Laminate flooring is a popular choice for DIY enthusiasts. If you are looking to install your laminate floor on your own, here's how to get it right the first time.
Allow the Floor to Acclimate
Start by allowing the laminate floor tiles/planks to adapt to the temperature of the room you want to install them in. Floor planks get unified during acclimation.
Stack the floors in their sealed condition and allow them to acclimate for 24 to 48 hours. This time can vary depending on laminate floor models. You can find the exact time needed for acclimation from the manufacturer's floor manual.
Get the Subfloor Ready for Installation
The existing subfloor needs to be strong enough to support the new floor. Remember that laminate flooring does not go with floor coverings such as carpet, glued vinyl and cushioned floors.
For best results, a subfloor must:
- Be perfectly clean. When installed over dirt or debris, your laminate flooring might lift up.
- Be flat without any unevenness. Using an underlayment removes minor irregularities. But, an underlayment cannot cover repairs. Get the subfloor fixed for a quality installation.
- Be free of repairs. In case you are installing your laminate floor on plywood, be sure to sand the ply and apply cement compound. This will ensure the subfloor is even.
- Have grout lines filled, in case the subfloor is made of tile.
- Be dry. Moisture level must be less than 12%. Use a moisture meter to assess the amount of subfloor moisture.
- Be tough and supportive. Nails, unfit screws and subfloor portions damaged by moisture must be removed.
Check the Temperature and Humidity Levels
Extremely high or low humidity can damage a laminate floor. Ensure that the temperature during installation remains anywhere between 640 F and 860 F. Ensure that the humidity levels are between 25% and 70%.
Keep Tools Ready
Gather all installation tools including saw at an easily-accessible place. Keep the tools in a dust-free area. Dust and debris can enter your floor's locking system through the tools and can affect the locking mechanism. This will lower the floor's fit and stability.
Fix the Underlay
This step does not apply if your laminate flooring has an attached underlayment.
If not, install the underlay in the area where you are going install the initial laminate boards. Ensure that you cut the underlayment to exact measurements of the site.
Start Installing Laminate Planks
Start by laying the first row. Place a plank with its groove end facing the wall.
Place spacers around the plank to allow for its expansion. Fit the other end of the first plank to the groove part of the second plank. Continue connecting this way until you reach the end of the first row.
For the uncovered gap between the installed planks and the wall, use a plank cut to exact measurements. Use the remaining part of the cut plank to begin the second row.
When placing planks in the second row, place their groove ends such that they lock into the tongue part of planks in the first row.
Close expansion gaps using wall base mouldings or trims. Use transition pieces in case there are doors or other obstacles in the path of floor installation.
Proper installation ensures a strong and stable floor for years. For the best in laminate flooring, shop at Lifestyle Flooring, a leading supplier of superior quality floors and flooring products in the UK, for over 35 years.