Installation – Laminate

This is only a guideline for reference when installing FERMA branded products.

 

  1. General Information
    • Laminate flooring is designed to be floated, which means that it should never be nailed or glued to the sub-floor. Glue-less laminate planks are joined together by a specially designed mechanical locking system with no adhesive being required to join the planks.
    • Although laminate flooring is glue-less, it is better to store the unopened cartons for approximately 48 hours in the area where the floor will be installed. The flooring should be installed in climate-controlled, indoor locations between 68F-72F and relative humidity of 35% -55% year round.
    • The jobsite should be cleaned and cleared of other trade apparatus that may damage an installation.
    • All sub-floor or underlayment patching must be done before installation. Even though it is installed as a floating floor, correct preparation of the sub-floor is still a major part of a successful installation. It is required that sub-floor system is free of deflection. Sub-floor variations should not exceed 1/8″ in 6′ (3.18 mm in 1.8 m). All high spots must be sanded or ground smooth. Fill in low spots, cracks, and depressions. Roughness or unevenness of the sub-floor may telegraph through the new flooring, resulting in an unsightly surface and excessive wear on high spots.
    • The installation of laminate flooring must be conducted after kitchen cabinet or counter is installed. No flooring should be installed underneath any kitchen cabinet or counter. Otherwise, it will be treated as improper installation.
    • Laminate flooring could be installed over existing resilient floor coverings, wood flooring, and ceramic tile (grout joints must be leveled). Do not install laminate flooring over carpet. Remove all carpet before proceeding with installation and examine the sub-floor underneath. Make any repairs to the sub-floor if necessary prior to installation.
    • Moisture content of wood subfloor must be less than 14%. If the flooring is installed over concrete sub-floors directly, a calcium chloride test is needed. The maximum acceptable reading is 3.0 lbs/24 hours/1000 sq. ft. All concrete sub-floors must have a at least 12 mil (3mm) polyethylene film sheeting to be used as a vapor barrier.
    • If a single room is large and has a length of 45 feet and a width greater than 25 feet, an addition of a tee molding expansion joints will be required. Extra caution must be exercised when transitioning from a larger area to a smaller area. Be certain to maintain adequate expansion in the doorways by using T-moldings and/or undercutting the door frames.
    • Never install laminate flooring in high humidity areas where the floor is usually wet (steam rooms, bathrooms, saunas).
  2. Underlayment

    Underlayment with polyethylene film sheeting, generally serves for protecting the laminate flooring from moisture damage, adds acoustical dampening and stability. It is placed on all sub floors, including concrete sub-floors prior to the installation of the laminate flooring. Roll the underlayment out over the concrete sub-floor, overlap the edges and use duct tape to keep in place and ensure a waterproof seal. Overlapping will help prevent any moisture from seeping through the edges. Also be sure to place the underlayment all the way to the wall and slightly up the wall to ensure a good seal. Do not use masking tape instead of duct tape as it makes a noise when walked on and is not waterproof.

    FERMA FLOORING recommended following 2 types of polyethylene film sheeting: 12 mil (3mm) EPE with one side 0.04mm polyethylene film for regular uses, and 12mil (3mm) EVA with one side 0.04mm polyethylene film for better moisture protection and sound improvement.

  3. Installation
    • It is important to balance the layout of the plank format. Proper planning and layout will prevent narrow plank widths at wall junctures. Determine layout to prevent having less than a half plank width or very short length pieces.
    • As with all plank products, lay the long dimension of the plank parallel to the long dimension of the work area.
    • Accurately measure the room to determine the centerline, adjust this established line to accommodate a balanced layout and then transpose this line to a comfortable width away from the starting wall (approximately 2′ to 3′ wide). Determine if the starter row will need to cut. If the first row of planks does not need to be trimmed in width, it will be necessary to cut off the unsupported tongue so that a clean, solid edge is toward the wall.
    • Position the first plank so that both the head and side seam groove is exposed. This requires installing the product from left to right in the room.
    • Install the second plank in the row by angling the end tongue into the end groove of the first plank. Be careful not to bend the corner of the plank. Maintain an expansion gap of approximately 5/16″ from the wall. Then cut a plank to length to start the second row. Stagger the end seam at least 6″ from the first plank.
    • Install the first plank in the second row by inserting the long side tongue into the groove of the plank in the first row. This is best done with a low angle of the plank.
    • Install the second plank in the second row by inserting the short end tongue into the previously installed plank groove. Align the plank so the long side into the previously installed plank groove. Align the plank so the long side tongue tip is positioned just over the groove lip of the plank in the first row. Working from the end seam, at a low angle, insert the long tongue into the groove of the adjoining plank. Very little force is required to seat the tongue into the groove. You should feel the tongue lock into the groove.
    • Work across the length of the room installing planks along the wall in the first row and then aligning the planks in the second row. It is critical to keep these two rows straight and square, as they are the foundation for the rest of the installation. Check square-ness and straightness often.
    • Cut the last plank in the first row to fit approximately 5/16″ short of the end wall. Planks may be cut with a utility knife using the “score and snap” technique. Oftentimes the remainder of this plank may be used to start the third row.
    • Continue installing planks, being certain to maintain a random appearance and offset end seams by at least 6”. Maintain a 5/16″ expansion gap at all fixed vertical surfaces. Check to be certain all planks are fully engaged. If slight gapping is noticed, the gap can be tapped closed using a scrap of flooring and a tapping block.
    • When fitting under door casings, etc, the flexibility and low angle of connection of the flooring becomes evident. If necessary, a flat pull bar or last board puller may be used to assist in locking the planks.
    • When fitting around obstacles or into irregular spaces, the flooring could be cut easily and cleanly using a utility knife with a sharp blade. It is often good to make a cardboard template of the area and transfer this pattern to the plank.
    • Protect all exposed edges of the flooring by installing wall molding and/or transition strips. Use caution to prevent the fasteners from securing the planks to the sub-floor.
    • Protect the finished flooring installation from exposure to direct sunlight.
  4. Moldings & Trimmings

    Finish installations with following choices of moldings that will enhance the appearance of any installation. Refer to the illustrations and descriptions below for the proper use of each molding.

    Moldings & Trimmings
  5. Further Information

    FERMA FLOORING is a member of National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA). FERMA recommends installation by experienced professionals who subscribe to installation standards as set forth by NOFMA, NWFA. For further information about the installation of solid wood flooring, please refer to related instruction by NWFA as follows:

    Downloads

    For more technical information about the installation, please also refer to other associated instructions by NWFA as follow:

    • Section 1 General Guidelines View PDF
    • Section 2 Sub-Flooring Guides & Specifications View PDF
    • Section 3 Installation
      Guidelines & Specification View PDF
    • Section 4 Glossary of Wood Floor Terms View PDF

Find a Retailer