How to Install Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring is becoming more and more popular with homeowners. Some are choosing it as an alternative to hardwood and others are making the switch from carpet to laminate flooring. The most common reason among homeowners is the ease of installation. This is a big plus if you are handy and looking for a DIY flooring project. Even if you are hiring a professional to install laminate flooring, the simplicity of putting down a laminate floor will have them in and out of your home in no time.
Gather Your Tools and Materials
Before getting started you need to have all the necessary tools and materials. You don’t want to have to run to the hardware store in the middle of the job. Once you have measured the room and determined the square footage, plan on purchasing 10% more than needed. This will allow for boards that will be cut for end fittings. Here is a checklist of the tools and materials needed.
- Laminate Flooring
- Foam Underlayment (if not pre-attached)
- Tape measure
- Pull Bar
- Tapping Block
- Utility Knife
- Wide Putty Knife
- Coping Saw / Jig Saw
- Broom / Vacuum
Acclimate New Laminate Flooring
Changing temperatures and humidity levels cause floors to shrink and expand. In order to achieve the best installation results, it is important to acclimate laminate flooring to its new environment.
One week before you need to install laminate flooring, stack boards in the room or rooms where they will be installed. Remove any packaging to promote airflow and aid with the acclimation process.
Remove Old Flooring
You will need to pull up any old flooring or carpeting to reveal the subfloor. First, you will need to remove all the baseboards and store them if you are planning on reusing them. Then you can begin to remove the old flooring, including any nails or tacking strips.
Once the old flooring has been taken up and disposed of, use your putty knife to remove any adhesive residue left behind. Finally, sweep or vacuum make sure that the subfloor is clean of any debris. If you are installing over a concrete subfloor, make sure it is completely cured and free of any moisture.
Make Sure the Subfloor Is Level
Check for variations in the level of the subfloor. Manufacturers typically provide specifications for the maximum variation allowed. Variations of 3/16″ to 1/4″ are generally acceptable in a ten foot area. Install laminate flooring over a subfloor that is not level can lead to noise, product failures, and areas that feel soft or spongy.
It is best to use at least a 6′ level to check for variations in the subfloor. If your level is shorter than that, it may be easier to use a string line. If your subfloor is not level enough, it can be leveled by sanding high spots or using leveling compound.
Install the Underlayment
The underlayment is also known as a vapor barrier and some laminate flooring is sold with it pre-attached. Underlayment sold separately is installed one strip at a time. Begin with the longest wall, following the manufacturer’s directions for butting the edges and sealing the seams.
Trim the Door Jambs
There is one more preliminary step before beginning to install laminate flooring. After the underlayment has been installed, the door jambs must be trimmed. First, lay one board with its edge running along the side of the door jamb. Mark the height of the plank on the door jamb and using your coping saw, trim the jamb cutting parallel to the floor. This will create a small gap which will allow the board to fit neatly under the jamb, providing a professionally finished look.
Install the Laminate Flooring
Keep in mind the first board is the most important. Lay it parallel to the longest wall so the groove is against the wall and the board flush to a corner of the room. Put half-inch spacers between the board every 12 inches to allow for natural expansion and contraction.
Continue installing the flooring, one board at a time, aligning the tongues and grooves. Then gently tap into place with the tapping block for a snug fit. Using this tool will soften the impact and avoid damage to the board ends. Staggering the end joints of adjacent boards will provide a lasting and aesthetically pleasing installation.
The final board can be a bit tricky. You may have to trim the board or maybe just the tongue to make sure it’s flush. Adding thresholds wherever there is a door or your laminate flooring meets another type of flooring. as well as installing the baseboards. Complete the job by removing the spacers and re-install your baseboards. Then you can stand back and admire the finished product.
Ferma Flooring was established 14 years ago and has grown from a seed of an idea to a fruitful enterprise with well-recognized brand names and diversified product line of products. We primarily design, manufacture, import and distribute a variety of flooring products. Currently serving more than 1,000 flooring retail stores nationwide from our distribution warehouse located in Edison, New Jersey, believe your success is truly our success. Contact us and learn how we can assist you in growing your business.