The steps of laying laminate flooring are a skill worth learning, especially if you are renovating your home. In addition, the new expertise comes in handy to save quite some money.
While putting the laminate flooring together needs practice, it is not complicated to master. Imagine it to be a project where you need to arrange a giant puzzle together.
To begin with, it would help if you had the right tools and the floor system ready. And it does not take more than a day to complete a room.
Basics of Laying Laminate Floor
How Should You Lay the Laminate Floor?
It is the first question that pops up in my mind. Is there a set rule on how the flooring should be laid? Let us answer this for you.
Generally, you should run the flooring along the direction of the longest side. The idea behind this is to cut the laminate flooring less. It is also the best solution, especially when flooring a narrow and long space like your hallway.
But this is not a thumb rule. If you need to lay the flooring in a square room or if the flooring should run to more than one room, then laying it, either way, should be fine.
Is There a Clear Start Point?
Where do I start laying the flooring from?
There is no hard and fast rule here too. Ideally, look to start from areas where you may need to cut holes to fit in pipes, if any. Else lay from the place where the flooring will be most visible.
The first flooring row will fit with the wall perfectly, while you may have to make some adjustments in the last row. The visible row thus takes priority over the hidden one.
Are There Any Preparations to Begin?
Before starting the DIY project, the old flooring surface or the subfloor should be smooth, flat, and clean. In addition, the floor covering should not be cushiony or soft.
Simple foam sheeting works as an underlayment which is enough to create a base for the laminate planks. If there is unevenness or damage on the floor surface, remove it and lay a thin plywood underlayment before laying the foam sheet and installing the laminate flooring.
Remove heating resister, baseboards, and perimeter trims that are mounted on the floor. Next, vacuum the floor, so you know it is speck clean.
Once done, begin with the DIY project.
Get Ready With the Supplies
Follow this DIY guide to get the list of equipment and materials that you would need for this project. Do not skip anything. Else it would waste unnecessary time in procuring them, thus delaying the project. The tools asked for are easy to source readily available in any hardware store.
Here is the list of equipment and tools that you will need.
- A kit for flooring installation with tapping block and spacers
- Carpenter’s square
- Laminate cutter
- Tape measure
- Jamb saw
- Finishing nails
- Circular saw
- Nail gun
- Vapor barrier
- Duct tape
- Utility knife
Apart from these, be ready with the flooring products. Walk through the designs and materials to pick one that matches your taste.
Get the necessary protective gear like gloves, goggles, and knee pads to ensure safety.
Measuring and Cutting the Laminate Floor Planks
It is a crucial step. You should precisely measure the flooring area to get the best result. Measure the width of your room. Alternatively, you can also measure the wall perpendicular to how you wish to align the laminate planks.
Give space for the flooring to expand. Ideally, leave around 3/8 inch space and adjust it in the measurement.
You now need to calculate the number of plank rows that you will need. The math here is simple. Just divide the rooms’ width by the single board width leaving some room for the plank to expand.
The answer will not necessarily be a whole number, so you may have to cut the last plank to fit.
Laminate is made of fibreboard core. It is pretty thin. The flooring kit will have all the instructions on how to cut laminate.
You may need a circular saw to cut the flooring. A fine-tooth blade reduces splintering. Duct tape helps with splintering too. Make sure that the finished side faces upwards.
Ripping off the laminate plank should not be something to worry about. The baseboard hides the cut edges, so perfect cuts are not all that essential.
Laminate Flooring DIY Laying Steps
Following the proper technique and ensuring accurate measurements lets you get the project right the first time. Here are the steps to guide you through the entire process.
Acclimatize the Plank and Get the Subfloor Ready
Lay the laminate pieces in the room where you will be installing them, and let the planks sit for 48 hours. The laminate plank needs to acclimatize with the room. The step will allow the plank to adjust to the moisture and temperature conditions of the room.
The subfloor should be smooth and clean to install the flooring safely. You may choose the old flooring or remove the existing one and trim it around your room. Sweep the area and ensure that the base floor is clean.
Fix any chips on a concrete floor with some patching compound. Remove patch cracks and loose nails from the wooden subfloor.
Trim the Door Jambs
To lay the flooring around the doors, cut the trims instead of the floor material so that it fits. Trimming some wood from the bottom lets the flooring hold and gives a seamless result. Here is what you should do.
- Place the laminate piece over the underlayment and line it against the frame of your door.
- Mark the spot where the structure and the laminate top meet. It is where you need to cut.
- Use a jamb saw and remove any small wooden pieces.
- When you install the flooring, you will be able to slide it smoothly and fill the gap.
Install the Underlayment
The underlayment is dense and thin foam that absorbs moisture and makes the floor warm. The underlayment also is a bridge over the dents and gaps on the subfloor. There are a few laminate flooring varieties that come with a built-in underlayment. In that case, you may skip this step entirely.
- Roll two underlayment layers, trimming the pieces with a utility knife. It will let it fit the rooms’ width.
- Use an adhesive or tape to stick the two adjacent segments together. The underlayment sheets should not overlap. Else it would form bumps and an uneven floor.
- If you wish to laminate your kitchen, basement, or high moisture room, install vapor barriers before placing the underlayment.
Lay the First Laminate Row
Start with deciding the wall where you wish to begin the installation. The longest wall is your best pick. If there is a focal point in the room, like a large window, you may want to start laying the flooring parallel to the wall.
Place the plank with the tongue side against your wall. A utility knife lets you trim the tongues from the board. The baseboard will cover your first and the last row too, so cutting the tongue is optional.
Place the grooves of the pieces in their place and press them to snap them securely. The 3/8 inch spacing left along the wall gives the lamination enough expansion room. Place the planks until you reach the second last row. The final piece should be cut to fit the space but make sure to adjust for the expansion in your calculation.
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Lay the Planks
The plank can be shorter or longer than the plank of the first row. The rule should be followed for the second and every subsequent row. The staggering makes the look appealing and also installs the flooring securely. The difference in the cut should be at least a foot from the seam laid adjacent to the plank.
You may have to wiggle the plank so that it snaps into its place and fits perfectly in the groove. You can also use a pull bar or a tapping block to secure the flooring planks in place.
When you reach the last row, you may have to cut the width of the plank. Again, place the plank at an angle, so it fits tightly into space.
It is time to remove the spacers from the wall. Install the baseboard and door thresholds around the room. Finally, caulk the baseboard edges to give your floor a smooth look.
DIY laminate floor installation does have its benefits over hiring a professional to get the job done. If you are comfortable using the standard tools, laying laminate floors is an easy project that any homeowner can undertake.
It just takes a few hours to get the work done. With the right kind of equipment, you can rest assured of a secure and solid installation. The dry installation technique does save you lots of money when you do it yourself.
How to lay laminate flooring is not complicated. With our easy guide, you can update your kitchen floor or install the laminate in the hallway. Laminate is scratch-resistant and waterproof. Available in varied designs and colors. The resilient and versatile laminate flooring is also available at an affordable rate.
Installing it yourself with our step-by-step guide lets you renovate the flooring without breaking your bank.