Safety First

Safety equipment is essential. You need to protect yourself from dust, debris, and excessive noise. Wear goggles or safety glasses, a dust mask or respirator, and earplugs or sound-deadening muffs. Wear work gloves to protect your hands from abrasions and splinters -- but don't wear them when operating power tools. Leather work boots protect your feet better than tennis shoes.

Use common sense: Don't work when you are tired or distracted. Make sure the area where you will be working is well lit and don't attempt to accomplish tasks by yourself that require a partner. Tuck in loose-fitting clothing and tie back long hair. Remove rings and other jewelry and choose clothing free of ties or flaps that could get caught up in a power tool. Don't use corded power tools in wet or damp locations.

Always use sharp tools and always cut away from your body, never toward it. Clamp the pieces you plan to cut to a solid support. Never saw anything by supporting it with only your hand or leg.

When operating a tablesaw avoid cutting short pieces. Beware of kickback -- this occurs when a blade tooth catches a cutoff piece trapped between the saw fence and the blade and hurls it back toward you at high speed.

When cutting curves with a saber saw or tiles with a tile saw, don't wrap your fingers underneath the workpiece in line of the cut. Make sure the adjustment on power tools is secured in the proper position before plugging them in. Give locking knobs a final check before turning on the tool.

Keep the work area neat and swept clean. Don't leave tools on the floor -- put them away when they are not in use.

Cutting tile

A wet-saw tile cutter can discharge chips and larger pieces of tile at high speed, so eye protection is a must. Wear ear protection to guard against damage from the noise of the saw.

Cutting wood and laminate

Whether you are using a saber saw, chop saw, tablesaw, mitersaw, or circular saw, the newly sawn edges of wood and laminate will be razor sharp, so be careful handling the cut pieces.

Skills and safety

Before tackling a major flooring project, evaluate your do-it-yourself skills. If you are organized, comfortable following instructions, willing to learn, and handy with tools, you can successfully complete the projects in this book.

Note that many of the flooring projects outlined in this book are labor intensive. Materials can be heavy and cumbersome to move. If your project requires demolition and surface preparation, be prepared to get dirty and, once you're finished, do some major room cleanup. If you have any reservations about your ability to complete the project, hire a professional to do the work.


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