A concrete slab is perfect for parking cars on, but for those occasions when the garage becomes just another extension to the rest of the home, a different flooring type may prove more suitable. Installing laminate flooring over a garage floor allows you to create a surface that's better equipped for regular indoor activities. Laminate flooring comes in a variety of design types, artificially recreating multiple surfaces from hardwood to stone. It is available primarily in tiles or large sheets, with attractive patterns and a surface that's softer than concrete. Along with offering an attractive new look for your garage floor, laminate is easy to install, with a minimum level of maintenance required to keep the surface in good condition.
Things You'll Need
- Floor cleaner
- Level bar
- Self-leveling compound
- Concrete grinder
- Polyethylene film
- Foam underlayment
- Masking tape
- Tile adhesive
- Rubber headed mallet
- Tapping block
- Pull bar
- Tile cutter
Prepare the garage floor for installation of the laminate flooring. The garage floor will need to be clean, level and dry. Remove any dirt or debris from the garage surface with a mild detergent. If there is oil on the floor, use a specially formulated cleanser for removal.
Level the garage floor prior to laminate installation. Use a level bar to determine any dips or rises in the floor surface, marking problem areas. The floor should have no more than a 3/16th inch difference in height between any two points within a 10ft. diameter. For unlevel areas, fill in the low spots with a self-leveling compound, and grind down high spots using a concrete grinder, rentable at a home improvement store or equipment rental shop.
Place a layer of 6mm. polyethylene film sheets on the floor to act as a moisture barrier. For areas where the sheets will join, use an 8 inch overlap.
Place a layer of foam underlayment onto the polyethylene sheets to provide noise reduction, as well as to soften the floor surface. Lay the foam so that it laps up the baseboards 2 inches, and then secure it to the wall with masking tape.
Lay the laminate floor, beginning in the corner of the room and working towards the room's center. The floor should be placed ¼ in. from the walls. Place the first two rows of flooring onto the floor. These two rows should be placed unglued, as a trial to determine the best placement for the laminate to require as little cutting as possible. Once you've chosen the best laminate placement you can begin gluing the tiles into place.
Glue the first two rows of laminate to the floor by spreading the adhesive directly to the rear of the flooring and then gluing the tiles into place. Tap each tile or plank gently with the tapping block and a rubber headed mallet to get them securely placed against one another. If a partial tile or plank is needed, measure the space to be fit with the flooring and then cut it to measurements either with a tile cutter or a circular saw. Use a pull bar to lever the final joint together, placing the final tile or plank. Until the glue has set, place tape onto the glued seams.
Allow these first two rows 20 minutes to set up and then continue with the next two. Repeat the process for every two rows of laminate until the entire surface has been covered. Remove any excess adhesive with a dry cloth, and then when the flooring has been laid, cut the excess foam from the walls. Install any baseboards and trim, and remove the tape to complete the floor installation.
Tips & Warnings
- Laminate flooring should be cut with the decorative side facing down when using a circular saw, and facing up when using a hand saw or table saw.