Although laminate flooring was introduced to the U.S. less than 20 years ago, it has quickly become a popular flooring choice for do-it-yourselfers. It comes in a variety of colors, is relatively inexpensive and durable. Because of the way that it's installed, it's even possible to lay laminate flooring over an uneven floor. It's not the ideal installation, but done right, it can bring the beauty of a new laminate floor to your home.
Things You'll Need
- Floor leveler
- Laminate flooring
- Moisture barrier
- Foam padding
- Block of wood
- Table saw
- Quarter round molding
- Floor sander
Level the Floor
Determine which part of the floor isn't level. If the whole floor is uneven, this could be an indication of bigger problems with your foundation.
If you have wood sub-floors, eliminate any high spots by sanding. Rent a professional floor sander from a hardware store and even out the sub-floor.
On concrete sub-floors, use a self leveling compound to smooth out any peaks or valleys. Sand it down after drying for a smooth finish.
Lay a new sub-floor. You can install another wood floor on top of the uneven one, using shims to bring the new floor up to plumb.
Use thicker padding. Your laminate floor is going to sit on top of a layer of foam padding. If the unevenness in your flooring is slight, you might be able to get away with using more padding to even things out.
Laying the Laminate
Install a moisture barrier. This is a layer of 6 ml-thick plastic which will prevent moisture from traveling upward. Cut the sheets to fit the room and overlap them by at least 8 inches where they meet. Secure the pieces to each other with packing tape.
Lay the foam padding on top of the moisture barrier. Do not overlap the padding or tape the pieces together.
Take your first laminate board and cut it in half. Place the cut end in one corner of the room. Keep this board 1/4 inch away from both the walls using tile spacers.
Take the second board and insert the tongue in the board into the groove on the board sitting on the floor. Slowly lower the board to the floor until you hear it click into place. Take the block of wood and set it at the opposite end of the board. Give this a few taps with the hammer. This will ensure a good, tight fit.
Repeat this process until you reach the end of the room. You will have to use the prybar to get the last piece into place.
Lay another row next to the first. Stagger the pieces so that they don't align on the seams. This will give your floor a more natural appearance. Repeat until you have the entire room covered.
Measure and cut the quarter round to cover the gap along the edges of the laminate. Remove the tile spacers and secure the molding into place.
Tips & Warnings
- These instructions are meant as a guideline. Always follow manufacturer's instructions.
- Use safety equipment when using power tools.
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