| July 25, 2013

Looking for an easy way to refresh tired rooms and boost the value of your home?

Look down.

Flooring may not be the first thing you think of when you're looking for a quick upgrade, but here are eight projects you can tackle yourself.

READ: All About Hardwood Floors

Add the cushion and durability of eco-friendly cork, or brighten up the room with floor paint.

With our help, you can even epoxy-coat your garage floor to repel oil stains or get the warmth of wood with a floating floor. Keep reading for more on each option and full DIY instructions for an underfoot update that'll leave guests, well, floored.

Install a Floating Floor

It's hard to imagine a house being cozy without the warmth of wood flooring. The quickest way to get new wood underfoot is to install a floating floor. Unlike traditional solid-wood strips, a floating floor isn't nailed down. Instead, the planks are either glued or snapped together. The planks go down fast, over virtually any material—concrete, plywood, sheet vinyl, even ceramic tile. This sandwich of wood veneer glued to layers of pine or plywood looks like solid wood and is very stable. Although engineered flooring's thin veneer can't be sanded as many times as solid wood can, its thick factory-applied coating is more durable than one applied in your home on solid wood, and it will be ready for furniture in just one day.

For full step-by-step instructions, shopping list, tools list, and more, see How to Install a Floating Floor.

READ: How to Design a Cozy Cottage-Style Interior

This Old House
Lay Engineered Wood Floors

Jeff Hosking, a flooring consultant for This Old House, first began laying floors 35 years ago. Back then, 90 percent of his work was installing solid-wood strips with nails. But now, half of the flooring he installs is engineered: made of thin sheets of wood glued together like plywood. Solid wood is classic and can last a century, but engineered flooring offers a quicker, easier way to get a new floor, and it comes with a durable factory-applied finish that's way more durable, says Hosking, than anything he can apply onsite.

For full step-by-step instructions, shopping list, tools list, and more, see How to Lay Engineered Wood Floors.

This Old House
Paint a Checkerboard Floor

The burgundy red floor in the master bedroom of Sara and Andrew's Massachusetts farmhouse didn't fit the fresh and energetic personality of the newlyweds. But refinishing wasn't an option on a limited budget. So to update the space, they painted the floor in a light checked pattern, using beige and white to warm up their cool blue walls (shown). Recently, This Old House senior technical editor Mark Powers used their techniques to create a similar floor in his own house. Here he shows how a little measuring and a couple of coats of durable floor paint can add a little personality to a room for a small price.

For full step-by-step instructions, shopping list, tools list, and more, see How to Paint a Floor.

This Old House
Lay a Cork Floor

Nothing's worse than waking up to the icy shock of a cold floor. What you need is some warmth underfoot, and a little cushion as you pad across the house. Enter cork. Resilient yet durable, stylish yet earthy, a natural cork floor can turn any cool room into a cozy haven. Cork is also a lot easier to install than traditional wood flooring. Manufacturers now offer products in engineered panels that snap together without glue or nails. These floating-floor systems sit well over plywood, concrete, or even existing flooring. As This Old House technical editor Mark Powers will show, in one afternoon you can turn a kitchen or playroom floor into a comfortable mat where your toes can roam free without fear of the big chill.

For full step-by-step instructions, shopping list, tools list, and more, see How to Lay a Cork Floor.

This Old House
Lay a Vinyl Tile Floor

Long before the advent of resilient sheet flooring and plastic-laminate planks, there was vinyl tile. Originally produced as an alternative to linoleum, vinyl tile grew in popularity because it was colorful, easy to clean and crack resistant. Vinyl tiles remain popular today and are commonly installed in baths, foyers, laundry rooms and mudrooms. The 12x12-inch tiles come in dozens of colors, patterns and textures, making it easy to create checkerboard designs and floors with contrasting borders. In six to eight hours you can give an entire room a complete costume change.

For full step-by-step instructions, shopping list, tools list, and more, see How to Lay a Vinyl Tile Floor.