New Studio Flooring

By Kate Riley October 3, 2016

I’ve written before about the studio above my garage, you can see the entire space featured in this post from last year. Presently, my stepdaughter lives in the studio, she is headed to nursing school in January, but right now she is working to save money for her continuing education.

Once she moves out, my plan is to rent this space out as a weekend AirBnB. One of the things that needed to happen first was to replace the flooring since the old carpet was stained and rippling in places. Also I wasn’t a fan of the dated linoleum floor in the bathroom and kitchen.

For this project I partnered with Floor & Decor which I’ve done several times before, they have a fantastic selection of in stock tile and flooring products. I’m a big fan of luxury vinyl plank flooring because it looks like wood but it is waterproof so you can use it in spaces that are exposed to water like laundry rooms, bathrooms, and kitchens.

Here’s a peek at the space with the new floors before I moved the furniture back inside. I love them!

studio vinyl plank flooring


The product I chose was NuCore vinyl plank in Driftwood Oak, I loved the mid tone taupe color, not too brown and neutral enough to complement any decor I rotate in and out of here. Also it comes with a residential lifetime warranty, that’s huge for me.

Demo started with good old fashioned elbow grease, the carpet came out first. We probably should have removed the baseboard first, but we did that after, see below. The tedious part was removing the tack strips and sticky little padding remnants which took a few hours.


We removed the baseboard first using a blade to cut through the caulking, next a screwdriver (or chisel) and hammer to wedge down inside and pop it off. We ended up damaging the baseboard so instead of reusing it, we replaced it with new baseboard. If you’re careful you can repurpose it but it takes more patience!

Since this is a floating floor, (no glue, nails, or adhesive, yay!) it requires expansion gaps around the perimeter. These adjustable spacers against the wall were the starting point. You can also see the texture of the planks in these more up close shot.

spacers for gaps

This floating floor installed pretty easily. We hired a helper to assist us getting this done since the studio is 650 square feet, but this is a project you can do yourself with the right tools. The pieces snap into place using a tongue and groove style click together system. The two main tools used were a tapping block and a mallet, used together they guarantee tight seams between planks. The tapping block helps get your seams tighter when you use the mallet to connect planks together.

tapping block and mallet

There are various cutting tools you can use, a sharp utility blade will score it and you can break it in two pieces that way. We used a jigsaw to notch areas around door frames and a skilsaw to rip the long way when necessary. Find another helpful NuCore flooring installation video here.

My favorite feature with this product is that it is waterproof!! This allowed us to continue into the bathroom. This was really important to me because I love consistent flooring in connected community spaces, it creates really nice flow. Since this is a studio with an open bedroom and living space, when not in use the bathroom door is open to allow more light into the studio.

bathroom vinyl plank flooring


Because this is a waterproof product, it could continue into the kitchen as well. Before there was carpet in the living room space and old linoleum in the kitchen but now there is a seamless transition, this makes me happy!!!


kitchen vinyl plank


Yesterday I was able to bring some furniture back into the space, this is the view of the living area looking at the bookcases, the kitchen you can see is on the left.

furnished studio


The bedroom furniture goes on this other side of the space, you can see more of it in this studio tour from last year.

nucore vinyl plank flooring

 What does it feel like? When I walk on it with bare feet, it doesn’t feel exactly like real wood, it feels like a textured vinyl product. I wouldn’t label it plasticky like some of the older vinyl products but it’s not uncomfortable at all. It’s warmer to the touch than tile but not as warm as real wood. It does clean up easily, I used a broom to clear off debris, and you can get it extra clean with any easy mop product like a Swiffer. I love that is looks great, is guaranteed by a lifetime warranty, and is waterproof!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Floor & Decor. The opinions and text are all mine.


  1. Just installed vinyl plank in our cabin last week. Very happy with it so far! Went with vinyl for all of the same reasons you did. Plus we’ll have lots of boot, dog and mud traffic and I hope it holds up well to them

    • Yes so true! Pet friendly, kid friendly, practically indestructible, and looks so great. Vinyl Plank “You’ve come a long way baby!” I’m amazed how good the new products are.

  2. I installed a NuCore Chestnut Wide Hand Scraped Plank with Cork Back last month to our living room. It was quick and easy to install! The planks were extra rigid. It’s also very easy to maintain. I simply sweep or wet mop it… and voila!

  3. Since it’s a floating floor can you move appliances around directly on it? Is installation for vinyl more expensive than carpeting?

    • HI Carolyn, we moved our appliances out before installing it, then moved them back in after we installed the vinyl planks. We did not remove the kitchen cabinets, we ran the flooring up to the edges and replaced the toe kicks after installation. We did removed the bathroom vanity and toilet before the flooring installation since that was a smaller issue.

      • How is it on sound? Our current laminate is so noisy when dogs walk across it. And forget about if drop something on it, loud!

  4. Looks fantastic, Kate! I love Floor & Decor! We are working with them on our basement reno and doing NuCore down there too. Everyone is going to want to stay there when you Air BnB it!!! Hope you are doing well sweet friend! We need another dinner one of these days ;) xo

  5. Thank you for your response! I just want to clarify that with this floor being floating that you can slide a heavy refrigerator back and forth directly on it and not damage it. Thank you again!!!!!!

  6. Are there safety issues as far as outgassing when new? And will it deteriorate over time and be harmful to the environment?

  7. Nothing like a completely waterproof floor! Water-resistant is one thing, but when you can literally leave a puddle of water (accidentally) on the kitchen floor, leave for the weekend, and come back to absolutely no deterioration or damage at all, that’s something else entirely. Brilliance.

  8. Would you suggest vinyl plank for the first floor of a home vs laminate? We love real wood but pricey. Looking to replace kitchen, living room, foyer, office, laundry room, bathroom. All main level floor. Thank you!

  9. Yes I would! I just used it throughout an entire house I’m flipping in the kitchen, and master bathroom, all the bedrooms and community spaces. Love it!

  10. HI Kate!

    Love your projects! Do you have a preference of VPF? I see you’ve used the Armstrong and the Floor and Decor products. We are covering about 750sf of ceramic tile. And does one look more authentic than the other? Any problems with either?

    Thanks so much!

    • They’re both good, the F&D one has a thicker backing which makes the vinyl a little softer underfoot.

  11. I am going to go with nucore on either this color (driftwook oak) or the cheyenne.. But it seems like every picture I see on the site or on pintrest is different… Are your pictures touched up or would you say it is pretty straight forward with how the floor really looks?

    • That is a straightforward view of the color, monitors are different though so I’d recommend looking at samples in your own home.

  12. Hi, love you book! I was wondering how the vinyl plank has held up and is you’re still happy with it?

  13. Hi Kate,

    I know that you’ve used luxury vinyl in flips, but do you know how these floors have held up? I’ve been looking at NuCore, Armstrong, and Shaw in particular… have you used all of these, or do you have any cons to NuCore?


  14. Have you had any issues with scuff marks or do you foresee a problem? That was one of the biggest drawbacks the last time I had laminate floors. Thank you!

  15. We’re looking at this color for our home. Does it hide dirt well? We had a dark laminate in our last house & could see every spec of dust on it. It drove me crazy

    • This one hides it well in my opinion, much better than the dark stain on my hardwood floors.

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