner of a room, and adding new planks towards the right side of the room.  The first row of flooring is a breeze since there are only short ends to connect, which are really easy to join tightly.  Then, the 1st plank of the 2nd row is easy, because there is only one long edge to connect, though I'd recommend using the mallet to gently tap them together tightly as you hold the new plank at an angle, then lay it down flat.

The problem starts at the 2nd plank of row 2.  You have both a short and a long edge to fit tightly, and this is where things get stupid.  If you fit the short end first, you have to lift both planks of the 2nd row in order to get the long edge of plank 2 in tight.  It's even more annoying if you try to fit the long edge first.  The problem stems from each new plank edge needing to be installed at an angle, which is the key to getting the tight seam.  Having seams at 90 degrees that both require angling makes for much frustration and probably very loose seams, resulting in some people's floors coming apart. 

TL;DR?  Use our awesome whole row installation method.  You'll thank us later.  

8-17-2014 Update from comments: 
  1. Laurie reports that just 2 people can do the Whole Row method, and that a flooring installation kit from either Lowes or Home depot was very helpful.   
  2. A (very hale) gentleman reported that he was able to work plank by plank, by having someone stand in the middle of the last plank that was laid, so that he could manhandle the individual edges that needed to be angled.  He provides some nice photos of two transitions as well.
Check out our Whole Row InstallationTM method.  And some ghetto cardboard spacers!

The sun has left us.  So has most of the pizza.
And so it went.  After we started doing entire rows at once, progress picked up significantly.  Cutting pieces for each row's end took the most time, since the pieces had to be measured to different lengths.  (Use the leftover piece to start a new row.)  We found that it was easy to score and snap planks; get a sturdy metal ruler and just run your utility knife three or so times down the edge where you wish to snap the plank, on the black undersurface.  Then just snap the plank towards the upper surface and it will break cleanly along your scored line.  Doesn't require much strength at all, and your blade doesn't really have to be very sharp.  We didn't change any of our blades for the entire project.

We did discover that when you get to the end of a room, you will likely need a real saw of some sort, in order to narrow your planks.  There is no snapping these things lengthwise, sadly, despite our best efforts.  
Update: you can, in fact, snap these things lengthwise.  It just take some gentle handling, compared to width-wide snapping.  The scoring process remains the same, but you should start with a gentle bend along your score at one end of the plank, then move down the length of your score until you have the entire score mark working towards a real break.  Then you can manhandle the break until the two strips come apart.  If you try to bend too forcefully just along the edge first without "priming" the entire score, you will break off small, irregular pieces.

Also, in case you were wondering, handsaws do cut through these things pretty well.  It just takes much longer and more effort than snapping.  Why do extra work when you don't need to!
Bottom edge of the room, waiting for lengthwise cut planks to finish it off.  Note enthusiastic crowbar scrapes, yeah! 
This is how the Trafficmaster Allure Ultra floor looks, 98% completed the next day.  (Who cares about the edges of rooms anyway.)  Lovely!  There were just a few black crevice gaps here and there, but no gray gaps anywhere, and they're holding together great, even with the return of furniture, and things scraping across the mostly matte surface.  It's pretty tough.  I feel perfectly safe dragging chairs across it, and the few small black scuffs that have appeared vanish like magic with some gentle rubbing with a metal scouring pad and water.
Pretty.

Pretty awesome.
 These planks lay quite smoothly over the old wood floor, and there have been no cheap tic-tac or creaking noises when someone walks over it.  It looks really nice, has been easy to vaccum and sweep, and had only a faintest of faint rubber smells for the first few days (unlike the toxic fumes that some have reported from the old shiny Allure planking with the adhesive strips.  Remember: Trafficmaster Allure is not Trafficmaster Allure Ultra.  The installation methods and even the planking consistency and feel are different.  I much prefer the tougher feel of the Ultra, as opposed to the more easily scratchable Allure).  It's true that these 'click-lock' planks (I didn't hear a single click when installing, though) would look even nicer if Allure had more wood grain designs than it currently does, but eh, who's counting floor patterns?  Now it's time to kick back and plan the floor testing afterpartay.  Gotta use that lifetime residential warranty...

Ken, Yi-Hsiao, Stephen, Eric, Paul, Sam, Roseanne, Cat, Shane, Victory = = da best! 

October 19th, 2012 Update: I am still quite happily living on my Trafficmaster Allure Ultra floor.  So far there has been zero warping of planks and no separation of any planks either.  I do not keep any rugs or carpeting on the planking, as I like the ability to just sweep and mop now.  I still greatly appreciate the muted, solid foot-feel (I wear slippers or walk barefoot around the house) and am glad I went with vinyl every time I step into a place whose pressed wood planking floor makes a hollow "tic-tac" noise and shifts under my weight.

Since I first wrote this blog post, we have spilled soup, beer, had a miniature flood from melted ice from a leaky cooler, and accidentally spilled a fishbowl's worth of fish water on this floor with no serious consequences yet.  I have also dragged chairs and stools back and forth across it, and love that I don't have to worry about scratching it up like with a real wood floor at my old home.  I also park two bikes on one side of my place, and any tire scuffs have cleaned up nicely with the ol' Brillo pad treatment.

So far so great.  I would still highly recommend this flooring.  If you install it correctly, I'm pretty sure anyone would fall in love instantly.  I will update with any other floor-related happenings as time goes on!

Jan 15th, 2013 Update: As a request from a reader, here are more detailed images of an individual plank.  At least for the Clear Cherry, each plank "looks" like two-to-three long lengthwise planks.  It has the illusion of the plank edges created through slight indentations in the upper surface of the vinyl, and the wood "grain" is consistent with the illusion.

The upper surface of each plank is matte with shinier vinyl in the shallow little valleys of the wood "grain" impressions.  You can see my living room light reflecting off the shiner vinyl.  The gray edges peek out from these two edges, and fit underneath a narrow shelf on the neighboring plank to create the tight seams discussed above.



