Vinyl Plank Flooring: Prep & Installation

By Kate Riley August 10, 2016

We’re making progress in the flip house and the latest project completed was a big one, the floors! For this installation I chose a wood lookalike waterproof vinyl floor and partnered with Armstrong Flooring to do it after I fell in love with a sample of their luxury vinyl flooring products.

The color I chose was Bluegrass Barnwood Fiddle Brown in the Vivero Luxury Vinyl Plank line and I was so excited to work with this product!

 barnwood fiddle brown

This flooring resists dirt, scuffs, and staining and is made with Diamond 10 Technology, an exclusive manufacturing process that makes Vivero extremely durable. The flooring arrived by truck, but before we could install it we had to remove the old carpet and tile and prep the floors for the new planks.

 flooring delivery


This particular luxury vinyl plank product installs over most subfloors, and with Armstrong Flooring’s IntegriLock™ System no glue is required, it’s a floating floor, one that you can install yourself.

Once we pulled up the carpet and tile we were left with a floor covered in old glue and carpet remnants and the subfloor was full of cracks. The situation was pretty bad, and nowhere near where we needed it to be to lay down a seamless plank floor by ourselves. *Sigh*. Prep and installation wasn’t something we could handle alone on a 3 day visit so we decided to bring in help.

 leftover glue cracks

We hired a subcontractor to help us get this job done right. To prep the floors for the luxury vinyl planks, our guys used two products to fill the cracks and smooth the cement slab foundation, one is a crack filler the other a cement based patching compound to ensure the floors were level and smooth.

 crack isolation membrane


 patching compound


Here’s a look at the flooring that was there when we bought the house, dated ceramic tile and smelly stained carpet. I wanted to use consistent flooring throughout and a wood look product that would be both durable and waterproof so I could use it in the kitchen, which is how I ended up opting for luxury vinyl plank.

 old carpet tile

Here’s a peek at the living room space after the subfloor was prepped with the crack filler and compound.

 prepped living room floors


They started in the front corner of the house by the front door and worked with a staggered pattern. I was debating between flooring patterns but decided on the classic installation instead of diagonal or herringbone since this house is being remodeled solely for resale and I concluded this vertical pattern would appeal to the widest market.

 staggered pattern


I was watching the installation carefully because we’re installing very similar flooring in our studio in California in just a few short weeks so I needed to learn how to do this! The guys used a wedge tool and mallet to ensure each groove fit each surrounding plank for a seamless finish.

 mallet and wedge

To cut the vinyl planks they brought a tool with a sharp blade, they called it a “guillotine blade” but online it’s referred to as a shear flooring cutter for vinyl and laminate flooring.

 guillotine blade

After a few planks, I got the hang of it!

 learning how

 wedge and mallet for flooring

I’ll share pictures of the finished floors soon, they look so beautiful!

*This post brought to you in partnership with Armstrong Flooring, thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog. All opinions are my own.

Tropical Fabrics

By Kate Riley August 8, 2016

Aloha my friends! I’m spending this week at the beach, soaking up the sun and living in the present. I feel so blessed to be here, dipping my toes in the sand.

So many of us have turned our attention to fall since the kids are going back to school, that’s what we do in August. To be frank, it’s one of the things I find frustrating about this industry, how the catalogs begin to arrive, always looking to sell us something for the next season instead of embracing the one we’re in.

It’s business, I get it, but it’s left me feeling unsettled because life is to be lived in the season we’re in, not the one that is coming. Yes, autumn is lovely with its warmer hues and falling leaves, but can’t we embrace summer just a little bit more?

Leafy botanical and bold florals are a trend still going strong. We’ll see more of these tropical inspired prints in summers to come since a day at the beach on a tropical island is the definition of bliss! Bold tropical prints went out of style in the 2000s because the old prints looked dingy and dated. It’s nice to see them make such a big comeback because now they’ve been reinterpreted in cleaner more modern ways.

Today I’m featuring prints from lesser known designers and their tropical inspired fabrics found on Zazzle, Minted, and Spoonflower. There are a lot of talented artists out there that deserve to be highlighted because their designs are #imho far fresher. Being one myself, the exposure is welcomed!

Here are a dozen new favorite tropical fabrics which keep the spirit of summer going.

modern tropical fabric

 banana leaf / flamingo frenzy / ferns & berries / pink pineapple / blue fronds / stripes & flowers / minnows / welcome to the jungle / parrot ikat / palm fronds / forest summer leaves / protea paradise

Find a few more island inspired prints in my Summer 2014 fabric collection inspired by Hawaii. Two of my favorites are the Balmy palm print and the Aloha floral.

kate riley palm print

 kate riley aloha floral print


On a completely different (and serious) note having nothing to do with island fabrics,  do you follow Humans of New York on Facebook? If not, you should. This week they are highlighting stories from military veterans. Very eye opening.