Laminate Flooring is one of the easiest floors to install because it “floats.” This means that you do not have to nail any of the pieces of laminate down. Instead, the pieces all snap together and sit on top of pieces of underlayment. This allows the floor to stay securely in place and gives it the leeway to expand and contract with temperature changes, which is typical for laminate flooring.
Tips For Laminate Flooring Installation
The most crucial part of any flooring job is the prep work. If you do not take the time to get everything ready before trying to lay pieces of laminate down, the entire job will be a mess. A mess that ends in a floor with gaps, humbs, bumps, and curves. This is easy to prevent if you do the prep work first.
- Haul everything out of the room, including all the furniture.
- Remove the trim from around the bottom of the floor.
- Remove the existing flooring.
- Clean the area and check the subflooring to ensure no pieces need to be replaced.
- Use a straightedge to see if the subfloor has any highs or lows over 1/8 inch. If you find some, mark them with an X for later.
- Any low spots will need to be filled in, as should any seams where the subflooring meets. Do not use self-leveling materials. Use a trowel and vinyl floor patch.
- Check to make sure no screws or nails are sticking up. If they are, make them level with a screwdriver or hammer.
- If the floor has squeaks, sink some screws through the subfloor into the joists underneath.
- Now you will want to use a belt sander and knock down all the high spots you have marked and any high areas on the floor patch.
- Sweep up any dust and debris.
That is it for the essential prep work. If you have a solid, level base to work with, your job will become much more manageable and turn out very well. Now it is time to get on to the fun part; laying the laminate flooring down.
- Take measurements around all four corners to see if the room is square. If it is, you are ready to go. If it isn’t, you will have to do some math. Figure out how much difference there is so you can start tapering the flooring a little at a time. This way, you will not notice the differences in the floor. If the difference is under ¼ inch, you will not have to worry about it.
- Trim the door molding down, so you do not have to try and cut the laminate pieces to go around them.
- If the laminate pieces have underlayment attached, you can skip to the next bullet point. If you must lay the underlayment down, roll it out onto the floor and use tape to join them together. Only use tape designed for this task because other types of tape will not work correctly.
- Lay the first row of laminate planking down. It is best to start at the longest wall and work from there. Use a ¼-inch spacer to give yourself a little gap between the plank and the wall.
- Lay the next row down, making sure that the seams are staggered. Use a block and rubber mallet to ensure the pieces snap together.
- Work your way to the other end of the room, cutting pieces as needed with a laminate shear.
- Install the trim around the bottom of the flooring, covering the gap you left all the way around the room. This allows the laminate flooring space to expand and contract while hiding the holes from view.
That is it. You have a great-looking laminate floor installed in the room. Now you can move the furniture back in and sit down to relax. Unless you are moving on to another room of the house. Either way, this job is done.