Chapter 11: Why Laminate Flooring?

I got it wrong. Savvy Steve's kitchen was only 4 metres square, not 16. I told you it was a small kitchen. That made the guy who quoted me $500 (labour cost only) to tile the place a robber. If I were to hire him, I would be paying him $125/m2. The chap whom I eventually hired for the job made $70/mat the end. So I didn't think I ripped him off at all. He shouldn't be too unhappy with that.

By now it should be clear as sky why I wanted to do the flooring myself. Even if I got a "bulk discount" by giving them a large area (i.e the whole house) to do, the best the robbers tradies would do was to drop the rate to around $40/mor $30mat best. Anything lower would see the risk of getting crap quality jobs increasing. So it was not difficult to work out how much it would cost to floor an area of, say, 120 sqm. The cost would go up further if I were to select a better looking floor tile or board. I was left with no choice but to do it myself.

Since carpeting is out of question, I am not a vinyl flooring lover and bamboo/timber flooring is simply too expensive, choosing laminate flooring over tiling was a no-brainer for someone who had never done any flooring before.

-the learning curve is much flatter.

-the type of skills required is lesser.

-it is easier to rectify mistakes.

-it is a less messy job.

-it takes less time to complete the job.

-the last reason is important. That is the tools, such as a powered saw, that I use for laminate flooring will be useful in future projects, compared to tools that I'll need to get for tiling.

Besides, the supplier I went to offered to lend me his specialised tools to do the job. That reduced a lot of cost for me because I didn't want to be stuck with tools that I wouldn't use in future. An electric jigsaw that I bought for the job would be useful in many instances, but not a laminate board guillotine like the one of the left. Also, he was willing to lend me his door jamb cutter, a modified 9-inch angle grinder with a huge diamond blade. Not something I would like to buy for the job as well. Being able to have those tools on free loan would reduce my cost tremendously. I believe no shop selling tiles would lend me a mixer drum, trowel and other stuff to do the job.

Laminate flooring is a floating floor that requires 4 key components.

Floor boards



A material the serves two purposes. 1) act as a moisture barrier between the floor boards and the slab. 2) an impact and sound proofing reducer.


In Singapore, we'll probably call that a skirting. Here, they call it scotia.

Transitional trim

To make transition area looks good.

The total cost of everything I needed, according to Jen, was around $2,400. Much of it came from the floor boards, which cost about $18.50/m2. It was a good floor board with prints I liked, made in Germany. Boards could be bought as low as $10/mhere if you know where to look. Though those were made in China, it is still a good way to floor up on the cheap. If you notice, that would reduce the cost by almost 50%. Since there will be no labor cost for me, I pampered myself by buying a better board. It was though, by no means the luxury range, as there were boards going for $40mand up.

With $2,400 down, around $300 on paint and $310 on the tiling guy. I had already chalked up over $3k in expenses. That was going harder than I thought....