Laminate Floor Laying Tips

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Laminate floors are an inexpensive way to dramatically update and transform spaces. They provide easy-to-clean surfaces that are low-maintenance, and they do not require as much work to install as do new hardwood floors or tiles. A few laminate floor-laying tips will help to avoid common errors during a flooring's installation.

Getting Ready

  • The first step is to measure the size of your room. Determine the room's width and length with a tape measure, then use these measurements to calculate the amount of laminate flooring and vapor barrier you will need. Also have available a hammer, pry bar, pencil, coping saw, compound miter saw or handsaw, spacers and laminate flooring glue, unless you're installing a no-glue locking floor.

The Preparation

  • Use the pry bar and hammer to remove the baseboards around the room. If there aren't any, then you will have to install some at the end to give the floor's edging a finished look.

    Thoroughly clean the floor and make sure its surface is flat without any bumps or dips. For small imperfections, sand the raised areas flat and fill in the dips with a floor-leveling compound. Major imperfections may require the installation of a new subfloor. This is important to ensure the laminate flooring's surface is not unbalanced and disfigured.

    Lay the vapor barrier over the wood subfloor or floor, just to cover the area underneath the laminate flooring. If, however, you're installing your floor over a concrete subfloor, then you must protect your laminate flooring from the concrete by sealing the vapor barrier at the seams and by continuing the vapor barrier onto the walls. This need only extend no more than halfway up the height of the baseboards, when they're installed, or reinstalled, later.

Laminate Floor Laying

  • Lay the first row of laminate flooring in the direction that the room gets sunlight, then place spacers along the wall, evenly spaced, to maintain the gap for expansion along the wall. Flooring expands over time, so each wall will need this expansion allowance. Continue to install the rows, using the hammer and scrap wood to tap them into a tight fit. Apply glue along the seams if necessary.

    You need to offset the end seams as you lay the laminate flooring. If these seams are lined up they will compromise the floor's strength. When it comes to making the cuts at the ends of the rows and around pipes and fixtures, allow about a ¼-inch gap for expansion.

    The laminate floor installation will continue along rather smoothly until you reach the last row. Here, you will need to take a few width measurements along this final space, and then cut down the floor planks to fit. Glue this last piece into the previous row for extra-added strength. Once the floor is complete, reinstall the old baseboards or install the new ones. Now your laminate floor is complete.

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