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Installing New Flooring

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Thinking about laying a new floor? First you need to decide what to do about the old one. You can tear it out and start over again, or -- in some cases -- lay new flooring over the old. If you go this route, you'll probably need to put down underlayment first. Of course adding underlayment and new flooring on top of the old will increase the floor's height, which you'll have to deal with at thresholds and door casings. Remove old resilient flooring by heating it with an iron. This softens the adhesive so you can peel up the covering. Here are tips for tearing out other types of flooring.

When you work on a floor, you'll spend a lot of time on your knees. It's a good idea to purchase a pair of strap-on knee pads to make your work more comfortable. What you spend for knee pads you'll probably save by not wearing out the knees of your pants.

To protect wood floors in the bathroom, make sure every floorboard has its end grain sealed—the underside as well as the top surface. Use a penetrating urethane to make the seal.

Inexpensive prefab parquet comes in hardwood panels, tongue-and-groove wood strips, and wood-faced cork. And for most applications, prefab parquet is almost indistinguishable from the real thing.

Installing new floor covering seems like such a simple project. How tough can it be, really? Carpeting just needs to be pulled up and new stuff put down. Same with vinyl. With ceramic, just chip out the old and glue in the new, right? Actually, removing some old floors is a lot more work than installing new ones. With ceramic tile and resilient flooring, you must first chip or peel away the old material, then scrape off mortar or adhesive to smooth the way for your new floor.

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