81 comments:

  1. We just bought some of this stuff, and found your blog very helpful. Thanks so much for taking the time to post.

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  2. Nice write-up!
    I'm in the process of installing now, and I was able to break off a lenthwise piece by bending closest to the edge until it creased, and then working my way down the board. Then I would bend the whole length creased piece until it would snap off cleanly.

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  3. Thanks for the comments! I'm glad that our time and efforts might be able to help others! I still love the floor 2 months in, with no signs of things falling apart, warping or getting damaged yet.

    Anonymous, thanks for your note. I'm actually in the process of updating the lengthwise snapping bit, which we also eventually succeeded in doing, precisely as you said.

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  4. Really wish you would have asked pros at The Floor Pro Community for guidance BEFORE you started. We enjoy helping the DIYer do a project like this the right way.

    I'm sure you were trying to be helpful to other DIYers by joining our site and linking to this blog post, but we prefer people get pointed to correct installation procedures and, unfortunately, your project misses that mark on several levels. It is an entertaining read though. And thanks for joining TheFloorPro.com. Don't hesitate to ask us for help on your next project.

    Best R'gards, Jim McClain, owner/admin, The Floor Pro Community

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  5. Thanks Jim, for your comment! What aspects of this procedure are grossly incorrect?

    Having trouble achieving solid, tight seams is one of the top complaints against Allure Ultra planks in all negative reviews, and I think I have explained in sufficient detail the most foolproof way to get tight seams consistently, as well as the most efficient way to lay the planks to get the job done faster. I am just spreading the word as widely as I can, with the hope that anyone with the same questions we had about installing can benefit from our initial mistakes and frustration. Basically, I made sure to detail all the things I wish we had known starting out. These were things I did not find already documented online by the pros, even on the Home Depot forum, or on your forum.

    I think people who visit my blog understand that there are more knowledgeable flooring people out there like you, and I'm sure they will consult people like you for questions that are unique to their room and situation, like how to install around corners, how to install under doorjambs, or how to deal with vent holes, transitions, uneven subflooring, or subflooring that needs work after carpet removal. We had it pretty easy, but I understand that everyone's room has different needs. That's why internet research is #1 on my Requirements list!

    My floor is still holding up as solidly as the day we finished; now 3 months going on 300! That's good enough for me, and if it's not good enough for others, I'm sure they will seek out further advice on your forums.

    Thanks for reading!

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    1. Even though a bit dated your tips are most excellent found on the net ..I am a Google expert :) Really ...Your write up is invaluable Thanks

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  6. Super helpful! And fun to read! I am considering using this product and have been doing my "due diligence" of internet research as well. How has your floor held up over the past 3+ months??? Any gaps opening or other problems???
    My kitchen has sheet vinyl that is lifting in the corners and has other issues, so I worry about putting this floor directly over the existing vinyl. There also seems to be at least 2 layers of masonite subfloor, so I may have to pull up a lot of layers!

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    1. Hi Katharine!

      Sorry for the delay in replying. No gaps opening so far! I do have some of the "not-so-great" edges that have some gray like I pictured above, but none of them have opened up any further, especially since I have heavy furniture on several parts of the flooring now (bed, computer desk, tv stand). I recently had a large party and pushed and pulled tables and chairs around to accommodate people, and the floor was great.

      In short, my flooring is going strong!

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  7. My husband and I came across the vinyl bamboo flooring recently at HD. We were amazed at how much it looks like true bamboo (seriously, place the pieces side by side for comparison), and due to the fact that we want to rip every shred of carpet out of this house permanently, we are looking at all options.

    We love the look (and environmental friendliness) of bamboo, cork, and linoleum, but bamboo and cork both have mixed reviews on toughness (and cork can fade terribly in sunlight). We have vinyl flooring in our kitchen, and love it, though it is far from environmentally friendly.

    Easy care is a top priority. Longevity and fade resistance, second priority. Environmentally friendly, third priority (and hopefully possible).

    As homeowners who have laid wood plank and done our own tile work before, installation of this product probably wouldn't be a problem. However, having read that it's installed as a floating floor might be.

    I swore I'd never install another floating floor in my house. We have a floating wood floor in our family room (which we were convinced to do by a 'professional') and absolutely hate it. The hallway was adhered and has never been a problem.

    So many negative reviews on this product that it's nice to see one in favor. To be honest, I've never seen so many negatives associated with vinyl flooring before. That said, until reading yours, I had no idea that there are two different versions of this flooring, adhesive vs. floating. I imagine that the adhesive would have a residual smell for a time.

    Seriously though? Smell? It's plastic, all vinyl will have a temporary smell associated with it, but that should dissipate within a few days. Indents from furniture? Heavy furniture can leave indents. It's vinyl, not hardwood. However, if furniture is moved, most vinyl products spring back.

    If people are going to buy and install less expensive options in their homes, they can't expect the same quality as they might get with a more expensive option.

    I'm glad you're happy with your flooring choice, and with the ease of installation (more or less ;-)). My only concern with how you finally laid it down is that the pattern might not match up quite the same as it would the other way? However, in the long run, if you're happy with it, that's all that really matters.

    As for HD and their customer service, no comment. lol When we buy anything from HD we do so knowing that we're most likely on our own.

    We discovered years ago when we first started to remodel our home that sometimes it pays to go to a specialty store. When we were ready to install carpeting, we had HD and a flooring company draw up bids. The flooring company was less expensive.

    When it came time to remodel the kitchen, we designed what we wanted, then had HD and a cabinetry company draw up the final plans and write a bid. Believe it or not, the cabinetry company came in $2000 below HD, and we got better cabinetry (and didn't have to argue with them about what we wanted)!

    The big box stores aren't always the best choice, but we live and learn.

    Thanks for your review. Back to doing research.

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    1. Carole, thanks for your response! From what I understand, the Allure (adhesive) often came with a smell that emanated from the vinyl planking itself, and would continue to release strong fumes as long as it is inside the house. I don't think this was typical though. From what I read online, it seemed to be certain batches of the planks.

