If you do like wooden floorboards and have a level and dry floor, you don't have to be discouraged by spending a fortune in materials and labour...
I have used these affordable self-adhesive vinyl laminate planks from Bunnings. WAIT! I can hear you in disbelief, but you'd be surprised by how easy they are to lay, practical to maintain and yes, it does looks good too.
The worst enemies to any adhesive are dust and moisture. Sweep well, vacuum and if you think it necessary, clean with a mop that is not too wet. Let it dry well, grab a biro, strong scissors, a ruler and a stanley knife. That's all you will need.
Start laying from the most visible point [e.g. the entrance door] and plan to end where you are less likely to look [the wall at the bedhead]. Peel just 15-20 cm off the sticky side of the board and place this part down, wiggle if necessary to make it rest neatly against the wall or skirting board if there is one; press on that bit, peel the rest of the length and let the board gently drop. For the neatest effect it would be ideal to take away the skirting and replace it after laying the boards.
By letting the board fall you are keeping it straight. Force-twisting any of them in place and you will have to twist all subsequent boards to fit and be aligned. To create a realistic look it should also be considered to cut the boards in different lengths which will give start to a staggered look. All the boards in the second row, can be entire if you like. Cutting is easy: mark with a ruler and a biro or simply place the ruler and use the knife to make an incision on the surface of the board. Instead of placing strength to the cutting, it is safer to cut with less force and cut again in the same groove. More force? means less control on the knife. In fact you don't have to cut through; most boards will snap if you bend them on the cut.
Once the board is on the floor apply pressure, walk on it, get the children in and make it a game... The aim is to get rid of eventual air bubbles, while the boards, once they stick will stay there for a long time. Also good is to keep sweeping while laying the floor as some dust, grit or snack crumbs may cause unsightly lumps under your brand new floor. Hence, no biscuits on work site, while chocolate squishes well under pressure.
Once most of the floor is laid and you have reached the opposite side of the room, you will have to accurately measure the lengths needed and cut the boards to fit. If slim narrow bits are needed you may find it easier to cut with a strong pair of scissors. Fitted bits are better if they are a millimetre shorter than longer, otherwise the board will hunch and soon lift off the floor.
The final effect will be stunning, I guarantee you. Your friends will be wowed by the looks and you can boast how skilled you are with handy work. And if you consider the time spent with the children stomping and sliding while helping you to lay and the wine and chocolate you had in the making... well, it's been a very good day.
James Treble has more than 25 years of experience in the Building Industry and Interior Design. His knowledge and experience have now been published for all to learn and benefit from: Interior Design For Profit is available online.