Replacing your own flooring as a homeowner gives you the benefit of being able to work in small batches. Whether you’re working with vinyl, tile, wood or laminate, many DIY products can be applied in small sections and by the square foot instead of installing a whole room at once. However, this type of installation often takes planning from the center out.

Hardwood

Hardwood flooring can be installed as a finished product or installed unfinished. If you install your hardwood floor unfinished, you will need to install the entire area you want to replace before you apply the finish. Additionally, putting down raw hardwood flooring will require a special nail gun. Purchasing click-lock prefinished wood flooring means that you can empty a space, install the flooring and move your belongings into the space again without having to worry about applying stain or finish. Be sure to keep information on the product, such as manufacturer, color and part number, so you can order replacement boards if needed.

Vinyl

Vinyl flooring can be purchased in sheets or by the square foot. Be aware that vinyl flooring comes in several variations of color and thickness. As a general rule, the more expensive the flooring, the more padding and flexibility the product will offer. If your space is complex, mapping out vinyl sheets may be more than a DIY installer can do on their own. The critical factor in installing vinyl flooring is to work from a flat and well-vacuumed subfloor. If the subfloor has been damaged or it has any odors, make sure to patch holes and seal in unpleasant odors with a primer or oil-based paint before the vinyl gets installed.

Plywood

This material isn’t for everyone, though it is certainly economical. Using plywood planks as a cheap flooring DIY fix is unorthodox, but you can create a unique floor treatment for very little money. You will need access to a table saw. Choose your finish carefully, since raw plywood will drink up whatever you apply to it and be hard to sand or strip off. Ripping down your own plywood will mean some sanding. Because no room is 100 percent square, you’ll wind up with small gaps between the boards. Be aware that there are some finishes that will soak into the gaps and prevent dirt from building up. Consider your application needs carefully.

Putting in your own flooring will take attention to detail and some planning. Always avoid starting with a full course of flooring along one edge, and never work from the corner. Find the center of the room and use a chalk line to work your way to the edges.

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