      The planking patterns for Ultra for the design I selected were somewhat limited to begin with. We didn't have any major problems having repeating patterns right next to each other for the most part. It's just that if you choose to stare carefully, you can see that the same patterns repeat. But honestly, every person that has now been on the floor (including many of the friends who helped to lay it down in the first place) thinks it looks great and has never commented on the patterning. Several friends also thought it was real wood, as the foot-feel is pretty solid.

      Sorry to hear about the bad floating floor experience. I've found that there are many floating wood flooring that maintains gaps between the old and new flooring, and sounds cheap and "tac"ky when you walk over it. I think this stuff minimizes that effect, since the vinyl is a little pliable and also does not transmit echoes when walked over.

      Flooring is still going strong, with many chairs having been pushed and pulled over it now, and many spills that have happened, including a fish-tank overflow. I love not having to worry about the planks buckling or getting damaged when I'm having a clumsy day with gravity.

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  8. Great blog! After dropping $2,000 on this stuff I've been battling buyers remorse and questioning whether another product might not have served me better. You've laid those fears to rest. Thanks! Question: did you use the 3', 2', 1' method? Why are why not? Thanks again!

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    1. Hi David!

      Thanks. Have you started installing yet? Did you try a test region to see how you like it? Home Depot should take returns if you end up not liking it after you test it.

      What procedure are you referring to with that particular methodology?

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  9. None of the photos show up in IE8 or Firefox 14 with Windows 8... I'd love to see the pictures!

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    1. Hi Susanne,

      Sorry the photos aren't working; I'm not sure what the problem may be. Have you tried Chrome? Is imgur.com blocked on your machine? (that's where all my photos are hosted, for ex: http://i.imgur.com/pxF7D.jpg)

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  10. Awesome blog! I've been eyeballing this flooring for a while now. I'm considering installing in in a large portion of my current home, which will eventually become a rental. The toughness and cleanliness of this flooring seems very attractive, given that circumstance.

    I thought your walk through was very helpful, and I wish the critical "TFP Admin" had been more specific about the shortcomings of your installation. It seemed a pretty solid job for a DIYer.

    I do have several questions for you:

    -Are there beveled edges on the perimeter of the planks? It looks like there are multiple "plank patterns" on each actual plank. Is that the case?
    -If so, is there any sort of false beveled edges there(mid-plank) that helps give the illusion that they are actually separate planks?

    Thanks!

    -Jake

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    1. Hi Jake!

      Thanks for the feedback. I also wish Jim from TFP had replied back, as I would loved to have incorporated any further advice from a pro in my blog post.

      If you mean the physical edges, the planks look like they have straight edges as viewed from above, but their gray seam edges stick out to two sides, in order to form the tongue and groove locking mechanism. Those gray seams are covered by the surface of the neighboring planks.

      If you mean the look of the plank, there are two wood-plank patterns per physical vinyl plank. Mid-physical-plank there is a slight impression of a groove that makes it appear like there are actually two wood planks. I'll post pics as an update so you can see what I mean.

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    2. I am so sorry I didn't see any replies or comments about my post above until today. The system doesn't ask for an email when you use the Name/URL comment option, so I was never notified.

      It's been so long since my comment on your blog post that I had to quickly glance over it again. I didn't want to turn my post into a you-did-this-wrong, you-did-that-wrong kind of comment. You are obviously very happy with the outcome of your project. I know that feeling well. I did floors for 35 years until I discovered I had lung disease. I pouted for the longest time and did nothing but wait for the end. But one day I realized I couldn't go down like that and asked the landlord if I could fix up my apartment. I got the OK and have spent the last 5 years doing little projects here and there and turned my little apartment into a very sweet home. My landlord's jealous.

      Tearing down walls, doing plumbing, electrical, building furniture, adding crown moldings and wainscotting - none of that is flooring, but I tackled them all anyway. It takes me 10x as long to do stuff, but I sure like the end results. So yeah, I understand.

      I also use the Interweb to learn how to do these things. It's important to find out how things like this are properly done and then maybe I won't have to try my own way and maybe make a lot of mistakes I can't fix or can't afford to fix.

      Sorry, I talk too much. Maybe I could have said there's a very easy way to remove old carpet pad and the tackless strips around the walls. Pros use a long handled 6-8" scraper (turn the blade around backwards to save the sharp part for where you need it) and those staples and tack strips just pop off the floor. You can pry up the left-overs after the first sweep.

      We also have methods of leveling uneven floors so your material won't look like the ocean. And although uniclic laminates can be tapped together with a block and rubber mallet, the LVT is too thin for that and you risk damaging the tongue/groove mechanism. Then those tiny gaps will grow into caverns of dirt depositories.

      Without reading the whole post again, I'm sure I saw a few things that might have made your job easier and even more attractive (like making sure the ends of planks were not too close together in the next row and the one next to that - 8-10" offsets minimum). Although I visit a lot of DIY forums besides my own, I hesitate to take the advice of a non-pro, even when their projects look as good as yours. Like we've been told since we were kids, beauty is more than skin deep - or flooring surface deep in this case. How the floor is prepared, how it is installed and how it is trimmed and finished is vital to the life of the floor and will make a pretty floor stay pretty for many years, perhaps even decades.

      Thanks for letting me prattle on. Jim McClain aka TFP Admin at The Floor Pro Community

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    3. Hi Jim!

      Thanks for your reply to your old post. I do certainly understand that there are likely going to be better ways to get things done, especially when I myself don't have expert knowledge in this line of work. Since there wasn't much material out there regarding Allure Ultra at the time when I took this project on, I merely wish to share my thoughts and process here, so that others can take what they find useful, particularly when it comes to the material itself and using it. If one doesn't want to spend the extra money on professionals and refer instead to DIY blogs, one will pay for that choice, of course, if you can't discern good from bad information and make sure that it's relevant to your circumstances. But what I found interesting about this particular flooring product is that even "professionals" in some people's experience failed to properly install it, since I'm still hearing occasional tales of the boards separating all over the place in some people's homes. And there is absolutely no sign of that in my floor, still.

