Spruce Cabin

Installing Luxury Vinyl Plank


We closed on the cabin!! Woohoo!!!! Now let’s get to work!

To say we hit the ground running is an understatement 🙂 Saturday morning we drove up to the cabin, unloaded our cars, put a movie on for the kiddos and got to work! The first thing on our “to-do” list was to rip out the smelly, grey carpet and lay beautiful, new flooring. The entire home was a mixture of this old, grey carpet, black/white linoleum and an “entry mat” of black/white tile that matched the linoleum… nice, right? The living space is not that big to start, so having three various kinds of flooring really broke up the room and made it appear quite small. The idea for the new vinyl plank is to elongate the room, make it appear larger and create a cohesive look throughout the entire home.

After receiving an estimate from the local flooring company to the tune of $12,000 we quickly realized that this was a project we’d be tackling ourselves! Our next stop was Floor & Decor! I must say, I was pleasantly surprised to find a luxury vinyl plank here that I liked so much AND for only $2.44 / sq ft! I visited Carpet Corner, Home Depot, Lowes and various local flooring companies for comparison and could not find a product that looked so real and for so little a price point!

The flooring we chose is called NuCore and it comes in a variety of beautiful colors (we went with Blond Oak, a medium wood tone). NuCore vinyl plank is a click system (aka no gluing or nailing… a big plus!), is waterproof (perfect for snowy winter foot traffic), and it can float directly over previous vinyl flooring, so long as it is only one layer deep (linoleum kitchen floors, hello!)

So here is my honest review of the process from two DIY vinyl plank virgins … the good, the bad and the ugly!


Remove all baseboards from the room – As I removed each base board, I labeled the back with a number (starting with #1) and a simple reminder of where it was located (please excuse the fuzzy picture! Ugh!) This will be super helpful later when you go back to re-install the baseboards (hint, hint!). Additionally, I also chose to remove all the existing trim nails from the baseboards as I pulled them off. This just means I don’t have to do come re-install time, which I like! To remove the baseboards, I used a pry bar and rubber mallet. To remove the nails, I used a pair of pliers.

Rip up existing carpet and carpet pad – Use a utility knife to rip the length of the carpet every 6 ft. (it will be easiest if you find the existing seam and run the length of the seam). With each strip, roll the carpet and duct tape it for easy transportation and disposal. Repeat this same process with the carpet pad.

Rip up the carpet tack strips – Use pry bar and hammer to lift and remove the tack strip (make sure you are wearing gloves!)

Remove bits of staples carpet pad and hammer down the staples – Once the carpet and pad is removed you will notice that the ground is now littered with bits of carpet pad, stapled to the subfloor (don’t panic! There is an easy, NO TOOL process to eliminating these). Wearing a pair of work shoes, walk in small kicking motions over the staples/pad. The idea here is to scuff the staples with the bottom of your feet, causing the pad to break away from the staple. Once you have finished this process, there will still be some very small bits of padding under the staples, but not to worry. Next, use your hammer to go around and nail down each one of those staples so that they lay fairly flush with the subfloor. This requires a little bit of time, but it is much shorter than removing each staple!

Sweep and Vacuum – Once the staples and pad are hammered in, sweep up the bits of carpet padding that were kicked loose. Discard these and then run a vacuum over the remaining subfloor. You want the floor to be as clean as possible before laying your vinyl plank flooring.

Level the floor – Luckily, our floors were pretty darn even, so we did not need to bother with this step. However, if there are many great self-leveling products out there and many great videos on YouTube on how to accomplish this step, if necessary. A sander may also be used for small high points in a wood subfloor that need to be leveled.

Bust out the Vinyl Planks – I will admit… it took us about a half a room to “get into the groove” (figuratively and literally!) There are click grooves on the sides/top/bottom of each board and they fit into each other as you would expect. However, once you get the first row there is a bit of trial and error to figure out which end you should insert first (the top or the side) and a lot of tapping to get them into place. You really need to ensure a tight fit and there are definitely a couple of “loose/floaty” pieces on the first half of the floor (they are not too bad and they will be under an area rug, so I am OK with it!). It is helpful to use a piece of wood as a “tapping block” to ensure a tight fit and to prevent chipping the locking grooves on the edges. Once we figured out the correct process, the floor was smooth sailing!

It took us about a day a half to complete the main living/kitchen/hall area from start to finish and then another day per each bedroom. We still have the bathrooms to complete, but WOW! what a difference it has made so far! Oh! And notice those can lights?? Simply switching the black cans out with white cans has made such an impact! An easy and inexpensive update for the win!!




  1. FINALLY getting a chance on looking in on your blog. I can’t get over all the work you two have undertaken! You are doing a most excellent job, and I can’t wait to see it ‘in person’. Keep up the good work. With your sense of style, I know it’ll become a true showplace! ♡♡♡

Comments are closed.