Step-by-Step Guide on How to Install Laminate Flooring

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Home renovation can be an exciting but daunting task. Installing laminate flooring is a great way to give your home a new look without breaking the bank. Here are the steps to follow:

Preparing the Existing Floor

Before you start the installation process, you need to prepare the existing floor. If you have a concrete subfloor, grind off any high spots and fill in any low spots with leveling compound. Remove any carpeting or carpet padding unless it’s a quarter-inch thick or less. Ensure that the floor is clean and free of debris and adhesive residue to provide a flat surface to work on.

Remove doors and trim, although baseboard removal is optional. You’ll need to install new quarter round molding at the end of the job to cover the expansion zone around the perimeter. If the drywall doesn’t meet the floor in any spots, create a solid wall surface with a facing strip of quarter-inch plywood at the stud.

The type of underlayer you use will depend on the type of subfloor you have. Some laminate flooring products come with underlayer attached to the planks. The underlayer cushions the floor to reduce noise, which is important because laminate flooring is noisier and harder than wood.

Measure the area you want to cover and add 10% for waste. To avoid ending up with an unusually narrow board at the finish wall, measure the distance between the starting and ending walls. Divide by the width of the board, add the amount left over to the plank width, and divide by two to balance the room.

Leave a minimum quarter- to half-inch gap or expansion zone between the laminate flooring and walls if the room’s relative humidity is between 45% and 65%. Leave the same expansion zone around any fixed vertical surfaces such as pipes, cabinets, or staircases.

Undercut door trims and door jambs to allow the floor to move. Check the height of the new floor against all doors that open into the room as it may be necessary to trim the door to accommodate the change in the floor’s height.

Acclimate some laminate flooring products to the room for several days before installation. Manufacturers recommend that the room be kept at a minimum temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit for two days before, during, and after the installation.

Installation

With your room prepped, you’re ready to start the installation process. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to fit the tongue and groove planks together. A tapping block and a pull bar can help you fit the planks together without damaging them. Start at one corner of the room and work your way across the room, leaving the expansion zone around the perimeter. Install the quarter round molding to cover the expansion zone.

Photogenic Floors

Laminate flooring is not limited to wood patterns. It can mimic other flooring, including ceramic tile, brick, and even slate. The decorative layer of the laminate flooring is a photograph, which is why modern laminate looks more realistic than it did ten years ago. As printing technology has improved, so has the look of laminate flooring.

Installing laminate flooring is a time-consuming process, but it can be a rewarding experience. With a little patience, you can give your home a stylish new look that will last for years.

FAQ

1. What materials do I need to install laminate flooring?

To install laminate flooring, you will need the following materials: laminate planks, underlayment, transition strips, spacers, a saw, a tapping block, a pull bar, and a hammer. You may also need a utility knife, measuring tape, and a pencil.

2. Can laminate flooring be installed over carpet?

No, laminate flooring cannot be installed over carpet. The carpet must be removed before installation. It is also important to make sure the subfloor is clean, dry, and level before installing laminate flooring.

3. Do I need to hire a professional to install laminate flooring?

No, you do not necessarily need to hire a professional to install laminate flooring. However, it is important to have some basic DIY skills and knowledge of flooring installation. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

4. How do I prepare the subfloor for laminate flooring installation?

The subfloor must be clean, dry, and level before installing laminate flooring. If there are any high spots or low spots, they should be sanded down or filled in with a leveling compound. It is also recommended to install a moisture barrier underlayment over the subfloor to prevent any moisture from seeping into the laminate planks.

5. Can laminate flooring be installed in a bathroom?

Yes, laminate flooring can be installed in a bathroom. However, it is important to make sure the subfloor is completely dry and to seal all the edges of the laminate planks to prevent any moisture from seeping in.

6. How do I cut the laminate planks?

You can cut the laminate planks using a saw, such as a jigsaw or a circular saw. Make sure to measure and mark the plank before cutting it. It is also important to wear safety goggles and a dust mask while cutting the planks.

7. What is the best way to install laminate flooring?

The best way to install laminate flooring is to start in a corner of the room and work your way outwards. Use spacers to create a small gap between the planks and the walls, and make sure to stagger the seams of the planks to create a more natural look. Use a tapping block and a pull bar to connect the planks together.

8. Can laminate flooring be installed on stairs?

Yes, laminate flooring can be installed on stairs. However, it may be more difficult and time-consuming than installing it on a flat surface. It is recommended to hire a professional to install laminate flooring on stairs.

9. How do I clean and maintain laminate flooring?

To clean laminate flooring, use a damp mop or a microfiber cloth. Avoid using excessive water or harsh cleaning products, as they can damage the planks. It is also important to sweep or vacuum the floor regularly to prevent dirt and debris from scratching the surface.

10. How long does it take to install laminate flooring?

The time it takes to install laminate flooring depends on the size of the room and the complexity of the installation. On average, it takes about one to two days to install laminate flooring in a standard-sized room.

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