      Your advice about getting the right information to prevent wasting time and money on a DIY project is spot on. I think we did manage to get mostly all the right info for our particular situation. Luckily our floors didn't need leveling. The carpet removal for us was more a project in fun and stress relief, especially since I was lucky to have so many friends to help us, so we didn't bother trying to get the super professional effect or tools for that, but it's good to know what the proper tool should be for removing carpet pad and tack strips.

      It's true that I didn't bother calculating the exact offset spacings for the ends of planks and interleaving them as industry standards generally seem to call for, but in our case it has yet to affect the integrity of the locking mechanism or the stability of the final floor. Again, we laid ours over an existing wood parquet, so results may vary for those who install over other materials that don't allow the bottoms of the planks to grab onto as well.

      I would beg to differ on the Allure Ultra vinyl being too thin for tapping with a rubber mallet, though. I'll post on my quick upcoming video a photo of how thick these things are. Even with the relatively delicate groove/tongue mechanism, if you tap appropriately (aka not pound on them), these luxury vinyl? (I assume that's what the LV stands for) planks are pretty darn luxuriously tough. We did damage maybe two or three plank edges that we laid by tapping too hard in the very beginning (our fault), but we then either didn't use those planks, or if the damage was only on a part of a plank, as long as the whole plank was seated correctly against its neighbor, there was no gap for dirt or debris to fall into. I detailed the tapping because at least for us, it was absolutely key to getting the tight lock between planks, which is all that holds one plank in place against the other.

      I do appreciate your comments and am glad that others who stop by can read them as well. More knowledge is the DIYer's best friend!

      Delete
  11. Thanks very much for the thorough account of your learning process with Allure Ultra. I've installed earlier versions of Trafficmaster laminate flooring and also found the "whole row" technique to be very helpful.

    Just today I tried to join two pieces of Allure Ultra in the store and could not get them to stay together well enough to lift both planks from one side. I would have written the product off -- except for your account. I appreciate the time you took to post your photos and description.

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    1. Hi Dan!

      They definitely wouldn't stay together if you joined two and lifted just one edge, and there's no reason to expect that. There's no adhesive anywhere, and only the very narrow gray rubber lip that contacts the next piece. It's just enough friction to hold one against the other, and when an entire set of planks is laid down, their bulk against the walls of the room is what will hold the entire floor in place. I believe this is exactly the same for any floating floor, with the exception of the presence of adhesive.

      The way the joints are made makes it pretty clear that the planks are meant to take pressure from the surface rather than sheer stress from the side.

      Thanks for the feedback! Glad my photos are helpful.

      Delete
  12. Just curious if you still have the flooring and how it's holding up. I am looking at purchasing the Allure Ultra since it seems the regular Allure has some pretty bad feedback.

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    1. Hi Jenne!

      Sorry for the delay in replying; I often forget to check back on my blog. I don't know if you're still looking to purchase this product, but my floor is still fine and holding up great.

      I had also noted the bad sticky Allure reviews when I was looking for flooring options, but they seemed to stem mostly from the smell, which I don't experience with the Ultra, and lack of stickiness, which also doesn't concern the Ultra. I think the main issue with the Ultra is the proper laying of the planks so they lock properly. The angle at which you hold the new piece when joining edges is pretty important, but if you get them right, it's pretty easy.

      Delete
  13. Hi Folks, I wanted to share this. I installed this floor, Allure Ultra, in my kitchen, dining area, living room and a hallway about a year and a half ago. I followed the instructions to the letter, and spent (wasted) considerable time locking and relocking the planks, which means that I had to disassemble the floor repeatedly during installation because the seams opened up. After I finished, the floor looked great. We put the felt pads on all of the furniture and we've been using it ever since. All I can say is that the floor has separated in numerous places. Even in the first courses, which are the only ones that were easy to lay, I've got gaps. I now face the prospect of marching down to the Depot and demanding restitution of some kind. No, I won't be recommending this product. John

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    1. Hi Pogue,

      Sorry to hear of your installation frustrations! I can relate! I'm not a HD employee or representative (if only, then I could've gotten a discount on my expensive boxes of planks...), but your story sounds like a lot of other people's on forums where Ultra is discussed.

      From my installation experience, it seems like if you kept having to lock and relock your planks during installation, that your seams probably weren't locked deep enough between planks. Either that, or your floor wasn't even enough that the locking mechanism could get a firm grip on the next plank. Or you got all lemon planks.

      But I think most people hate Ultra because it's not very intuitive how to lay the planks so that each seam is tight. Putting in each new piece at an angle before setting it down is a key aspect of making these planks work that I really wish HD had bothered to, I dunno, make a video about or something.

      I can put my bare feet down on my Ultra floor right now and push in opposite directions as hard as I can without any gaps opening up or pieces coming loose. I don't use any furniture pads and scrape my chairs over the floor every day (one of the reasons I wanted this kind of material in the first place).

      Maybe I should post a video about how to lay tight seams with my leftover pieces...

      In any case, I hope you can get some help and answers from your local HD!

      Delete
  14. Great blog. I saw the product at HD, and thought it would be a great idea. after looking at the numerous "bad" reviews, I was very pleased to find your review. After hearing of your trials, it makes me feel at ease about trying it out. Thanks for the great review.

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    1. Hi Michael!

      Thanks for the feedback, and am glad to offer my experience back to the DIY community after gaining my own knowledge from it.

      Well, there are honestly bad reviews (aka written badly :P ) And I don't doubt there's the possibility of badly made planks in certain batches.

      But I'd say the most important thing to do is read through their documentation and make sure if you're going to try it, that your flooring meets their main specifications before you go all out. I was initially worried that my floor wasn't flat enough for their locking mechanism to work (they specified a specific flatness tolerance in the documentation that I didn't actually measure beforehand), so if my install had failed, I could only blame myself for not checking ahead of time. Luckily my floor was flat enough and it worked out, but it was a gamble I took because I was lazy.

      Looking back, I'd also say again: get help. You really, really need more than one person for an efficient install, I'd say at least three total even for a small room, since installing row by row is the fastest and ensures lasting seams, but then requires one person at each short edge seam to manually hold the entire row together while installing it.

