Laminate flooring can easily be installed with the right tools and a little preparation before you start. Not only is laminate flooring economical, but it’s also very durable and can be installed within one day for most DIYers. It’s a great choice for almost any room!
Tools You’ll Need
- Tape measure
- Jamb saw
- Circular saw
- Utility knife
- Nail punch
- Carpenter’s square
- Foam underlayment
- Floor installation kits
- Silicone caulk
- Floor leveling compound (if needed)
- Duct tape
- Concrete patch
- FInishing nails
First, remove your existing flooring and baseboards, then clean the subfloor of dust and debris so the floor is as smooth and flat as possible. This is important so the laminate flooring can lie down properly. If you have concrete subfloors, make sure any damage is filled with a patching compound. If you have original wood floors, remove protruding nails and replace any damaged boards before you start.
If you are installing the flooring in a room with high humidity or moisture, like a bathroom or laundry room, lay down a vapor barrier before you install the flooring. These can also be installed in other rooms for added protection.
Next, lay out the unopened boxes of laminate planks in the room so they can acclimate to the room’s temperature and humidity levels. Leave them in the room for around 48 hours before you begin the project.
Cut Door Jambs
By cutting your door jambs before you install your new flooring, you will have to make fewer cuts to the laminate and it will produce a more streamlined look when you’re finished. To do this, take a plank of flooring and a section of the underlayment, if needed, and lay it finished side down next to the door’s moulding. This will show you how high up you need to cut the moulding. Then, trace a guide line along the surface of the moulding with a pencil and use your jamb saw to make the cut. Once you’re done, the laminate flooring can simply slip right under the door jamb.
Plan Out Laminate Placement
Always install flooring parallel to the longest wall or focal point in the room. First, measure the width of the room from the wall you’ve chosen, then divide the distance by the width of the planks. This will tell you what the width of the final row of planks should be.
Be sure to leave a 3/8-inch gap along both walls to allow the floor to expand. If the last row is going to be less than 3 1/2 inches wide, consider distributing the width needed between the first and last rows. To calculate this, add the width of a full plank to the width needed for the last row. Divide that number by two and cut each plank needed to that width.
To cut the planks, check the cutting instructions for the laminate flooring you’ve chosen. You can cut the planks using a table saw, circular saw, miter saw or hand saw. Cut with the finished side up and use duct tape to mark the plank in a non-permanent fashion.
Install the Underlayment
Laminate underlayment products help dampen sound, protect your floor from moisture and provide insulation. They are easy to install and can be used with glue-down, nail-down or floating installations.
Some laminate flooring comes with attached underlayment, but if yours doesn’t, simply roll out two rows and trim it to size with a utility knife. The underlayment should meet, but not overlap as this could result in visible bumps underneath the planks. Duct tape the seam to hold the underlayment in place and help maintain the vapor barrier.
Install the Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring will expand and contract due to temperature and humidity fluctuations. Remember to allow for expansion by leaving a 3/8-inch gap around the edges of the floor. Begin the first row of flooring by placing the planks with the tongue side facing the wall. Align the tongue into the groove of your second plank, and press down to snap it in place. When you are done with the first row, cut the plank to fit into place.
Start the second row where you started off the first. This will stagger the seams, which is important to achieve a natural look. Continue to feed the tongue into the groove of the planks, then pressing down to snap them into place. Since the fiber in laminate flooring is susceptible to water damage, make sure there are no gaps between the seams.
Continue snapping planks into place until the row is complete, trimming the last plank to size. Once you’re done installing the laminate flooring, install trim and quarter-round to the bottom of the walls to complete the look.
Are you thinking of installing laminate flooring? Farha’s Carpet and Building Supply has a wide variety of flooring in-stock every day. Call us today at 316-263-1649, or stop in and see us at at 808 W. Harry in Wichita.