So the floor in my parents’ kitchen was a little worn. Not necessarily cracking or buckling, but the 30 year-old vinyl was warped, faded and had seen better days. And because my parents purchased the house about 15 years ago, there was no telling about the subfloor underneath and if any products containing asbestos were used to lay down the vinyl. What’s a worrisome son to do?
From the moment I learned about SolidTech from Mohawk, I knew that there was something very special about this product. Maybe it was the fact that my favorite internet star Doug the Pug (see above adorable photo) was a part of the rollout, but everything about the product was impressive.
I loved the wood visual with texture, knots and color tones, as well as the trendy long plank size. The planks themselves are heavy and rigid like laminate, but you can feel the flex of vinyl that allows it to be installed over any subfloor. UniClic MultiFit Technology allows planks to lock in without adhesives and create a waterproof, odor-proof floor.
So I decided that my parents needed this kitchen floor! You can see for yourself in these before pictures, the kitchen was due for an uplift:
Having no prior DIY or installation experience of my own, I enlisted my good buddy JD to lead the SolidTech installation over the existing vinyl floor. We had to work around an odd floorplan where it appeared the original builders took a few short-cuts, but I have to say, this product is truly DIY. If you don’t have flooring installation experience, you will need either an installer or someone with experience and knowledge. We downloaded the SolidTech installation guidelines from the Mohawk website and I took mental notes of some key things that aided in our completed floor:
- Make a super detailed floorplan with accurate measurements. – In the week prior to the project, my Father made an exceptional homemade floorplan (see image at right) using a tape measure and a calculator to estimate square feet. This allowed us to determine if we were going to need to saw some of the planks. Which we most definitely did!
- Think of all the equipment you will need to complete the job. – I can completely vouch that SolidTech planks are easy to cut. We used two different saws: a handheld jigsaw to do rounded cuts and cut a plank around a floor vent, as well as a compound miter saw that was used to make straight cuts. I didn’t consider the fact that we had to take the trim off of the wall and re-nail it back in at the end. Luckily, JD brought his nail gun and nails to seal it up. A long metal ruler, a right angle ruler, markers for marking planks, a tapping block and a hammer were also used- but absolutely zero adhesives!
- Follow the direction of the lock on the first planks. – Once you lay down the very first SolidTech plank, all of the other planks will need to follow the same direction of the UniClic locking system. At first glance the locking system on the planks will appear to be the same on all sides, but as you begin tapping them into place, into each other, you will learn that they really only go in one direction. If this doesn’t make sense at the moment, and if perhaps I don’t use the best technical terms, it will when installation begins.
- Random color variation worked best for our floor. – This style of SolidTech mixes 3 beautiful shades into each box. At first, I was trying to actively create the perfect layout without repeating any color too much but it got confusing. JD suggested that I just install the next plank out of the box without trying to select the color, a true random pattern. It definitely worked better that way. Maybe 2 or 3 times in the total floor installation, I picked a specific color plank for a certain place, but we let the pattern create itself- and the finished floor was better as a result.
- Slow and steady is the way to go! – From the first start to the last piece of trim nailed down, the entire kitchen and dining room took 11 hours to install. We made sure that every plank was completely grooved in and securely tapped into place with the tapping block and rubber head hammer, capturing that air-tight lock across the entire floor. Mind you, if you look at the above layout there are many angles and pieces that had to be custom-cut.
Maybe some people will be able to install their SolidTech in less time, but we were pleased with the results:
I honestly can’t say enough about how amazing SolidTech is and how genuinely easy it was to install. My back was barking a little the next day, but it’s definitely doable. And my Mom and Dad were happy, so there’s that!