      Good luck if you choose to try it! You won't regret the results if it works out; I love the floor more every day.

      Delete
  15. Wow, what an in-depth blog on installation and on going follow up and comments. I was just window shopping at HD the other day with my neighbor and settled on doing more research on the Ulta. My neighbor found your blog and forwarded it on to me. After reading it and all the comments, I think the positives outnumber the negatives and I'll give it a try.

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    1. Hi Dave! Thanks for the feedback, and hope my experience has been helpful to you. I do try to stay up to date with comments, as I know how it felt to be someone trying to do research on investing in something expensive but lacking access to recent reviews or opinions on it.

      The documentation that comes with the planks can be found online as I'm sure you've already discovered, and of course there is the official HD Ultra forum as well as a plethora of other sites that can provide help if you run into problems, but please feel free to comment again here too. Would love to hear how it works out for you!

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  16. go to home depot's video page to see how to install Allure Ultra
    http://ext.homedepot.com/video
    or here to read about it and also has direct link
    http://community.homedepot.com/t5/Flooring/Allure-Ultra-Resilient-Plank-Flooring/td-p/13243
    I think you also need to let boxes acclimate 48 hours in the room.
    We will probably put this in our kitchen to replace old ugly vinyl (not our doing!) in our house. Part of a larger kitchen and house rehabilitation.

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    1. Hello Anon! Thanks for the feedback and the links. I would def recommend following all the instructions given by HD for the planks, such as acclimating them to your home's temperature and humidity levels (though I admit I only acclimated mine for less than 24 hours, but I didn't think there would be much volume change in vinyl and so far that's been true.)

      Good luck with your installation!

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  17. yes, I think you should make that video to show the best way to get the proper connection. For those of us who haven't layed this yet, describing it only makes us aware of the problem. A video would be outstanding. Thanks for your blog!

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    1. Hi Anon!

      Thanks for your comment. A video is in the works :) I will post it within the month, hopefully!

      Delete
  18. cool, we figured out what you meant after a while, but a video would definitely help someone else a lot easier. Also, can you describe your process for laying them at the very last row? We're having serious issues getting the pieces to lock on the last row, we've taken the trim off the wall but still have to deal with fitting the pieces on the undercut doorjams. In other words, you know how you have to lift them up to get the other end to lock? Well how do you get them to lock when you can only lift as high as the undercut door jam? Very frusterated to get this far and then realize we can't finish! Any ideas? Thanks

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    1. Hi Anon! Sorry, didn't see your comment till today. My guess would be that you guys will just have to trim off the edging of the pieces from the second-to-last row and last row, and not have the last row lock with the rest of the floor, but rather just sit flush if you can't lift the pieces up high enough for the tight seams. Without seeing a photo, I would guess that this wouldn't be a problem for stability for the rest of the floor, since the whole floating floor should be pretty tight up against the very first row/wall, which should hold everything in place.

      Did you guys figure out a solution?

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  19. We're having the Allure Ultra in Vintage Oak Natural installed on the 17th. http://www.homedepot.com/p/TrafficMaster-Allure-Ultra-7-5-in-x-47-6-in-Vintage-Oak-Natural-Resilient-Vinyl-Plank-Flooring-19-8-sq-ft-case-51711/202490890#.UbC2ObKe80M
    We're usually the do it yourself types, but HD was offering a manufacturer's promotion of $500 install on a whole house. We're having just over 1800 sq ft installed and decided to opt for that promotion. Yeah, we might be a little battle weary of our renovation at this point....
    It was great to see how this type of flooring looks installed, and to hear how it's holding up!
    We'd gone with laminate click install stuff about 5 years ago in the main areas of our house-NOT in bathrooms, or kitchen, and found with kids and spills it just did not hold up at all. We also found it tended to separate and leave gaps. We were wanting something more waterproof, and that wouldn't separate- hopefully Allure Ultra fits the bill.
    Thanks again for the updates!

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    1. Hi Pat! It's definitely not gapped on me yet, and has proven to be happily waterproof so far. I hope since the installers are from HD they know how to install it properly. Send a pic or two when it's done!

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  20. Hi, I stumbled on this post today and I love how you've shared your experience with other DIYers on installing your Allure floor so they can learn from it too! Awesome stuff. I'm with Halstead's (the maker of Allure flooring) customer outreach team... and really appreciate the heck outta this post. It means a lot to us when our customers love the product and result so much they share it with others :-) Even cooler when they take it upon themselves to help others too! We really appreciate you :-)

    If you don't mind... would we be able to get your mailing addy? We'd love to send you something as a token of our appreciation for helping us spread the "good word" about Allure Flooring :-) If so, awesome! If not, no biggie at all. Thanks again!

    - Trevor

    Halstead International
    Allure Flooring Customer Outreach Team
    www.MyDIYGenius.com

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  21. Hi Trevor,

    Thanks for reaching out! Sorry for the delay in replying; have been busy finishing my last exam ever! I've sent an email to contact@mydiygenius.com with subject heading: "Contact on Allure Ultra blog post". I actually have a question or two, so hope to hear back!

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    1. Hope your exams went great! I'll connect with our guys who get those emails and look for your email. I appreciate you reaching out too! Once I hunt down your email we'll connect you w/.

      Thanks again!

      - Trevor

      Allure Flooring Customer Outreach Team
      www.MyDIYGenius.com

      Delete
    2. Trevor, let me know if you haven't gotten my email; I sent it on August 5th but have not heard back yet. Would love to get in touch!

      Delete
  22. We just finished installing the Allure Ultra flooring in our basement. The install wasn't too bad and it looks good. Unfortunately, I'm somewhat of an internet novice and never thought to look at reviews before purchasing. I relied on the Home Depot sales people... I know... big mistake always. I told them the flooring was for a basement that does get water seepage from time to time. In the past, we have even had a flood. They told me this would be the best product and I wouldn't have any problem at all with water. Now, I have stumbled upon lots of reviews and one especially bothers me. The homeowner installed in a basement and after several months (and no visible water) the floor was lifting up and when they took it out, they found mold. This freaks me out and I wonder if anyone else has had this experience? I'm considering taking it all out before there is a problem and it's only been in for 3 weeks. Thanks for any input.

