Oh yes she DIYd - Herringbone floors with Vinyl Stick Down Planks

If you've been around here before, and chances are you have, you'll know that I've been working on creating my studio at a snails pace. Part of me wanted to wait until it was absolutely complete before I revealed any of it on here, but after a solid weekend of laying a showstopping floor, well I couldn't wait another day let alone weeks before revealing it!

For a long time in the planning process the plan had been to leave the yellow-tongue floor exposed and just let it become a pretty paint splattered feature.

This idea was scrapped when I realised it was impossible to keep the dust and dirt at bay, you can see how it looks more filthy than arty in the "before floor" photo below.

 

Between the grit underfoot and how nicely the room has been coming together since installing the walls made me crave a little more luxe and texture in my creative space.  After researching low cost, DIY options it was down to painting the floor, floating laminate and vinyl in sheet or tile form.  I'm not really keen on the super plastic feeling options for sheet vinyl and I knew that this room (this whole house) is so far out of square that cutting a floating floor just was beyond my attention span, and well painting floors just hasn't worked that well in the long term for me! 

I got to researching and although some people have problems with them it seemed like Gerflor stick down planks (bought at Bunnings) were the most economical and practical option for flooring the space. They come in a range of colours which are all pretty cool but in all honesty the idea of a single colour planked floor bored the shit out me. 

After a bit of a Pinterestigation led me to examples of other people using stick down tile to create a herringbone floor and to examples of herringbone floors at Stella McCartney Milan using multiple colours randomly in a herringbone pattern I knew I had found my beautiful not boring inspiration.

If you want my tips on how to get this gorgeous floor style keep reading!
(please note this room is not finished so it among other things still has baseboards to be placed)

 

DIY-do

Before you lay stick down tiles, as with any flooring choice, it's important to research how to properly prepare the subfloor.  As I was laying them over yellow-tongue I opted to give the floors a good clean and vacuum and lay down two coats of Dunlop Primer & Additive

Open the plank boxes and lay out your pattern roughly, especially if you're trying to make a random pattern flow without ending up with too many clumps of colours. 
Do this even if you're not using multiple colours and check that you aren't laying too many boards with the same pattern next to each other, there are only so many different images on the boards and it looks a lot more realistic if you make sure you have a variation in boards near each other!

Take breaks between sections of the floor, this floor is around 17 square metres (including the laundry side of the room) and after I was done even having substantial breaks my back, knees and hands were aching!

 

DIY-don't

Lay self-adhesive planks directly over floorboards. You'll end up with gaps between your planks in next to no time.

Try to lay the boards while the primer is still damp. A lot of the tips I saw said to lay while the primer is still tacky, but if you try to lay them while it is at all damp the adhesive on the planks won't grip the surface.  
The primer will still be tacky when it's dry, for quite some time. 

Start at the side of the room, a successful herringbone plays off its interaction with the natural focal points of a room (more on this in DIY-HOW)

Expect this to be a quick process, while stick down planks are fast and easy to apply laying a herringbone pattern involves a lot of cutting and checking to ensure you keep the pattern right.

 

DIY-How

Have a sharp stanley knife (box cutter) with spare blades, a pencil, a steel ruler or straight edge, a set square and at least one box of vinyl planks more than the flooring calculator tells you you'll need.

Find the focal point of the room, which could be the entrance, exit or a window.  Mark the middle of this and draw a line from its mid-point to the opposite side of the room.  This is where you will start laying your herringbone pattern.  

Using the set square to get the correct angle I aligned the top corner of the first plank with the mid point line, and once satisfied I had placed it correctly stuck it down and used its edge to lay the next board. 
(You can use the square like they have used a triangle in this video to help you get started).

Once you have the first two planks stuck to the floor it's just a matter of repeating the process until you get as far across the floor as you can without cutting a plank, ensuring that you stop and check that you are keeping your planks at the correct angle as you lay each one.

To make things easier I laid as much of the floor as I could using full planks before I worked around the edges and cut boards to get in the gaps.  This also makes it easier to measure for the cuts that you will need.

Where a cut was needed I found it easiest to lay the straight-edge along the vacant side of where a plank would go and measure both each edge, mark the plank, draw a line between the two planks and then cut by scoring with the stanley knife and snapping.  Where you have more complicated cuts to make I would suggest using the cardboard from the plank packages to create a template, check that it fits in the space and then cutting your plank.  It might be tedious and time consuming but better than wrecking three or four boards to get the shape right! Guess how i know that!

As you lay the floor it is important to roll them in with some weight to get a good bond between the adhesive and the floor, I used a paint roller with a clean foam roller on it to gently but firmly push the boards down.  Don't use anything with sharp edges as it may gouge your pretty new floor! 
Unfortunately I forgot to take any pictures in the floor laying process as I hadn't planned on sharing this as a "how-to" but with so many people asking how I did it after I posted pictures on Instagram and Facebook I thought some instruction was better than none!   I get this isn't the best how-to for visual people but I promise this is fairly easy if you can be methodical, patient and refer back to an image of the herringbone pattern and the video I linked earlier for the general gist of it!

Don't forget you can do a single colour herringbone in the exact same way, you don't have to be bold and colour mix to get a beautiful, practical and reasonably priced floor.

Stick down herringbone floor