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    1. Hi Anon,

      I haven't heard of this in other reviews, but I can see where it could be a potential problem. The aspect of the Ultra that makes it desirable (its waterproofness) may also cause trapping of water beneath it and lead to mold growth. It's actually something I worry about a little for my own place, since I do live in a half-basement, but have not actively seen signs of happening yet. What would be your alternative flooring choice if you fear the growth of mold?

      Delete
    2. No, but we had this with laminate flooring. I don't see in the allure instructions but for laminate they recommended a 6 mil moisture barrier. Basically the concrete sort of sweats.

      Delete
    3. I'm not a flooring expert by any means, but logically, I wonder: do you have a leak problem? As in, is the water you worry about coming in from around the foundations of your house, rather than seeping/sweating up from the ground? And is your concrete already sealed with a moisture barrier/paint? That would probably make a big difference in mold potential in your room, regardless of the flooring you choose.

      You might get mold underneath the Allure Ultra, but that would be due to the excess moisture being trapped, not because there's something wrong with the vinyl. If you have seepage or wetness, any kind of moisture barrier (besides paint) would probably cause mold to grow beneath it, right? Allure Ultra or any other kind of vinyl would prob be your best bet as far as waterproof flooring though. Laminate I assume would soak up the water seepage and buckle and warp, hence the need for a moisture barrier. But vinyl is plastic and doesn't change its shape when wet.

      Hope that helps! Maybe you can ask this question on www.thefloorpro.com community? They're flooring experts!

      Delete
  23. Hi there thanks for the great blog! I was wondering how much this was per square foot?

    Also, could you do an update as to how they're holding up? Any chipped corners or scratches? Thanks so much, enjoyed the read. Please post more!!

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    1. Hi Fred! No chipped corners anywhere, since none of the edges stick up to catch on anything. As far as scratches go, I'm sure there are some small ones just from wear and tear, but nothing that I can see by a casual look around the room. The top clear layer of the planks are pretty tough.

      I think the pricing may vary based on what seller you get it from? I got mine from Home Depot, but I think probably Googling for the product will get you the most updated pricing that people are offering these days. Hope that helps!

      Delete
  24. So excited to find this! I too purchased before researching, lol, because just so in love with the product never thot further about it (and I too am in the process of removing every stitch of carpet, permanently, from my house). I am having it installed through home depot, and certainly hope the installers know what they are doing.... but at least now I will recognize indications that they do not, and will certainly get confirmation that they do before they begin. Regarding moisture on floor..... interesting. That would probably explain why the measurer pulled up corners of my (upstairs) carpet in a few rooms and used some electronic moisture tester. Fortunately I was normal.

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  25. We have our Allure Ultra on order. Was going to have it installed, but with looking @ this blog, we are considering installing it ourselves. It's only for a small bathroom. My question is, has anyone had experience with how to do a transition from the Ultra bathroom floor to our carpeted bedroom floor? What type of transition do you use? Does Ultra make transition pieces?

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    1. That's a good question, and I'm afraid I don't have personal experience with transitions to carpet. I myself have two: from Allure Ultra to kitchen laminate (which I have some of those standard transition pieces for) and from Allure Ultra to the original wood floor (which I also used a standard piece). My guess would be either use a transition piece atop both the Allure and the carpet, or bring up the edge of the carpet over the Allure. I honestly don't know what the industry standard is for this situation though, so hopefully other forums or experts could answer that for you!

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    2. Another note on transitions, as I recently put some in to finish off my floor. You can put nails through these planks if you need to say, hold one down that isn't as stable. I did this for one horizontal piece I used as an edge between my living space and the kitchen floor, and since it wasn't being used as designed, I just put a nail through each end to secure that single plank.

      I also put down several transitions between Allure Ultra and vinyl, as well as leading down to my original wooden parquet in one place. I used some light vinyl/synthetic "wood-detailed" trim and transition pieces that were easy to cut and were like foam to put nails through, and just nailed it down over the top of the planking. I'm sure other people will have other preferences, but this worked for me!

      Delete
  26. Great information Thanks for sharing this post !!

    Vinyl Flooring

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  27. Hi. Super helpful blog, which I encountered just when I was getting ready to pull the trigger on a new floor for our converted garage (aka the junk room). Your comments about the installation were spot on, including the tip on gently tapping the courses while held at an angle.

    I just got done with a 400+ sq ft Clear Cherry Ultra floor to replace a very beat-up, soiled carpet. The install in brief: I put down 1/4" plywood underlayment over the subfloor to cover the carpet adhesive, staggering the seams, and mudded the joints with Henry cement filler. I modified the 3-2-1 Ultra-suggested stagger method due to the length of the room, which would have left a very short piece; if you give it some thought, it's not hard to figure out a pattern that looks OK. Accept that you will cut some pieces wrong at first; once you get some rhythm going after a course or two, it gets easier. I did hear/feel a FEW clicks when locking the planks together, but that was not the case 90+% of the time. It can be frustrating to get a whole course locked together without any gaps, especially if doing it alone, but I had some help with most of it, and we only had a few areas with a very small gap--not noticeable from standing height, and no issues with it coming apart.

    Snapping to cut was simple, either cross-cut to finish a course, or to rip the last course narrower to fit against the far wall. Used tin snips to cut notches and a few irregular shapes. I won't say it was the easiest project ever, but it went pretty quickly, and my wife and I are VERY happy with the result--it looks great. No smell at all, at least not that I could detect over the new paint I put on the doors and trim.

    Thanks so much for your informative and entertaining blog. Good luck in your future projects (and partays)!

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    1. Thanks so much for your detailed and helpful comment! Hope others interested in putting down plywood underlayment will also benefit from your notes about your experience!

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    2. We would like to put down Traffic Master Ultra click-lock planks in our dining room. This room is actually a converted garage, so the floor slopes a bit. It has a good, smooth plywood subfloor, but my husband is concerned that this vinyl flooring will not work with the slope. If not, would the Traffic master adhesive strip ones work better? THANK YOU! (We just got rid of the ATROCIOUS carpet that had been in the dining room for about 40 years!)

      Delete
  28. Very happy I found your blog. I've use the 12"x12" peel and stick TrafficMaster vinyl tiles twice before (laundry room/ temporary kitchen redo) and really liked it for the $. Now, I'm covering old ugly 'grocery store linoleum' in the bedrooms of a fixer upper. And while the peel and sticks are the backup option, I'd like a nicer looking woodgrain. NOT LAMINATE! :-)

    Anyway, I've been looking at the Allure and the Allure Ultra. (I don't want the Ceramica because of the bevel on the edge and I am not grouting it.) I just bought a box of the Clear Cherry Ultra from HD this afternoon to try it out. I agree 100% about installing it long row by long row. Trying to get just these 8 planks down per the provided instructions was ridiculous. I certainly couldn't tilt in two directions to get the corners a snug fit. I had already decided to use the long row method if I went with this product and feel pretty vindicated that you chose the same method. And at one point I thought 'I need a mallet'. haha Thanks! -Kitty

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    1. Hi Kitty,

      Glad our experience helped to vindicate your intuition, and best of luck with your install if you choose to go with the Allure Ultra!

      Delete
  29. Hi! Quick question for you as I'm in the internet research phase of my project. It looks like you didn't remove the trim, so did you install quarter round?

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    1. Hi Anon!

      Yes, we put in quarter round atop the planks (nice looking, like blond wood, but cheap and light foam). We pried the old quarter round off the walls but left the baseboard because it had all been painted over by the last owner.

      Delete
  30. Hello! I just wanted to thank you for starting this blog and for providing such excellent information. We are currently in the process of installing the Ultra, and it was super slow going for the first 12 rows of our living room. Then I went back and re-read your tips and we tried the method of doing an entire row. It worked SO much better! We whipped out 4 more rows in no time at all. I just wanted to add some helpful tips for folks who are in the process of this, or who are contemplating it. Lowe's has a box that is called a flooring installation kit. Home Depot may have the same thing. The brand from Lowe's is Blue Hawk. It is imperative to purchase this so that you have the pull bar and the tapping block. Then go to the tools section and get the mallet that has rubber on one side and hard plastic on the other side of the mallet end. The brand we purchased is Kobalt. Both sides will be needed. We use the yellow (plastic) side to hit the pull bar with, and the rubber side to tap on the top of the planks after we join them. So far it has worked perfectly. Before purchasing these, we had gaps and went back and re-did so many planks it was ridiculous. Laurie .... Near Anchorage AK

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    1. I forgot to mention that we also layed 1/4 inch plywood on top of the existing subfloor, to ensure no problems, and to help match up to the kitchen floor level. This whole project is being done with just the two of us. So, it is possible to lay entire rows with two people.

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    2. Thanks for the feedback and providing extra details for other people, Laurie!

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  31. Anonymous said...
    We are in the middle of an installation right now. There is definitely a learning curve. The first room started out to be pretty tough. To make it worse, at one point I found a loose seam and took up half the floor to fix it. No problem except for the time involved, which is a bad-news, good-news thing. Think how messy that would be if glues or adhesives were involved. I just laid the pieces aside in the proper sequence and reinstalled them after I fixed the loose seam.

    The second room was a breeze. Prep took much more time than installation. The staples they used to fasten the carpet padding were a lot of fun to remove, and the tack strip removal left me bleeding several times. We are installing 64 cases total (about 1300 square feet) and I no longer fear the job.

    My solution to the "double-snap" problem is two-fold. I have my gofer stand on the last plank laid, at about the midway point. I can then lift the edge I need tilted to fit the end-tongue in without having the previous plank come out of place. I also make certain that as I try to mate the long joint I have the surfaces exactly flush with each other. Just running my finger along the seam assures that, and the tongue and groove will mate beautifully. You will use a bit of muscle, but I believe any reasonably-fit individual can handle it. Occasionally, due to normal manufacturing tolerances, a seam may not close entirely. If (make sure of this!) the joint is properly latched, then minor tapping with a block and hammer will make them essentially disappear. The planks installed after that will assure that adjustment stays put. If you have to force either an end or longitudinal joint to close, you do not have them properly aligned. Take up the plank and reinstall it.

    I made all end cuts with a carbide blade on a mitre saw and all longitudinal cuts using a carbide-blade-equipped table saw. A lot easier and less likely to result in an inadvertent scratch on part of the plank you hope to use later. And less effort is required (except for cleanup). I also found that curved cuts or cuts requiring right angled cuts, as around floor vents, were more easily made with a medium blade in a sabre saw. All that can be done with a knife, but if you have the power tools anyway, try using them. We were doing so much floor that I bought the mitre saw just for the job. I am glad I did.

    I am still a bit concerned about scuffing and scratching, but less so than if I had installed laminates with color coats so thin they are all but invisible from the edge. Only time will answer that concern. I was impressed that the Allure Ultra has fibre-reinforced basic construction and quite a thick color coat.

    One thing to note: The installation instructions are wrong (twice). The printed instructions in our boxes indicate the tongue should be away from the wall on the first row even though the sketch shows it correctly against the wall. That is a significant conflict that may "throw" some folks as they start. I just looked at the current instructions on the web. Someone must have noted the problem and "fixed" the verbal part, but reversed the sketch. A double negating of the conflict restored the conflict.

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    1. Same guy........(75 YO geezer, by the way)

      Wow, I got so carried away with my own prose that I forgot to mention that this blog is the one that gave me the confidence to lay out those big bucks for Allure Ultra. So many negative comments were posted on various sites that I was extremely wary. I think most of the negative comments were by folks who wouldn't invest a couple hours climbing the learning curve.

      Thank you so much for for posting your experience and for allowing the rest of the DIY crowd participate.

      Delete
    2. 75 YO geezer again. I hope the direct links work. If not, you should be able to copy them to your browser’s address line.

      Here are a couple picture of how I handled transitions.

      The first is between Allure Ceramica, which we preferred for our kitchen. It turned out that the thickness of the sheet vinyl which I left in place and the Allure Ceramica were exactly the thickness of the Allure Ultra Plank. Sometimes you get lucky!

      http://i1108.photobucket.com/albums/h402/abcandjrc/Flooring%20pictures/P8090001_zps70c0a721.jpg

      The second is between rooms. I think it will do two things. First, it definitely made the cuts at the doors very easy. I only had to slip the main flooring under the door trim, not under the frame. I think it will also prevent accumulated temperature creep from buckling the flooring as one run would be over 40 feet if laid continuously.

      http://i1108.photobucket.com/albums/h402/abcandjrc/Flooring%20pictures/P7100002_zpsfb5bdf44.jpg

      I used a contrasting color so it was obvious it was an intended effect. I cemented it to the floor with SureStik brand adhesive, available at both big-box stores. To allow for the “suggested” 1/8” gap, I left the gap and then used a neutral resilient caulk (Cedar/Tan in our case) in the joint. I used a single layer, flush when installed. It shrank a bit, but is not really noticeable unless pointed out to folks. I could fill it completely, but I believe with a minimal amount sufficient to look good it will be more likely allow for thermal expansion and contraction that might take place.

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    3. Sorry. I cut and pasted the urls in reverse.

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    4. Hi Sir 75! Thanks so much for adding your input, photos, and the details with your experience! I think your comments especially will provide inspiration to others :)

      I'm glad my little flooring escapade has been a positive influence; it means a lot to be able to contribute something back to the DIY community on the internet!

      Delete
  32. Thank you for your great blog! I installed the Lowe's version (Smartcore) in my house last year, and it was a nightmare because the instructions/videos were not accurate. I love the way the Allure Ultra looks, so I decided to use this in our new hair salon. Lo and behold I discovered that the instructions/installation videos are deceptive with this stuff as well! There is NO WAY you can join the long ends first at an angle and slide it towards the short end and "click it" like they show in the video! It is impossible! What kind of video editing did they do to make it look like that anyway? (Notice they were moving the camera just as he is joining the short end???) :)

    I started laying the Allure last night, and at least did figure out by reading the instructions to join the SHORT END first before joining the long end.... funny that the official written instructions are totally opposite from the official installation video, huh? Shame on you Allure!!! :)

    So I was able to get the seams tight, but it is not easy to do. (I'm just in the very beginning stages). I'm installing it by myself, because when I worked with my father in law to install mine last year, I wanted to hit him with my hammer on many occasions. After reading your blog, I just had a revelation on how one might can do this by their self based on one of the posts by the guy who did the transition pics. (I'm going to do plank-by-plank instead of row method, because I don't have others who are able to help me)

    I'm thinking these boxes are very heavy. Instead of having someone stand half-way down the last plank installed, I'm going to set 5 boxes of this stuff on a rolling furniture dolly and simply roll it down the rows with me. I am going to try this method later today and will update at that time whether it was successful.

    I'm sure your advice about tapping the long groove at an angle to get perfect seams will work great, after already having joined the short ends. Now I'm excited instead of dreading the next day or two!


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    1. So glad you're tackling the project with as much info as possible, along with some creativity! Best wishes for a great install!

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  33. It went great! Used my father in law to stand half-way down the board to the left and installed piece by piece. If they would change the instructions and installation video, I'm sure they'd have a lot less returns. Bravo!!

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  34. Great blog (not to mention funny :) ) I had a question - were you laying the Allure over any linoleum like in a kitchen? If so did you find the levels between that and your subfloor to be way too off so as to not be able just lay the Allure right over both? Was their any 'fixing' going on? That's my biggest hangup since we are planning on running our stuff right into the kitchen, and I don't want to lay more subfloor before I lay the new flooring. Thanks!

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  35. I regret installing this Allure product. It was ok the first year, but after four years five seams have opened up at least a 1/4 inch. For the price I should have just installed hardwood.

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  36. Thanks for sharing. I am very thankful to you.
    I think every body like wood flooring west london.

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  37. Although i don't mind carpet for my house floor, I prefer timber flooring. Especially Vinyl plank or loose lay. Maybe it is my personal preference but I rather have wood than wool.

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  38. Reflooring can be a tiresome experience. But I'm happy you had such a fun time anyway. Kudos!

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  39. Are you still happy with this product? I've been scouring the reviews and am conflicted with the allure ultra planks. Certain aspects appeal to me (durability ect) but I'm concerned about mold and gaps developing over time. How's it going now?

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    1. Hey there! Gaps are nonexistent as far as I can tell; there is no new separation because we made sure the planks were for the most part properly interlocking when we put them down (with the exceptions of the photos I showed in the post). I have a tenant living in the apt now, and they have no complaints that I can tell about the flooring.

      Why are you concerned about mold?

      The new apt I'm living in now also has very similar flooring (I can tell immediately when I step foot somewhere now!) and I love it for the same reasons I love the flooring we put down: it's handsome, solid footfeel, easy to clean and near impossible to destroy.

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    2. Hey there! Gaps are nonexistent as far as I can tell; there is no new separation because we made sure the planks were for the most part properly interlocking when we put them down (with the exceptions of the photos I showed in the post). I have a tenant living in the apt now, and they have no complaints that I can tell about the flooring.

      Why are you concerned about mold?

      The new apt I'm living in now also has very similar flooring (I can tell immediately when I step foot somewhere now!) and I love it for the same reasons I love the flooring we put down: it's handsome, solid footfeel, easy to clean and near impossible to destroy.

      Delete
  40. Before making the flooring installation, lots of things are there to consider. Also we need to take care of the basic requirements. If you're doing flooring installation for a small space then you can do it by your own but if the area is little big then it is better to let the professionals to deal with it. Kitchen and bathroom are the most important rooms of the house hence then need to be decorated well. Thanks for sharing the post with lots of valuable info.

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  41. Really nice thing you had posted. By seeing this people can get some responsibilities and ideas to hire with the external services for a quality clean. And if you are searching for the better services can prefer with our services.

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